Hear! Hear! Technology catches America tripping over its tongue
Open microphones have damaged more than one loose-talking politicians’ career, but perhaps none worse than that of Mike Duvall, a newly former California lawmaker.
In the torrid month of July, before the start of a meeting at the Capitol, Duvall, 54, unawares that the microphone in front of him was “hot,” was caught revealing to his colleague, Jeff Miller, the more intimate details of his sexual conquests.
It may suffice here to quote The Miami Herald, which reported that the Assemblyman in question made mention of a “spanking fetish, the type of underwear worn by a mistress, and his apparent ability to carry on two extramarital affairs at once.”
Where does Duvall think he is? Italy?
But the most sensational thing about this particular story is that the honorable Mike Duvall’s conquests just happened to involve two corporate lobbyists.
According to US media reports, the woman Duvall refers to in his kiss-and-tell commentary works as a lobbyist for Sempra Energy, a San-Diego based energy services company that operates San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Gas Co. Now that’s bad, but it gets even worse when it is realized that Duvall was the vice chairman of the Assembly Utilities Committee.
The American people have always had a sneaking suspicion that “business was in bed with the politicians,” but this is clearly taking things to an extreme level. With any luck, the Duvall Incident represents a very isolated case of political misbehavior; otherwise the American people really stand no chance of getting their due representation in the halls of government against the whorish behavior of corporate lobbyists unless they agree to participate in all sorts of kinky fetishes.
Sempra Energy said it was investigating the claims. Well that’s certainly encouraging.
Next up, American tennis champion Serena Williams. Before we consider this colorful character, it would perhaps be fair to recall that athletes, whenever they clash head-to-head in glorious battle, rely upon enormous stores of adrenaline, determination and raw willpower. When things are going their way, these vast energy resources click as smoothly as the diesel engine of a finely tuned Mercedes Benz. But when an athlete suffers from a “bad day,” the result of all that misspent energy can be truly appalling.
John McEnroe, for example, America’s seven-time Grand Slam winner, was notorious for his wild tantrums on the court whenever he considered himself the victim of a bad call, which seemed to be rather often. On one memorable occasion, he demanded of a chair umpire, “Answer my question, jerk!” He also singlehandedly made famous the phrase, “You cannot be serious!”
So perhaps we should forgive Serena Williams, playing against Belgium’s Kim Clijster in this year’s US Open, for her explosive reaction to a lines judge who called her on a 'foot foul' at a crucial moment in the match.
Approaching the judge who had the misfortune of making the tough call, shaking her racket and pointing, Williams told her in no uncertain terms, “I’m going to shove this (expletive) ball down your (expletive) throat.”
Wow, who spiked Serena’s Gatorade?
The stunned announcer in the news box, not quite believing what he heard, could only mumble, “Well, with our sensitive microphones, we could pick up the profanities and with that second code violation… Kim Clijsters is our winner tonight.”
So much for the US Open, not to mention Serena Williams, who was immediatley knocked down a few pegs due to her unladylike, unsportsmanlike and perhaps even unsanelike behavior, which is now all the rage on Youtube for all to hear and see.
Our next example of open mike season does not involve some poor person who unwittingly destroys his reputation in the vicinity of an open microphone, but rather a poor guy who makes a jackass of himself at an open microphone while knowing full well that the mike is working.
Admittedly, the MTV Video Music Awards may not be the most challenging place to find outlandish behavior and mindless phraseology, but the foolish stunt that rapper Kanye West pulled on Sunday had aftershocks that were felt all the way up to the White House.
After country singer Taylor Swift was announced the winner of the Best Female Video Award, Mr. West stormed the stage, possibly under the influence of something stronger than his stupidity, grabbed the microphone from a stunned Swift, who was about to give her acceptance speech, and announced that Beyonce, not Swift, was the rightful winner of the coveted award.
Swift, who is just 19 years old, described her scrambled thoughts at the time of the rude rapper malfunction on the talk show, The View: “I think my overall thought process went something like: ‘Wow, I can’t believe I won. This is awesome. Don’t trip and fall. I’m gonna get to thank the fans. This is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here! Cool haircut. What are you doing here. And then, ‘Ouch.’”
Now, you would hope that this sort of story would just die a much deserved death right there, but of course it doesn’t. No, in this instant access age, when every asinine deed and misdeed is freeloaded, downloaded and uploaded (forgive me if my technical terminology is imprecise, Scarlett, but frankly I don’t give a hard drive) onto the electronic highway for immediate mass consumption and eventual constipation, we are all spectators to something that resembles a 24/7 superhighway pileup.
Not only does the MTV imbroglio not go away, it seeps its way upwards (as opposed to downwards, as you might expect it would), to the highest office in the land!
During an off-the-record segment of an interview with CNBC, a reporter asked US President Barack Obama, “Were your girls as hacked off as mine that Kanye gave Taylor Swift the ‘Joe Wilson treatment’ (‘Joe Wilson treatment’ is a reference to the Republican politician who interrupted Obama’s Congressional speech on healthcare with the accusation, “You lie!”)?
Now at this point, it would have been delightful, and not a little encouraging, had Barack Obama said something like, ‘Excuse me, but who exactly is Kanye West? I’m afraid I’ve never heard the name before. After all, is there a better sound in the world than that of an entertainment-industry ego going 'POP'? More importantly, feigning ignorance on certain subjects, especially those that involve cotton candy corporations like MTV, can oftentimes make a commander-in chief look much more intelligent than he really is.
Instead, Obama bit the bloated bait and, after much discussion about the incident, called West a “jackass” for his recklessness.
As the Huffington Post reported, “Obama’s colorful remark… was tweeted, then deleted, by ABC news reporter Terry Moran."
Here is the ignoble tweet heard around the world: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.”
Boy, world markets must have really taken a tumble on that incredible revelation.
But what is most disturbing is not that the American president called West "a jackass," which seems to be mostly accurate, but that such a mundane and superfluous question was presented to the US commander-in-chief, who then wasted precious 30 seconds of taxpayer money contemplating the non-issue, in the first place.
It is unfortunate that Obama, who might just be in a position to influence our increasingly inexplicable behavior, did not publicly rebuke the CNBC reporter for introducing such irrelevant subject material at a time when there are so many more important things out there to tweet about.
Now THAT would have been truly presidential.