Lest we forget, the 2011 general elections were not without their moments of levity, intended and otherwise. Who could possibly forget The Red-Zone shows? Only in Saint Lucia, you say? Well, yes and no. Fox News and MSNBC are not local shows. But quite apart from the slick productions, the imaginative graphics and camera work synonymous with the named networks they also feature some of America’s hottest media stars. Remember Glenn Beck? Keith Olbermann? Ed Shultz? Let’s not even go the granddaddy of them all, Bill O’Reilly. Or Sean Hannity. Or Rachel Maddow and Mary Matlin.
Sure, everyone knows whence these guys and gals cometh, politically. But for the most part they are extremely well informed, funny, slick, obviously educated, well groomed and articulate—among the reasons why they command six-figure salaries. Yes, they are capable of driving regular folk crazy with their blatant biases but then you knew where they stood on the day’s topic even before they opened their mouths to speak.
Besides, from time to time they had as their guests representatives of the other side who, if they were capable of holding their own, sometimes came away fairly unscathed.
Seldom do the mentioned media celebrities insult the intelligence of their audiences. Once in a while they might actually laugh at themselves. They have even been known, when faced with no other choice, to admit they had been wrong about something! But then some had stepped so far outside the borders of civilized tolerance that even their networks had been forced to say enough is enough. Think Glenn Beck. Think Keith Olbermann. Both dumped!
Not so long ago, even Rush Limbaugh was left no other choice but to eat his own words spoken about a pro-Obama lobbyist. Yes, on air. In this particular case, the barely-there apology for calling the law student Linda Fluke a slut came only after some big advertisers had pulled or threatened to pull their multi-million-dollar contracts, but never mind.
Ah, but already I have digressed too far. Let us return to those unintended moments of levity during the last election campaign. Was there ever anything funnier than the sight of the prime minister’s soon-to-be press secretary seriously attempting to pass off the very first The Red-Zone TV show as the regular thing?
Forget about the bizarre en rouge set that rendered the red-attired host and her similarly uniformed guests damn near indiscernible. What about the guests themselves, all of them front-line Labour Partycampaigners trying
to pass themselves off as
fair and balanced?
Ah, but The Red Zone episode that had me laughing the hardest, so hard that for safety reasons I was forced to park my vehicle for a few minutes, was on RCI, hosted by Urban Dolor. His special guests on the particular evening were Tony Astaphan and Claudius Francis—well known for their fair-and-square intellectual political commentary. Among the first callers was a woman who wanted everyone to know “Dr. Anthony is a good man, a changed man, who would never do all the bad things he did before. He’s a changed man and never, never, never would he repeat his mistakes.”
There was no reaction from the night’s panelists. At any rate, as soon as the caller hung up another woman had called to make an important confession: she had long ago made a point of never ever honoring UWP events with her presence. However, she wanted to warn the red brigade about the increasing number of obviously vulnerable young people who regularly exposed themselves to the toxic propaganda from the platforms of the United Workers Party.
Astute as is Astaphan normally, on the remembered occasion it evidently had not occurred to him to ask how the last mentioned caller had counted the “hundreds of young people” at rallies she had not herself attended. No sooner had the woman delivered her speech and hung up than a male voice was repeating her warning. What she had said was “absolutely true,” he assured host and celebrity guests, then went on to advise the “brothers and sisters in Radioland” not to underestimate the UWP’s pulling power.
Led by de lyin’ King, he said, they were well known for their ability to persuasively prevaricate, and young and impressionable people were their first victims.
What! Two callers in a row inadvertently plugging the effectiveness of the UWP’s campaign for the so-called youth vote? Clearly they had forgotten the UWP was incapable of doing anything right. Astaphan decided finally to enlighten them. He said young Saint Lucians were not nearly as impressionable as their elders tended to believe. Young Saint Lucians were bright, hard-working, smart, loyal and discerning, he said. They knew the difference between right and wrong, between make believe and reality.
He listed several headlined stories that had proved most expensive for the United Workers Party, just to illustrate the difference between fact and fiction. Among them, count on it, were the Tuxedo Villa and the Taiwanese-money issues. And then the senior counsel from Dominica came to the Red Zone’s favorite bête noir.
“The young people of Saint Lucia are not fooled,” he said. “They know the stories surrounding Richard Frederick’s visa revocation are allegations, not rumors!”
Ah, yes, spoken like a true lawyer. I, for one, can hardly wait for the Grynberg defense!