Probably everyone knows who Gumby is -- if nothing else, toys of the
malleable green tyke have become a mainstay for decorating cubicles. But
I'd hazard a guess that far more people have seen Eddie Murphy's
"Saturday Night Live" sketches that play Gumby as a cantankerous Borscht
Belt-era entertainer ("I am Gumby dammit!"), than have seen any of Art
Clokey's original animated shorts that brought the clay figure to life.
The Center for Puppetry Arts will raise Gumby awareness with a new museum exhibit called "Art Clokey's Gumby: The First 50
Years," which runs Aug. 4-March 4. The exhibit opens with a screening of
rare Gumby films and a Q&A with the Clokey family at 8 p.m Aug. 4.
I must confess that I have a different association with Gumby than the
Eddie Murphy sketch. On one of its final episodes, "Mystery Science
Theatre 3000" ran a running commentary of a Gumby cartoon called "Robot
Rumpus" -- you can see the MST3K version of the short on YouTube here.
In it, Gumby activates some robots to do his chores, but they go haywire
around the house, getting Gumby into hot water with his parents. At one
point Gumby's father Gumbo tries to stop a robot, goes sailing through
the air and crash-lands a-straddle the crook of a neighbor's rooftop.
(Ouch!) One of the MST3K guys says, in imitation of Gumbo's bubbly
voice, "Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!" For better or worse,
that always comes to mind whenever Gumby's a topic of conversation.
Link to Curt's blog here.
Those folks at the Georgia Republican Party are just so, um, Ralph Reed-ish. As in, smear-and-distort, Reed's favorite campaign tactic. Remember, these are the folks (despite their publicist, the AJC's Jim Wooten's recent obfuscation and denial) that pasted Osama's and Saddam's picture next to war hero Max Cleland's. That ad was on behalf of chickenhawk draft-dodger Saxby Chambliss.
Now they're doing it to Mark Taylor. Now, as we know, Taylor himself is no stranger to mud slinging. But a July 25 GOP release advances the cause of dirty politics far beyond Taylor's finest moments.
The release conjures up Cynthia McKinney to shoot down Taylor. He's a Democrat. She's a Democrat. They must be twins. (If I'd been writing the release, I'd have found a way to say, "Big Guy meets Big Mouth.")
"Will Cynthia McKinney be able to count on Mark Taylor's support?" the release hisses.
Of course, there's just a little tinge of hypocrisy in the release, but we are talking about the GOP. Would Gov. Sonny Perdue have supported the demonstrably corrupt Ralph Reed? Does the GOP stand behind Tom DeLay? Not even in her wildest antics has McKinney besmirched herself or her party as much as Reed, DeLay, Linda Schrenko and a host of others in the Republican cabal of corruption have done to their party.
The Atlanta Daily Newspaper of Declining Circulation and Creative Loafing disagree on many things. But, occasionally we find common ground.
For example, when a politician is a glaring ethical canker, it's not unusual that media pundits reach the same conclusion.
I'm speaking, canker-wise, of Bill Stephens, a Republican secretary of state candidate who, as we pointed out in our endorsements two weeks ago, received the largest individual fines in the history of the Georgia Ethics Commission. It should be a no-brainer to retire Stephens from politics.
Well, Stephens sends out a missive to supporters last week trying to pre-empt an Atlanta Journal-Constitution endorsement of his GOP primary opponent, the well-qualified and quite ethical Karen Handel.
The hallmark of a scoundrel is that, when cornered, he'll start waving a Bible and wrap himself in the flag. Which is what Stephens did. He groused: "There was no way that the AJC Editorial Staff would support a conservative former Senate Majority Leader who authored the Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage, co-sponsored the photo I.D. law and is endorsed by Georgia Right to Life."
And then Stephens turned his rather flaccid cannons on us, writing: "Let's not forget that the radical counter-culture tabloid Creative Loafing, a publication that consistently advocates liberal stances, also recently endorsed Fulton County Commissioner Handel while lambasting my unapologetically conservative record."
Oh, woe. I'm not too sure what "radical counter-culture" means three or so decades after the phrase was in vogue. We have, after all, endorsed many Republicans, including Sonny Perdue (in the 2002 GOP primary). And while true extremists such as Stephens think they can cause the masses to go brain-dead by intoning "liberal," it's a tactic that is increasingly impotent.
Moreover, note that among Stephens' claimed achievements, there is nothing that actually did anything to help Georgians. Gays weren't getting married, so his amendment was at best superfluous and at worst a giant waste of time and money. The photo ID law has run afoul of the courts, and was authored by a clearly racist colleague of Stephens'.
And being endorsed by the Christian Coalition of Ralph Reed? Its initials better stand for Culture of Corruption.
By the way, our endorsement did not lambaste Stephens' "conservative" record. We only pointed out the hypocrisy of a guy authoring a "sanctity of marriage" law even though his ex-wife told the media she divorced him because of sexual infidelity.
Posted by John F. Sugg
Will Martin, the communications manager for Jim Martin, sends this along:
"We've learned about a last-minute dirty trick in our race. It's a telephone call with a caricature of a gay man's voice. We've heard from supporters around the state who've received the call.
The call purports to be from our campaign, which it is not. The call claims that Jim supports gay marriage. Jim's personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman.
I'll let you be the judge of (a) who has the resources to send these calls statewide and (b) who engages in these sort of tactics. We're outraged by this desperate, last minute dirty trick. Scapegoating gay and lesbian Georgians for political gain is wrong.
The politics of personal destruction and hate are the politics of Ralph Reed and his cohorts and do not have a place in the Democratic primary. You can't beat Ralph Reed by being Ralph Reed.
This act appears to be one of several by one of our opponents that reveals that he lacks the leadership and the integrity necessary to lead our state."
Do you think Hecht is doing this or someone else? Leave us your thoughts.
Posted by Alyssa Abkowitz
For fans of fun, silly theater, the good news is that Lawrenceburg, Travis Sharp's anti-Wal-Mart comedy that spoofs both Star Wars and "The Dukes of Hazzard," has extended its run at Dad's Garage Top Shelf from July 15 to July 22. The shocking revelation about the world premiere production is that somehow, director Freddie Ashley had never seen the original Star Wars -- nor any of the other films in George Lucas' trilogy except for the worst one, The Phantom Menace.
How did 33-year-old Ashley miss out on such a pop-culture generational touchstone? "The original was released when I was four years old. It was not something my parents were really into, so it just kind of passed me by. By the time The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi rolled around, I just didn't give a fuck."
Ashley did watch Star Wars as part of his preparation for directing Lawrenceburg, and reports, "I know that Star Wars has been mythologized in pop culture but I just find it cheesy and kind of bad. The play does do a terrific job of parodying the plot and characters, and its cleverness won me over, even if the source material didn't." Despite such sentiments worthy of the dark side of the force, Lawrenceburg proves a hoot for most audiences, be they apprentice Jedi or Sith. (Creative Loafing's review appears here.)
Photo: Travis Sharp, Eve Krueger and John Benzinger ham it up in Lawrenceburg.
Photo courtesy Linnea Frye
Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes has endorsed Democratic lieutenant governor hopeful Jim Martin. In a radio announcement starting today, Barnes acknowledges Martin's efforts in the state House to push PeachCare and adequate health care for senior citizens. He adds, "The truth is that no other candidate for lieutenant governor has a record of leadership and accomplishment or shares our values more than Jim Martin."
Martin's last-minute media blitz may help him attract more voters. His primary opponent, Greg Hecht, has been airing TV ads for a month now. Strategic Vision, a Republican polling firm, asked Democrats who they would vote for in their latest poll and Martin leads Hecht, 29 percent to 24 percent. Surprisingly, the other major Democratic hopeful, Steen Miles, garnered 20 percent in that poll. Needless to say, it's going to be a tight race.
Posted by Alyssa Abkowitz
Are there two Georgias: Atlanta and the rest of Georgia? Never really gave this much credence. Still, the recent political climate and the fact that I hear political chatter on a daily basis gave me cause to pause -- figuratively, not literally -- during a recent road trip to Savannah.
Riding down Interstate 16, some towns appeared bleak and desolate. A few places looked as if they had once been corn or wheat fields, but are now barren; pretty much like they have been abandoned. It was creepy.
Once in Savannah, there were quite a few campaign posters and billboards. Two candidates, running in two separate races -- one black, one white -- are well represented in the poorer neighborhoods, near the beach and along Liberty Street. Where were the signs for the others? Are these two candidates the only ones who care about the working class and people struggling to "make a dollar out of fifteen cents?" One might say I was looking in the wrong places; I was on vacation, I wasn't really looking anyway.
I continued to look for signs of proof that Georgia is "one state 'under a groove.'" I walked around downtown Savannah for a while, almost four hours. The small shops, cafes and boutiques were quite appealing; I kept thinking Savannah would be a great place to live.
Still, I did not see what is so common in Atlanta: white-collar blacks. Almost every brown person I saw had on a uniform of some sort. No suit & tie, or neat Donna Karan outfit. Mostly all were domesticates or in some type of civil service position that is clearly non-management or requires physical labor.
I cannot confirm or deny if there are "two Georgias." However, I do know that what I saw was very separate and not equal.
Posted by Sonia Clark
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