Saturday, January 3, 2009

Their Loss is Our Gain.



Hello darlings, and welcome to my first flogging for 2009. Or at least, my first flogging here at The Morehead the Merrier. I have already had my first flogging while chained to The Huffington Post, with my debut piece, Dead Folks, in which I discuss many of the major dead celebrities of 2008, none of whom, I am glad to report, are me. If you haven't perused it, click on the link and check it out, as I'm not reposting it here.


However, here and here only, exclusively for readers of The Morehead the Merrier, is my far more upbeat year-end obituary piece, My Good Riddance List, people who passed away this year that I am more than glad to see go. The don't-let-the-Door-Into-Hell-hit-you-on-the-ass-as-you-saunter-in type of folks. (Oh all right. Let the door hit you.) They're the Feel-Good Death Notices of 2008. Enjoy.


Since I put his picture at the top of the column, I may as well start with Good old George Putnam, the bombastic, right-wing, demagogic Los Angeles TV & radio "News Reporter". I put "News Reporter" in quotes, because George wasn't so much a reporter as a blowhard gasbag propagandist. If he were 30 years old now, instead of dead, he'd be a star at The Fox "News" Channel. This man made Bill O'Reilly look like a moderate. I'd say he made Bill O'Reilly look sane, but no one can make Billo look sane, not even Ann Coulter, and next to Ann Coulter, Norman Bates has a firm grasp on reality.


George's signature sign-off was "And that’s the up-to-the-minute news; up to the minute, that’s all the news. Here’s to a better, stronger America. I'll see you at 10, see you then." That was George, red, white, and blue. Mind you, while he was proud of being white (Much as his being white embarrassed the other white people), he claimed he never worked blue, and he was adamant that you were better off dead than red.


Anyway, George was so patriotic, he even died on 9-11, just so the rest of us would finally have some good memories of that date.


George was a big fan of Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, and is often credited with his election and re-election. Sam was an incompetent clown who humiliated this city for years back in the 1960s. Think of Georgie Bush without the Death toll or charisma.


George was 50% of the inspiration for The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Ted Baxter, terrible as that is to say about Ted who was, unlike George, lovable. The other 50% was Jerry Dunphy. Jerry inspired Ted's airhead side. George wasn't an airhead. He was evil.


George delivered the news in a style that was hyper-dramatic, ridiculously bombastic, and LOUD! His hammy baritone delivery was so loud, you heard him even if you were tuned to a different station, or didn't own a TV, or were born without ears.


On the Internet, you'll find his anti-pornography screed Perversion for Profit. Imagine being against pornography! He thought gays were "Perverts." He didn't go for "Different strokes for different folks." He advocated the same strokes for all folks.


George is dead now, but porn is alive and healthy, and that to me is a better, stronger America. You'll find my comments on his death in more detail in my flogging from September: Kaputnam.




Chuck Heston, or as I've always called him, Cheston, ascended Mount Sinai for the last time this year. Cheston won an Oscar for his ripely cheesy performance in Ben-Hur. Must have been a slow year. Chuck was really just Steve Reeves without Steve's charm, sex appeal, and Marvin Miller's voice. And you never saw Steve Reeves trying to arm every school kid in America, or constantly expressing his Deep True Love for a parade of America's most evil men: Richard Nixon, Dick Cheney, the entire Bush Family. I imagine him on the set of his Dynasty spin-off night-time soap opera The Colbys, and Aaron Spelling asking him, "Could you dial back the ham, Chuck? Your artificial, cheesy over-posturing is even embarrassing Joan Collins.

Sometimes people - well, Rush Limbaugh - well people also - Let's say, People and also Rush Limbaugh - ask me afterwards why I didn't like Cheston, onscreen or off. You have to wonder about people who say he was a good actor. I always want to ask them things like, "Was your view of the screen obstructed? Did the speaker hanging in your car window short out when he entered? You do know he was the guy with the long white beard right? The bald sexy guy who can act is Yul. Was this perhaps the first movie you've ever seen in your entire life?"


Chuck and I did one film together, a jungle adventure titled The Nude Bush. I played the title role, so don't worry; Dubya isn't in it. In our backlot epic, based on the classic short story Loonychuck vs His Aunts, Cheston owns a Soylent Plantation deep in the dense, uncharted jungles of Anaheim. Since he's far into the jungle, and wants to be even deeper into the bush, he sends for me, as I possess the deepest bush in Anaheim. I sail up the Tustin River, as Cheston's email-order Fancy Woman. We have the usual, everyday jungle-living challenges: monkey housebreaking, native torturing, drug smuggling, a small-dicked virgin man intimidated by a woman who has had sex with normal-sized men, rogue crocodiles, etc., until the climax, when the Soylent Plantation is laid siege to by an army of Soldier's Aunts. These pesky old Soldier's Aunts want their Soylent Green fresh! But the laugh is on the Soldier's Aunts. Soylent Green is made from the natives. Soylent Red is made from the better people. If those Soldier's Aunts had known whom they were eating, they'd have keeled over, and been Soylent Red themselves inside of a week.


For my full evisceration of the Cheston career, check out my April posting: Ben-Hur, Done Him.



Another prominent occupant of this Good Riddance List is Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Mormon church. The Mormon Church made itself particularly odious this year, which is quite an achievement for them, by spending millions to legislate its delusions into California's laws, in the name of Religious Freedom, even though making their tenants into our laws is the precise opposite of Religious Freedom. Happy as I am to see Hinckley off to Mormon Heaven (Or, as it's known to everyone else, Hell), it does little good. Like Popes, no sooner does a Mormon president die off than they select a new one. At least they only have one at a time, which is more than you can say about their wives, much as they like to pretend to the contrary.


Another person this year from the"We have to destroy Religious Freedom to save it" camp, whose death represents no loss whatever, is George M. Docherty. This fatuous fool, to whom the principle of The Separation of Church and State in our First Amendment was a custom more honored in the breach, led the push to include "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, in direct violation of the Bill of Rights. We are one nation under laws, and George M. Docherty is now one fool under dirt. By the way, he wasn't even an American. He was from England, which is still legally a theocracy, something we are still fighting not to become, and he returned there to die. They are welcome to him.


Frankly, when Jessie Helms died this year, I have no idea why a national holiday wasn't declared. Jessie was Evil Incarnate: bigoted, ignorant, stupid, and vile. Dancing on his gave isn't enough. They should hold a grand ball on his burial plot. You know what the devil has done to Jessie in Hell? He's locked him in a room with a TV just showing the 2008 presidential election returns over and over. He gets to spend Eternity watching O'Bama get elected President, over and over and over and over. Talk about "Uppity"!


William F. Buckley Jr. had the graciousness to die this year, possibly from the horror of seeing what 8 years of following his lifelong policies and philosophies did to America and The Conservative Movement. Dubya was clearly a buffoon. Buckley was clearly very, very smart, but their combined idiot politics has brought us a new depression. Thanks Bill. Roast in Hell. (And I'm sorry, but watching him on TV could make your skin crawl. The man was creepy!) I discussed his death at greater length in: Why Is This Man Smiling?


Bobby Fischer was a great chess player. He also thought 9-11 didn't go far enough and wasn't bad enough. He was a pig. Bye bye Bobby.



This man is Carl Karcher, the creator of Carl's Jr Restaurants. The money you spent there, he then gave to The Republican Party, to all sorts of hyper-conservative causes and organizations, and to anyone fighting against Gay Rights. He sold out his interests in Carl's Jr. a while back, and he's dead now, so it's okay to eat there again. Just don't order the Soylent Burger, unless you found Carl easier to stomach than I did.


I always felt a bit sorry for Christian Brando, but not sorry enough to forgive murder. Unless he was expressing a delicious irony, Marlon chose the wrong name for that son.


Tony Snowjob was a talking head at The Fox "News" Channel who became Dubya's press secretary. In short, he was a professional liar. Well, they weren't important lies; just invented, make-believe reasons for sending your kids off to die in Iraq. Let's just laugh it off.


Richard Darman was the Republican White House budget director who helped persuade President George Bush Senior to renege on his "no new taxes" pledge. Oh well, it wasn't like we ever believed George in the first place. Oh wait; the fools who voted for him did believe him. Well they just got what they deserved. The problem with that is, we all got what only they deserved, and that goes for the idiots who voted for his son too.


Here's an old favorite: Earl L. Butz. Remember him? He was the Agriculture Secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford who lost his job when we all heard the wildly racist joke he enjoyed telling. That it was racist was merely to be expected. Nixon appointed him, remember? But that it wasn't remotely funny was really unforgivable. Hey, did Sam Kinison ever try to run the Department of Agriculture? Butt out. And Butz's out!



And Evan Mecham is another fun one. This over-the-top revolting GOP governor of Arizona, after just 15 months in office, became the first U.S. governor to be impeached and removed from office in 59 years when, in April 1988, the state Senate convicted him of obstructing justice and misusing $80,000 in state funds allegedly funneled to his Pontiac dealership to keep it afloat. Nixon just looked like a car salesman. Mecham was one. He just sort of gave himself an economic bail-out, without going through channels.


Mecham brought out the worst in Arizonans: racism, bigotry, intolerance, car salesmanship. After taking office in January 1987, Mecham rescinded the Martin Luther King Jr. state holiday, saying its creation had been illegal. In addition to canceling the holiday, Mecham said working women caused divorce (
Patronizing "Working Women" can cause divorce.) and that he saw nothing wrong with calling black children "pickaninnies." Lovely man. How can one not be happy to see a clown like this dead? What a shame he didn't live long enough to see O'Bama elected to the White House.


At first glance, Richard Hecht seems like one of the good guys. He was a leading figure in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, overseeing cases for years, and helping to found its organized-crime unit in the late 1960s. Hecht was "a stabilizing force, a really wonderful guy," said John Van de Kamp, who was district attorney from 1976 to 1982. "Dick was the go-to guy for advice." Ira Reiner, who was district attorney from 1984 to 1992, called Hecht "the bricks and mortar" in an office "where it’s always about managing problems. Without exaggeration, he solved every problem he was brought in on."


Well, not every problem. There is still that pesky little Freedom of Speech thing he worked so hard at eradicating.



Let us look back at the 1962 arrest and subsequent trial of the great Lenny Bruce on obscenity charges. Future Sheriff Sherman Blockhead, then a sergeant in the department, sought Hecht's counsel on whether Bruce’s routine at the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood was obscene. Hecht sat through a show – and said "Yes." Something was obscene all right, but it wasn't Lenny Bruce. It was Hecht using The First Amendment to wipe shit off his ass.


"I was deliberately slow in reacting," Hecht recalled in the 2002 book The Trials of Lenny Bruce. (I assume he means "slow" in the sense we mean when we refer to "Slow children.") "I finally concluded that this was an obscene performance under the law." What law? Not The Bill of Rights. Hecht testified at Bruce’s trial. The trial ended in a hung jury (My favorite kind!), so at least he was ineffective at persecuting a greater man than he for exercising his rights under The Constitution.


The real crime was that Hecht never stood trial in Federal court for violating Lenny Bruce's constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.


In an audio interview that accompanies the book, Hecht partly explains the prosecution of Bruce by saying, "It was a different world at that time." No, I was there. It was this same planet, this same country, this same state, and this same Bill of Rights.


Nor was this Hecht's only attack on American Civil Liberties. Hecht became involved in the unfortunately successful prosecution of 20 college militants at San Fernando Valley State College, now known as Cal State Northridge. An L.A. Times editorial called the verdict "a landmark" because student activists had been found guilty of conspiracy charges for the first time, which provided "a new weapon against campus militants." Oh joy. He found new ways to stifle dissent, and continue using The First Amendment for toilet paper. He would have made a Good Little Nazi. Go to Heck, Hecht.


Well, the competition for the anti-coveted title of Most Awful Person to Die in 2008 is getting heated. Hecht was bad, but there's worse coming. Like for instance:
Ruth Greenglass. Her testimony helped send her sister-in-law, Ethel Rosenberg, to the electric chair. Now those are real Family Values! The execution of The Rosenbergs was a particularly shameful chapter in American History.


In July, we lost Frank "The German" Schweihs, reputedly one of Chicago's most feared mob enforcers. Without enforcement, the poor Chicago mobs will just be chaos.


A strong contender, but here's still worse: George Habash, a founder of Arab Nationalism and the architect of infamous airline hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s. Think of George the next time you're taking off your shoes in the airport, as part of the 6-hour boarding process. (George? Really? George? Not Saddam or Habib or Osama? Hmmm. The Republicans tried to make us all afraid of O'Bama just because his middle name is Hussein. Maybe we should have been alarmed at Dubya being named "George." And that George Washington guy we're all supposed to admire. You know the English, our allies against Iraq, classified George Washington as a "Revolutionary" and a "Radical". They even put him on their "No-Voyage" List!)


Well George Habash was pretty awful, but he's still not the top, most revolting, disgusting, evil man to die in 2008. No, the winner is - envelope please - Former Indonesian President Suharto!!! Let's hear it for him. Here's a picture of him with one of his disreputable associates.



This ruthless dictator ruled Indonesia with an iron fist in a spiked steel glove for 32 years! Estimates on the number of people he murdered run from 300,000 (Such optimists) up to around 2,000,000! Folks, we have a winner!

Imagine having murdered so many millions of people, you not only no longer know exactly how many people you've killed, but you can't even narrow it down to the nearest 1,000,000! I may have lost track of how many men I have married, but at least I know that the number is still in the low 2 figures. And I know exactly how many people I have killed.


But Suharto wasn't just a mass murderer and torturer; he was also a world class thief! He multi-tasked, or multi-crimed. He helped himself to Indonesia's money to the tune of roughly $40,000,000,000. America is a Republic. Dubya "Exports Democracy" and tried to make us a Theocracy. But Suharto made Indonesia into a Kleptocracy! When they finally threw him out, they didn't just find towels in his luggage; they found a palace!


Here's a funny fact about this mass-murdering swine. Since he was vehmently anti-communist (as in, he murdered all the communists in Indonesia he could lay hands on, and their spouses, and their children, and their pets, and their friends, and their friends' families and pets, and their neighbors, and their neighbors' families and pets, and anyone else in the vacinity who might have seen anything, and anyone else in the vacinity who hadn't seen anything, and anyone else he felt like, whch was anyone else.), the United States Government considered this filth an ally, and he was always able to count on the C.I.A. to aid him in his atrocities and his thievery, particularly his atrocities in East Timor in the mid-1960s. Democratic and Republican administrations alike provided billions of dollars in military weaponry and training and economic aid, as well as diplomatic cover, to Jakarta over Suharto's 32-year reign. In the United States, Washington's role in Indonesia's killing fields of 1965-66 is effectively forgotten. And the record of American complicity in atrocities in East Timor has been largely ignored - despite calls by that country's official truth commission that the United States apologize and pay reparations. In the words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

And you want to know the Worst Thing of All about Suharto? (He only had the one name, like Paladin, or Tonto.) He died peacefully in bed, at age 86. None of this Karma-catching-up-with-him crap. He died wealthy, pampered, and unpunished. He enver even stood trial. And while he's been out of power for a while, his successors have kept his Kleptocracy going in his honor.




So put a smile on your faces, friends; because all these jerks are dead! Cheers darlings!

1 comment:

Hermite said...

Well, that was refreshing. Here I was all kind of feeling down today but realizing all the evil that has been removed from our midst brought a bit of a smile to me.

Great HuffPo piece, too. Congrats on that gig. I totally agree about Cheston, he was much better as a villain. I guess that was when his true self shone through. I know several people who are always charming and polite, and they are evil to the core. Here's hoping to see them on the 2009 list.

I hadn't heard about Paul Benedict. How sad. "Waiting For Guffman" is one of my favorites.

Thanks, then, for the poignancy and smiles.

Uh oh, WVW mimen. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Cheers, darling.