I'm getting a little bit tired of people criticizing Newt Gingrich for trying to make some money.
Granted, a $4.5 million book advance is ridiculous. This man is not a Stephen King, or a Dean Koontz, or even an Anne Rice. While starving young writers (like me) struggle to sell short stories and poems, Gingrich gets a huge contract, simply because he's Speaker of the House. It is also important to remember that Gingrich attacked Jim Wright when he was Speaker, for a book deal which garnered Wright 55% royalties. Outrageous? Perhaps. But no more so than Newt's advance.
I'm not saying that Speakers of the House have no right to write, and to make some money from their writing. I just think that they should be paid a little more appropriately. These are not best-selling novelists. And in this case, there is also the matter of Rupert Murdoch, who would be doing well to make a close friend and ally of the Speaker.
No, we shouldn't be criticizing Gingrich for selling books. There are many other reasons to keep a close eye on this man. I'm no fan of the GOP, but if they are truly interested in "fixing" the ills of this nation, keeping this mad dog in line and out of the media would be a Capitol idea. With Newt, House Majority Leader Dick Arney, Senator Jesse Helms, and some of the other trash-talking Republicans making the papers every few days with stupid foot-in-mouth soundbites, how can the right expect anyone to take them seriously?
Speaking of the Republicans, what's the big idea, eliminating the funding for public television and radio? If the Contract With America is truly dedicated to reducing the federal deficit, why not start by cutting funding to the bloated, ugly mass that is the American military? No, the world is not a safe place, not yet, but we don't need to spend as much as we are to defend the United States. Our military's budgeting is inefficient and haphazard. Meanwhile, space research, from which many advances and day-to-day benefits have occurred, gets slashed. There are many places where cuts can and should be made; the fine programming made available by National Public Radio and PBS is not among them.
On to other things... I'm also no fan of political correctness, as I have mentioned before. I think we're getting a little too sensitive about the wrong things. I don't care if you call me a Brazilian-American, a white male, or a cracker. It's infuriating to see and hear people side-stepping to avoid making what could be seen as an inflammatory remark (so I say "Oriental" instead of "Asian?" It may not be quite as accurate, but at least I know enough to be partly capable of differentiating Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, and the other Asian peoples by facial characteristics and language, rather than lumping them all together as "Chinese," like so many Americans do). Meanwhile, few get upset about the plight of the homeless, or what's going on in the former Soviet Union and its former Eastern bloc.
We're putting too much emphasis on how we're different; it's making us forget how we're really all the same. By clinging almost obsessively to cultures of the past, we postpone the coming together of the human race. All cultures should be studied and understood by all peoples, but none should be placed above the others, on a social or a personal level, whether it be European, African, Asian, Native American, or what have you.
By proclaiming onself to be "white," or "African-American," or "gay," or "Catholic," one proceeds to divide. We must keep in mind that the first label that can be attached to a newborn baby is "human." That's what we all are, that's what we all have in common. Everything else is secondary. One doesn't learn to hate, fear, or distrust others until much later.
As a race, we can either live in the past, "as our fathers did," and continue to stagnate, or we can look to the future, living as one people, with the combined knowledge, wisdom, and art of all the cultures behind us.
And now, some assorted stuff...
Do you really want to see the O.J. Simpson trial every day, read about it in every newspaper, see interviews with they guy who bumped into him on the street in New York six years ago next Tuesday? If so, try getting your own life. I, for one, am mightily disgusted with the media overkill, something that seems to have developed during the late '80s. A small rain forest was decimated to run reports on Amy Fisher, Tonya Harding, and Donald Trump, and why? WHO CARES? One article in each paper for one day, and that's more than enough for these insignifs. All right, Trump's not exactly insignificant, but being rich does not entitle one to monopolize front covers. Maybe if everybody writes to their local newspaper and demands that more attention be paid to the news, eventually the hint will be taken.
"Star Trek: Voyager" had a strong debut. I really like Captain Kate Janeway, although I must confess that I'm going to have to get used to her voice. It's nice to see a Vulcan on the bridge of a starship again. I was a bit taken aback by the captain's decision to officially make the Maquis terrorists a part of her crew (although Chakotay is a much more interesting First Officer than Will Riker ever was), but, hey, that's what makes Janeway different from Picard (and probably even Kirk), so I respect that. I think that, under the circumstances, Benjamin Sisko might have done the same thing. And speaking of Sisko, why is "Voyager" on against "Deep Space Nine" in the New York market? Yes, I realize that Paramount has to market its new network, but aren't both these shows produced by the same team? Have other markets also been faced with this dilemma?
Isn't Kennedy gone yet? Maybe this annoying VJ will get picked up by Senator Ted Kennedy, and after hitting a few bars, they'll head home, driving over a bridge, and...
I occasionally listen to Howard Stern. He can often be funny, and he can often be crude; he is not always both. That is as defensive as I will get. I have, however, noticed of late that he is using "...and junk" a lot. "She was nice-lookin' and junk," "There was food and junk," things like that. I don't know if he thinks this will appeal to a younger market, or if maybe he's picking it up from his own kids, but it certainly isn't going to help his image. Howard does have his moments of lucid intelligence; they're not going to be spotted in the midst of the juvenile talk.
In late-breaking news, I have to declare my disgust with Apple for apparently jumping on the conservative bandwagon and trying to censor Voyager Co. for a historical CD-ROM title being packaged in a software bundle sold to schools. It seems that some people have complained about references to birth control, abortions, and homosexuality; Apple has asked Voyager to remove the offending subjects, and they have refused, rightfully. If this last bastion of fresh liberalism in corporate America is caving, we're in trouble. To think, I might now be too embarrassed to admit that I own a Macintosh!
Well, I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better, after unloading all that on you! Bye now...