Monday, December 28, 1998

Week of 12/28/1998

The 1998 Brutally Honest Awards
The Second Annual Awards Article
- by David Matthews 2

Can you believe that a whole year has come and gone? Me neither, but it has.

Thus, as 1998 ends, it is once again time for the good, the bad, and the sometime lighthearted Brutally Honest Awards.

The Temporary Sanity Award for 1998 - The Georgia Supreme Court. The highest court in the state of Georgia had two moments of clarity to them. The first was when they ruled in favor of free speech for advertising, even when that advertising was for adult-only establishments. The second, and the most decisive of decisions, however, was when they overturned the state’s infamous sodomy law. They made the decision that the US Supreme Court, last year’s recipient of this award, failed to do back in 1988.

Now if only the state legislature had the brains to understand what that decision means.

The "Hulk Hogan" Award for the most staged event in 1998 - The House Impeachment Of President Clinton. Or perhaps the title should have been "As The Politics Churn," because this was a soap opera-like scenario. Even the CNN commentators were able to predict the actions of many members of the House, right up to what the House Parliamentarian would say almost word-for-word, and how the House Democrats would stage their symbolic walk-out to protest their inability to vote for a censure resolution.

C’mon folks! The only surprise was that only two of the four articles of impeachment got passed, and that Bob Livingston resigned. The self-righteous posturing on both sides was as scripted as professional wrestling!

The Kamikaze Award For 1998 - Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston. Let’s see.. Bill Clinton gets impeached, but the House Speaker and his would-be replacement are the ones who resign?

The funny part is that both of them were defiant in their respective troubles. Gingrich took responsibility for the use of GOP "issue ads" that aided in their ultimate loss of five seats. Livingston admitted to having a few adulterous affairs in his thirty-plus years of marriage. Both said they were willing to stick through the situation. Then, suddenly, they each announce they will resign.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they didn’t fall on their swords, they were shoved onto them by the moralistic special interest groups that put them in power in the first place.

The Bait-And-Switch Award for 1998 - The GOP "Tax Cut." Let’s see if I get this straight… The Republican members of Congress say that we need a "tax cut." But they don’t offer a tax cut. Instead they offer a tax credit that only exists on paper and you can’t use until the time comes to fill out your taxes, and it really doesn’t apply to every tax-paying American, but only those who have kids. Meanwhile my taxes as a struggling single male with no kids continue to rise. And they have the unmitigated gall to call THAT a "tax cut?"

The Bad Date Award for 1998 - The Feminist Supporters of Clinton. Okay, they have to stand by their man, even though their man hasn’t exactly been doing too well of a job on their behalf. Fine. I understand that. But you don’t back Clinton for doing the very same things you condemned Bob Packwood for and tried to hound him out of the Senate! That’s just plain hypocrisy.

The "Do As We Say Not As We Do" Award for 1998 - The US Congress. Congress releases the Kenneth Starr report online, complete with sexually explicit material, while at the same time shoves through the latest Internet censorship legislation, and then wonders why we have no respect for them? They redefine the meaning of the word hypocrisy with every session that convenes!

The Crybaby Award for 1998 - Hillary Rodham Clinton. Oh, they’re so nasty, aren’t they Hillary? Those evil people behind that "right-wing conspiracy" that are out to crucify your husband! How dare they! Just because you want to take over the world, that’s no reason for them to be so mean to you and your husband! And worse yet, it’s because you’re from Arkansas that they’re out to have you two impeached! Never mind that you weren’t originally from Arkansas..

Come on Hillary! That’s the nature of politics! Did you really think the Gods of Mount Morality were just going to roll their eyes when you said you were going to be a co-president back in 1992? Did you really think that you would be treated with kid gloves? There’s an old saying in Washington - if you can’t stand the heat, get out of politics!

The "Much Ado About Little" Award for 1998 - Windows 98. Improvements notwithstanding, the hype about Windows 98 lacked the luster of Windows 95. There was much talk about it, and it even served as a chief catalyst in the antitrust suit brought on by Uncle Sam and 19 of his 50 spoiled brats, but in the end, it was more of a fizzle instead of the anticipated bang because there was little that was different about it.

The Sleeper Surprise of 1998 - Apple’s iMac. Let’s face it, Apple put all their chips on a revised version of their original Macintosh computer, and it was a gamble that worked for them. Yes, the iMac has no floppy drive unit. Yes, the iMac has no means to expand beyond its one-piece set-top design. Yes, the iMac mouse looks as weird as the unit itself. All that didn’t matter, because people bought it and put Apple back in the black for the first time in years.

The J. Edgar Hoover Award For Snooping In 1998 - Kenneth Starr. Starr started out by looking into Whitewater, but couldn’t find anything. Then nobody could explain how Clinton could get hold of FBI records. And the investigation into the White House Travel Office came up empty. And the allegations of then-Governor Clinton using state troopers to bring women to him came up empty. And nobody REALLY wanted to look into what happened with Kathleen Wiley in the Oval Office. But Monica Lewinsky? Hell, yeah! Let’s get her friend Linda Tripp to tape record everything about Monica and her little dalliances with Big Bubba Spin! Let’s get Monica to confess by using every trick in the book!

And how does the media react? He gets co-billing with Clinton as Time’s Men Of The Year!

I don’t think that should be an accomplishment he should be proud of.

The Bottom-Of-The-Barrel Award for 1998 - Matt Drudge. It was close. He almost got beaten out by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. But when it comes to mudracking on Washington, Drudge got the ball rolling this year. Flynt, despite his recent boastings, didn’t oust Representative Bob Livingston, and he didn’t know about the admitted affairs of Henry "Check Your Politics At The Door, Liberal" Hyde, Helen "His Actions Are Deplorable" Chenoweth, and Dan "The President Is A Scumbag" Burton.

The "Boom-Boom-Boom Let’s Go Back To My Woods" Award for 1998 - The Manhunt of Eric Robert Rudolph. Oh, yeah, he’s still roughing it in the woods.. Sure. He’s probably in the basement of someone’s house now, laughing his butt off with the reports of the FBI staked out where he isn’t.

The "Laughing All The Way To The Governor’s Mansion" Award for 1998 - Jesse "The Mind" Ventura. The former wrestler and part-time actor was a real underdog in politics. He ran on simple platforms, campaigned on a third-party ticket, didn’t do any serious political ads on TV until the final weeks of the election season, and still ended up being elected governor of Minnesota. Now he’s hobnobbing it up with the big boys of politics, and they’re terrified of what he represents.

By the way, I hope the only sign of political egomania that affects Jesse would be the change of his moniker from "The Body" to "The Mind." His wrestling ego was as legendary as a certain fellow wrestler from Venice Beach who used to wear yellow and red, he certainly doesn’t need to fall down the path of Bill Clinton.

The "Season Of The Living Dead" Award for 1998 - The 98-99 Network Season. Seinfeld goes out with a whimper, Phil Hartman dies unexpectedly, and the networks apparently cannot grieve sooner enough. Instead, they tap one more time into the mindless sitcom boilermakers and rehash of hit shows instead of trying to use an ounce of actual creativity.

The Bane of Tyranny Award for 1998 - The Clinton Administration and the US Congress. Between CDA2/COPA, further limits on encryption, further encroachment on personal privacy through asset forfeiture and wire-taping laws, repeated violations of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution by imposing their will against certain ballot-approved initiatives in individual states, and further planned regulations that would make your personal bank transactions the purview of the government, its easy to see how Uncle Sam has become the biggest threat to American freedoms in human history.

The Worst Moniker For Bill Clinton in 1998 - "The Playboy President." I’m sorry, Hef, but Bill Clinton does NOT live the Playboy Philosophy, nor does he even admit to his sexual encounters, and if you - in some bout of insanity - invite him to the Playboy Mansion, I’d SERIOUSLY recommend you count the silverware and do a head check of all the staff and Playmates when he leaves. Don’t worry about the blondes. It’s the brunettes that he has a fixation on. (Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones were both raven-haired when they met Clinton. Even Kathy Wiley has a darker shade of brown when she was allegedly groped.)

Yes, politicians do have sex, they don’t just spend every waking moment trying to screw Joe and Jane Six-pack. But living up to the Playboy Philosophy does not mean you lie about it, nor refer to it only as "your shame."

The Best Moniker For Bill Clinton in 1998 - "Big Bubba Spin." The best of all nicknames for Clinton, incorporating all the best attributes that made him what he is today. He has a huge ego, he still shows his redneck roots in terms of his southern hypocrisy, and he is the grand master of political spin. And even the nickname appeals to the younger generation.

The Best Distractions For 1998 - Marc McGwire, Karen McDougal, and Katarina Witt. When it seemed that the whole world would be sucked down into the bowls of "L’affair Lewinsky," three faces stuck out in the public’s eye. Marc McGwire shocked the world and broke the home run record. Karen McDougal became Playboy’s Playmate of the Year, and Katarina Witt made news at the year’s end by revealing her athletic physique in the same publication.

As 1998 ends, and 1999 arrives, one can only wonder just how weird things will be this time next year! If this past year is any indication, the best line will have come from the legendary Bettie Davis:

Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

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