No doubt you’ve all been wondering where I’ve been these past few months and what I’m up to, because this one thing I know is true: You wingnuts find the liberal, leftist, ecologically correct lives we progressives live out here in La-La Land to be infinitely fascinating, almost as fascinating as we find them ourselves. So I’m here, reporting for duty once more.
You’ll forgive me if there are a few typos in this story. I’m writing it on my secure BlackBerry, typing with my thumbs as I sit in traffic. That’s because, believe it or not, I’ve been trying to get from Santa Monica back downtown to my palatial pad in Echo Park for the past couple of weeks now, and, as you read this, I’m just inching my way east of Western Avenue. With any luck, I’ll be home before Festivus.
First there was the big fundraiser for my president and yours, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Vacationer-in-Chief, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Chicago and Honolulu. You can’t believe how flattered I was to be able to join my close friends Barbra Streisand and Jeffrey Katzenberg, as one of the $30,000-a-pop no-shows at the big do in Hancock Park, no-shows on account of we literally couldn’t get there from here, BO2 having commandeered every available freeway, surface street, and SUV in Los Angeles County in order to motor in the style to which he’s become more than accustomed from Air Force One to the La Brea Tar Pits, where he might have paused for a moment to contemplate the statue of the woolly mammoth, slowing sinking into the nonrenewable resource that somehow lies like an ocean beneath Wilshire Boulevard but which we shouldn’t drill, baby, drill for because we don’t need that oil.
And the evening had started so wonderfully, too . . .
You see, there I was, tooling down Sunset Boulevard in my late-model Prius, figuring I’d zip over to Dukes on the Strip for a little nosh before reversing course and heading back east, having long ago lost my appetite for rubber chicken, even expensive Hancock Park rubber chicken. I cannot tell you how my heart swelled with pride as I encountered what would later prove to be an ominous portent of things to come: a standstill, caused by the heroic proletariat as they labored away resurfacing the Sunset Strip. And while I was impatient to blow past Sunset Plaza and get to my chow, I couldn’t help thrilling to the sign on the north side of Sunset, which proclaimed that this most-needed project was brought to me by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, B. Hussein Obama Jr., POTUS for now.
Yes, if there’s one place in the country that needs to be stimulated by the Stimulus, it’s Sunset Boulevard, repository of the nation’s hopes, dreams and aspirations, the place where a thousand dreams come daily to die, where nubile young beauties from Minnesota — okay, Somalia, if you want to go all the way back — come to . . . Anyway, there I was cheering your tax dollars at work when I became aware that not only was the Strip not moving, nothing was moving. I mean, it was like some weird scene out of Roland Emmerich’s 2012, minus the earthquakes, volcanoes, general mayhem, and John Cusack, which we tolerant Angelenos try to keep confined south of Jefferson, except for Cusack.
Eventually I made my way to the ocean, spent a week camping out on the beach behind what’s left of William Randolph Hearst’s and Marion Davies’s cottage in Santa Monica, then fired up the green gerbils living in my Prius’s engine and headed for home once more. Alas, it was not to be: Just my luck that I hit Century City — known to us Industry Insiders as the “old Fox back lot” — just in time to hit a wall of doughnut-chomping, overtime-racking L.A. cops, who had cordoned off a six-block area around someplace or other in order to allow the heroic purple-shirted proletariat of the Service Employees International Union — that’s the SEIU to you, pal — to exercise their First Amendment right of peaceful assembly. And once again my heart soared at the sight of non-nomenklatura schmucks using your tax dollars in order to protest the capitalist system while being protected from the consequences of their First Amendment rights by the pigs of the LAPD, who are also supported by your tax dollars! Is this a great racket — er, country — or what?
Suddenly, I was struck with a flash of blinding insight, just like one of the characters in my own movies. You morons really don’t have a clue, do you? Even now, with victory in your grasp should you only choose to carpe the good ol’ diem, you’re floundering around, lurching like John Kerry from his medals to his magic hat. You go from cheering the fascist theocrat Beck at the Mall (while that woman I still hate, hate, hate beams on, a Mama Grizzly hunting for her next meal and looking at us like we’re 2012’s dinner) to wondering if the preternaturally tanned Ohioan, John Boehner, has the right stuff to be third in line to the throne of Emperor BHO II. You don’t know whether to cheer the ghost of *^%BUSH&^*&! or despise him, to welcome Mr. Newt back or to banish him to that ice floe whereon still dwells the spirit of Victor Frankenstein. In short, you can’t decide whether to write more chits to the U.S. Treasury or draw the blinds and wait for the end.
And that’s when I started typing in earnest. Not just one of these occasional and irregular pieces of drooling idiocy, my pearls before the swine of the vast right-wing conspiracy, but a real honest-to-Gaia book, even better than Paula Barbieri’s memoirs, if I do say so myself. Like Ulysses facing the Sirens, I lashed myself to the mast, eschewing the blandishments of Teix, Fat Fish, Giorgio Baldi’s, Tom Bergin’s, the thrill of my afternoon constitutional at the LAPD’s firing range in Elysian Park, and even my annual camping trip to Death Valley in order to finish it.
And you know what? I did!
Sure, there were plenty of difficulties along the way. I had to think the whole thing up, which even for an A-list screenwriter like myself wasn’t as easy as, say, writing the script for The Expendables. Then the hapless fool in my employ whom I call the Amanuensis — basically, the guy who types my stuff — went AWOL claiming he was “sick.” And finally the publisher imposed something on me I wasn’t used to: a “deadline,” which I didn’t like the sound of one bit, which meant that my date with Lindsay Lohan had to get postponed yet again — although I knew she would have canceled on me anyway. And so, less than a month from now, my little ditty will hit bookstores across this soon-to-be-formerly-great land of ours, from polluted sea to unsustainable shining sea. A tome so wicked, with advice so evil, that Alinsky’s dedicatee himself will blush with pride. A book dedicated to the proposition that Paradise Lost, The Screwtape Letters, Rules for Radicals, and random Rolling Stones songs can all coexist, if not in perfect harmony, then at least in joyous cacophony. It even has an introduction by my father, the sainted “Che” Kahane, so what’s not to like?
You know what I’m calling it, don’t you?
David Kahane’s Rules for Radical Conservatives. And yes, this time, it really is personal.
You have no idea how hard it is to type a whole book with your thumbs.
– David Kahane is proud to be published by Ballantine Books on September 28. He invites you all to browbeat him on Facebook or at [email protected]. Or not, as the case may be.