Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beaver, Man, Monkey, Politician


Jodie Foster’s next directorial outing will be reportedly be The Beaver, featuring Mel Gibson as a troubled CEO who begins talking to his family only through a Beaver puppet, which the family finds increasingly disturbing — as you also may, after seeing the publicity photo above from it, noted on film site DarkHorizons.com. I hope the puppet’s not saying, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world!”

(Speaking of actors who’ve played Hamlet on-screen: tomorrow a comment about Shakespeare to end the year on a cultural high note.)

This “Herman” cartoon also confuses and disturbs me (assuming that link still takes you to the Dec. 24 strip about being “dehydrated”).

On a more retro puppet note, a decade ago the two Muppets who really stood out on Muppets Tonight, I’ve always said, were thuggish Italian crooner Johnny Fiama and his sycophantic monkey sidekick Sal, and my favorite bit with them was the sad montage that went through Sal’s head (starting six minutes into this clip) when it looked as though their friendship was doomed. Sal recalls tense but treasured moments such as Johnny telling him to get off the dashboard and lambasting him for voting for Dukakis.

If Johnny and Sal are still friends in two and a half years, maybe Johnny will be lambasting Sal for voting for Huckabee in the GOP primary. After all, Dukakis’s release of the dangerous prisoner Willie Horton (brought to the public’s attention by Dukakis’s rival, Al Gore) helped sink him. And with any luck, the public won’t forgive soft-on-crime Huckabee for releasing a prisoner who recently went on to kill four cops.

More important, though, is the fact that 2010 is a good time for conservatives, libertarians, “liberaltarians,” Tea Party animals, and moderates alike to set aside differences and unite around the less-spending message in order to nudge Congress in a slightly more Republican direction. That’s not the most audacious political goal I’ve ever expressed, but it’s the fight of the moment and should not be neglected. We already more or less lost the stimulus battle and the healthcare battle. We had better at least channel the backlash competently.

Huckabee is an unabashed welfare statist who berates the free-marketeers and libertarians in his own party and is thus not the man to lead now (nor is Romney, who can hardly capitalize on outrage at socialized medicine when he’s the man who socialized it in Massachusetts). Perfection is not an option, but we’d be better off with a Pawlenty-like spending-capper or Gingrich-like regulatory streamliner — even a Palin/Perry-like decentralizer, though I fear Palin is a punchline in the minds of half the populace and thus unlikely to win. A Huckabee, though, would squander what momentum the anti-government cause has gained over the course of 2009, reversing a very healthy trend.

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