Being that my state's governor is more used to taking questions on Entertainment Tonight rather than the NewsHour, and creating publicity stunts rather than substantive policies, should anyone be surprised by this latest boneheaded move?Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to a quiet San Jose neighborhood Thursday, and -- dogged by protesters -- filled a pothole dug by city crews just a few hours before, as part of an attempt to dramatize his efforts to increase money for transportation projects.
Schwarzenegger strode toward television cameras on Laguna Seca Way to the sounds of the Doobie Brothers' "Taking it to the Streets,'' while flanked by 10 San Jose city road workers wearing Day-Glo vests and work gear. After speeches by the governor and city officials, a dump truck backed up and unloaded a mound of black asphalt and, as television cameras recorded the moment, Schwarzenegger joined the work crew, taking up a broom and filling the 10-by-15-foot hole, later smoothed over by a massive roller truck.
I guess he couldn't find a stunt-double to lift the shovel on such short notice.
But you know, it's not just that Arnold filled a pothole he created (a perfect metaphor for his tenure in office, now that you think of it). It's the absolute shamelessness, the sleaziness, the movie-set fakeness, the contempuousness of the entire pseudo-event:The governor's brief San Jose appearance, announced at the last minute, left some residents scratching their heads.
"For paving the streets, it's a lot of lighting,'' said resident Nick Porrovecchio, 48, motioning to a team of workmen setting up Hollywood-style floodlights on the street to bathe the gubernatorial podium in a soft glow... their street, he noted, didn't even have a hole to pave over until Thursday morning.
"They just dug it out,'' Porrovecchio said, shrugging. "There was a crack. But they dug out the whole road this morning.''
"It's a lot of money spent on a staged event,'' said Matt Vujevich, 74, a retiree whose home faced the crew-made trench that straddled nearly the whole street. "We still have the same problems. Everything's a press conference.''
Media advisories for the morning San Jose event were not issued until two hours before it started, and -- in an unusual move -- reporters were not provided with a location, but told to assemble in a parking lot where directions were distributed.
Indeed, the traffic event was such a well-kept secret that a row of spectator seats was mostly unfilled. City officials, road workers and media outnumbered neighbors, many of whom said they learned the governor was around only because of heavy police presence.
This contemptuousness spills over into his disgust for the very "people" that this purportedly populist governor loves to associate himself with. This is an amazing set pf paragraphs:The governor, asked Thursday whether the stealth schedule suggested he has been bothered by his vocal opponents, blithely dismissed them, saying most "are paid by the unions to protest.''
"These are all people who want to stop progress. These are all people that are fighting for the status quo ... all the people that have created the problems in the first place,'' he said.
The governor said he also was unconcerned about criticism that he should be in Sacramento working on budget issues, saying "the biggest mistake you can make is to stick around in the Capitol ... and not be with the people.''
You mean the people that are protesting you? Those people, the ones that are just being paid by unions to protest? How Arnold can get away with being dismissive of the people and then presuming to share common cause with them in the space of a sentence is beyond me.
And anyone who thinks this guy is anything approaching a man of the people, check this shit:As anyone who has worked on a commercial shoot knows, every single prop and piece of scenery that is seen in a commercial gets placed there carefully and purposefully. The chance that a certain product or logo could make it into the frame without getting there by explicit design is precisely zero.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's new commercial is filled with conspicuously placed products. And these products just so happen to be sold by major contributors to his campaign.
Good Lord. We've managed to become so deadened by celebrity-gazing that one of the most progressive states in the Union has been seduced by a corporate shill. Nothing more. The fact that any governor has often had his likeness on McDonald's souvenir drink cups should have been a red flag. This is not someone who wants to overthrow the status quo. He IS the status quo, keeping the masses happy and ignorant watching 'splosions and ass-kicking while setting in motion his real agenda to line corporate pockets and force-feed whatever swill they're selling this week down our collective throats. And the media, particularly in the dominant television medium, who are so dazed by the mere shine of his celebrity, are willing co-conspirators, mouths agape while forgetting to report on this travesty.
Angelides for Governor in 2006. No more pothole events. No more imagined reality. No more bullshit.