Mel Bernstein: You can’t shoot a cop!
Tony Montana: Whoever says you was one?
I came out of the My Name is Barbra “I’m Still a Superstar Even If the Mirror Does Have Two Chins” Streisand fundraiser for Barack Hussein Obama II the other night in Beverly Hills with a song in my heart and a hole in my pocket.
So what? At nearly 30-large a pop, peace of mind is priceless. Not only is Barry up in the polls again, but the national economy is collapsing, North Korea is in turmoil (memo to me — send the Dear Leader a get-well-soon card), Israel is about to elect some chick named Zippy as its Prime Minister — did you know that “Tzipi” means “peace” in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Mayan, Swahili and Hindi? — and Sarah What’s-Her-Name is last week’s pair of Sex in the Tundra high heels. Nothing but good news abounds. Praise Gaia, Bambi Soetero, aka the Talking Parrot, remains Lord and Savior to us atheists.
So why I am fretting? Think Scarface.
No, not the 1932 Howard Hawks classic, the one with Paul Muni (born Meshilem Meier “Moony” Weissenfreund) as the Al Capone character and George Raft (born “Ranft”) — boyhood best friend of Bill Clinton’s rabbi, Owney Madden — as Guino Rinaldo. Sure, it’s great, bloody, ultra-violent, what’s not to like, blah blah black-and-white Boris Karloff blah, but —
I’m talking about the 1983 Brian De Palma remake with Al Pacino as Tony Montana, the Marielito murderer with a heart of cocaine and a Little Friend of some fine lethality. Specifically, about the scene in which Tony, after killing off Michelle Pfeiffer’s hubby and appropriating the babe, sorts out Mel Bernstein, the crooked cop played by Harris Yulin, who’s been skimming off the Cuban mob.
For years, I’ve admired this scene. (And why wouldn’t I? Oliver Stone wrote it!) There’s only one man standing between Tony and triumph, and that’s this lousy, beat-up Miami narc. But Tony sees right through him, won’t hondel with him, doesn’t even believe Mel’s a real cop. And so he shoots him, right in the gut. In disbelief, Mel shouts out a phrase common on the Daily Kos website, and then Tony pops a righteous cap in his whatever and down for the count goes ol’ Mel. Tough but fair: that’s how we Democrats roll.
Still, as I thought about it more, a little gerbil began to siphon away my precious bodily fluids. Because, after all, what is Tony really saying to Mel: that he doesn’t accept Mel’s premises. Doesn’t believe anything Mel says. Doesn’t even believe that Mel’s really a cop. Whoever says you was one?
That way lies madness. But that’s exactly what’s happening to us good guys right now. You conservatives don’t accept our premises. In fact, you mock us! How dare you?!
I mean, here you nominate this white-trash, Marge Gunderson/Tina Fey talkalike/lookalike who’s also an animal assassin on the side, and America just shrugs and, instead of excoriating her, celebrates her.
Here we play the race/religion card every chance we get — did you notice that BHO is black?! — and you refuse to take the bait and instead point out that it’s folks like the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius (great symphonies — especially the Fourth!), who keep pointing it out. And semi-Muslim? “I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama, and that his father was a Muslim and that his paternal grandmother is a Muslim. There’s a billion people on the planet that are Muslims, and I think that experience is a big deal,” as former Sen. Bob Kerrey so memorably said.
Here we play the culture-war card — did you notice that her daughter is pregnant?! — and you pretend like you don’t want to burn her at the stake.
Here we’re running against #$!@*&^BUSH!!$%#@!& and you act like he’s not even standing for reelection, as if he couldn’t just call off the election any time he wanted and declare himself King.
Here we want to blame the Wall Street crisis on you and you insist on pointing a finger at both Franklin Raines, the janitor’s son turned Rhodes Scholar, and VP-committee-chair James Johnson, the Obama buddies who ran Fannie Mae into the ground and made themselves millionaires in the process. Boss Tweed would be so proud!
Here we want to talk about Hope and Change and you want to talk about Reform. Well, let me tell you something: in the words of the great Paddy Bauler, who shot a cop the year he was elected an Alderman from the 43rd Ward in 1933 — “Chicago ain’t ready for Reform.” (Naturally, the charges were dropped — it’s the Chicago Way!)
How dare you? How dare you fight back, impugn our honesty and question our patriotism? That’s our job!
How dare you insist on telling lies about The One, such as that he’s never really accomplished anything except flap his jaws, that none of his students remembers a single thing he ever said in his constitutional law class, that all his electoral fights in Illinois were fixed by the Axelrod of Evil, that he never wrote anything for The Harvard Law Review, that his years in Indonesia and at Columbia are lacunae incognitae, that his story of being poor and oppressed in mahalo multi-racial Hawaii where his “typical white grandmother” was a bank officer is the equivalent of growing up in Selma, Alabama, with Bull Connor and his dogs at the door? You even make fun of him as a Saul Alinsky Rabble Rouser — excuse me! I mean Community Organizer.
So what if his deadbeat dad had multiple wives, a new half-sibling pops up every other week and his mom was named Stanley? BO Plenty is a perfectly normal American, and you lot should be proud to anoint — oops! I mean “elect” — him as your next president. Just think how thrilled your bravely aborted children and their heroically murdered offspring would have been to see his face on one of those dollar bills, if they had lived!
So now that everything’s going down the tubes the way it’s supposed to, maybe it doesn’t matter if you reject our premises. As Barnum said, there’s a sucker born every minute, and if we can just get enough of them to the polls and get them to vote for us four or five times apiece, the way Tammany Hall did in the good old days, then we’ll be O.K.
There’s an old saying in the news business: “we don’t have to be right; we just have to be right today/this week/this month.” Frankly, out here in Hollywoodland we take a longer view: we don’t care much whether Bambi is the Messiah, the Moshiach, the Mahdi or Mortimer Snerd, just as long as he gets elected and does what Babs and David Geffen, George Clooney and the Central Committee of the Communist Party tell him to do. After all, we don’t have to be right. We just have to be right on Nov. 4.
Still… what if he isn’t really a cop? What if he’s just Mel Bernstein?
– David Kahane is always right. You can tell him so at [email protected].