Dear Big Daddy,
We’re 83 days late on the state budget and the governor who was in China now is MIA with the sniffles. Nothing is getting done and there’s no urgency at all. What happened to our Democracy? Should I be moving to Canada?
–Anxious in Alturas
No, you should be moving to England.
There, you can watch snappy politicians engage in real debates, rather than elaborate Q&A sessions with reporters. And, unlike Alturas, you can get yourself some decent Indian food. Just be careful if you’re talking on your cell phone.
You also can read hilarious tabloids like The Sun, The Daily Mirror and The News of the World, which all focus on such crucial issues as love affairs, weight problems, skin conditions, goofy celebrities, abused pets and bankruptcy.
We have papers like that in the U.S., of course (just look at what you’re holding in your hands), but the Brits handle scandal much, much better, with headlines like “My cheap fake boobs exploded” (Sun) and “Lindsay unleashed in lacy lingerie shoot” (News of the World) and “Derek Hough writes cheesy rock ballad for Cheryl Cole” (Daily Mirror).
Compelling reading, laddie. None of this dreary policy stuff, such as “California writes new rules for greenhouse gases” (Capitol Weekly) or “LAX lobbying relies on familiar faces” (LA Times). Somebody wake me. Every once in a while, the U.S. tabs get it right – “Killer’s gat found” and “Ford to New York: Drop dead!” Not often, though.
You’d think in a state like California, with its 1,100 miles of beaches, Hollywood governor, unparalleled diversity and interesting towns like Benbow, Fillmore and Hawaiian Gardens, and of course, Alturas, we’d be pretty exciting. Nope. England has us beat.
The latest scandal: Scotland Yard is investigating whether reporters at The News of the World hacked into the voice mails on the cell phones of assorted celebrities, including the Royal family. One reporter has already pleaded out in the scandal, as did a private detective hired by the Weekly. The twist: The person who was editor at the News of the World at the time is now the communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron.
You might say, so what? Communications directors always stab backs and flog falsities, but I’ve dealt with a lot of them, and I don’t remember any of them hacking my phone.
Maybe that’s why Jerry Brown said he would cut the press operations of state government agencies if he’s elected governor. Everyone knows that flacks can’t be trusted.
Why send a highly-compensated flunky to do a parrot’s work? Heck, maybe we can just get the new governor, whomever he or she may be, to wear an eye patch and scabbard and walk around with his or her press secretary on their shoulder. And parrots don’t get pensions.
Ah, dare to dream, right? Of course, the real benefit of a flack is that they get those pesky reporters out of your hair. And by pesky, I mean spineless voyeurs who hide behind their bosses the minute you have the audacity to question a single thing they’ve written.
You know, in England, the cowards don’t have the First Amendment to hide behind, and it’s not uncommon to see reporters thrown in the pokey for libel.
It’s sounding better and better all the time.