April 6, 2005
Fab West Coast Celeb Gov is in the news lately as he tries to grab all the pensions for the privatizers and reduce the benefits of state workers, teachers, nurses, etc. He's acting fast before the hypnosis wears off, before enough people wake up to see he is only hastening the job his pal Ken Lay started in robbing the state of California dry for his pals who own him.
My two odd encounters with Mr. Schwarzenegger were illuminating. It's always striking to see a real person you have known only as an image. I described somewhat the encounters on this page. But there's a punch line to the story. One encounter with Schwarzenegger was at a travel trade show in New York. I was quite taken back to see that in person he's actually quite short. He appears especially small compared to the image we know from the movies. About 5'10", very wide, big head, big hair, face caked with makeup, moving like a mechanical man with a huge, not-quite-insane grin on his face. Living for the camera.
My second experience was not a direct encounter but an encounter once removed. When I bungee jumped off the Victoria Falls bridge on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the team that worked the concession told me Schwarzenegger had come, paid his money, gone all the way up to the perch, and then chickened out. I did it. Five-foot women were doing it. Arnold, the terminator, chickened out.
This, my friend, was only a bungee jump. Many many people have done it. If not many "girly men", plenty of just plain girls. It is safe. There's a cord to keep you from hurting yourself, it cushions you. It's not the execution chamber. It's not the front lines of war in Iraq. It's none of the real threats the politicians are so willing to impose on others as they rob the public coffers for their corporate backers. The point is, Arnie is only an image. He's a cartoon character, very cleverly drawn.
When he first became governor and went on "Meet the Press", I heard him talking about athletics, and how much he learned from it. It was actually pretty impressive. He might have been Anthony Robbins, a motivational speaker. But Arnie's "sport" was bodybuilding, which is athletics like the Miss Universe contest is athletics.
And don't say those young women don't have to work out to get those figures. In the game of bodybuilding, you stand up on a stage and suddenly strike a pose. It's a still photograph, and it is supposed to be presented that way. There is no motion. In fact, the motion in between poses is minimized, de-emphasized, as if to encourage you to ignore it and only look at the pose.
Schwarzenegger is a beauty queen who became a reasonably competent actor within a very narrow range of casting as befits a cartoon character. He had political ambitions, probably political convictions, and he's now in service of the same agenda of give-the-country-away-to-the-corporations-that-feed-us as Bush. When Schwarzenegger says he's against "special interests" remember, he's not real.
And in Other Arnie News --
Arnold Exposed: "The son of an SS nazi officer, Schwarzenegger has publicly stated that he has dreamed of being a dictator and that he admires Hitler. He campaigned for war criminal Kurt Waldhiem after it had been made public that he was a top nazi. The stories of Arnold's barbaric harrassment of women are legendary. He publicly admits to steroid and marijuana use. He supported Enron chief, Ken Lay during the California energy crisis and now his political operatives have launched a blitzkrieg promoting him for President and seeking to end the Constitutional bar against him holding that office." "The working wounded: How Schwarzenegger is saving Wall Street by decimating workers' comp – a report from the front lines." San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Corporate Cyborg - Cal Nurses Take on the Governator" According to a good writer named Ralph Nader, "Corporate cyborg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, must be thinking these days that it was not like this in his movies. On the screen, Arnold was the pursuer, the hunter, and the attacker. On the hustings now, it is the nurses, along with the teachers, and the firefighters, who are dogging him everywhere with their protests against his policies and actions.
When he ignored the law stipulating one nurse for every five hospital patients the opposition from the militant California Nurses Association intensified. Then Arnold made the mistake that keeps on giving. Before an audience of 10,000 women, he was challenged by a group of nurses. 'Pay no attention to those voices over there. They are the special interests, and you know what I mean. The special interests don't like me in Sacramento because I am always kicking their butts.'
'Kicking their butts,' roars the famous grouper and fondler from Hollywood? Even-the-full-of-himself, basking-in-high-poll numbers, Arnold couldn't get away with that remark. Nurses have just about the best image around. They are there by the bedside when the doctors have left for home. They are the people who watch lives ebbing away, who hear the cries of pain and the spasms of sorrow day after day. 'Kicking their butts?' Whoa! The nurses were off to the Arnold races." progressivetrail.org
Another Lens -- According to a piece in Executive Intelligence Review, "Schwarzenegger's handlers arranged this appearance to convince voters that he was a reformer who would fight for the 'people' against the "special interests," in the tradition of the Progressive movement, which had elected Johnson in 1910. The former Hollywood star played his role to the hilt: 'The special interests in those days ran over people,' he said, reading from a 'Reforminator' script. 'Hiram Johnson stopped them. That's why I wanted to come here.'
"Throughout the campaign, he returned repeatedly to that script. I must 'Terminate Davis,' he would growl at rallies, because he is a captive of special interests. I am not part of the system, he would lie; I am an outsider, who owes nothing to the special interests which have failed in Sacramento. To reform this system, you need an outsider who can't be bought; I have enough money, so no one can buy me!
"After spending millions of dollars to win the election—the bulk of which came from corporate cartels with a vested interest in cutting taxes and eliminating government spending for health care, education, and human services—Schwarzenegger went on to denounce educators who insisted that he deliver funds he had promised to the schools, as being part of the "special interests" he claimed the voters had elected him to defeat. The demand from nurses that he fulfill his pledge to reduce the patient-to-nurse ratio was rejected by him as another example of a 'special interest.' They don't like me, he said, mockingly, because 'I am always kicking their butts.'"
Overreaching -- Arnie gave up his pension overhaul efforts. Victory for the people. Daily News