October 9, 2004
Won't You Be My GOP Neighbor?
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
The Public Broadcasting System is currying favor with the Bush administration faster than Count Von Count can count to ten. New series this Fall include one starring bow-tied right-winger Tucker Carlson and another with the ultra-conservative editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. This uncharacteristically GOP-friendly programming for the network is like letting Fox News guard the henhouse. Here are some revamped versions of long-running PBS shows that could start running any day now.
SESAME ESPLANADE --- A mere street just won't do anymore. This multi-million dollar development will make sure that the rent-controlled brownstone buildings become gentrified condos and Hooper's Store will be replaced by a Wal-Mart. The work at Maria's mail store has been outsourced and is now being handled by plucky homeless kids in India. Despite budget cutbacks, the Sesame Esplanade's board of directors have made assurances that no Muppet will be left behind.
MISTER ROGERS' GATED COMMUNITY --- It's always a beautiful day in this neighborhood because impoverished minorities are never around. Speedy Delivery Man Mr. McFeely (who's been handsomely bought out by FedEx) can now relax. Every day, he has time to play Mr. Rogers a tape on Picture-Picture, like one that shows how Texas redistricting is trying to make it impossible for Democrats to ever take back the House and Senate. ("Can you say gerrymandering?") King Friday dumps frumpy Queen Sarah Saturday and introduces the cast to his implanted hottie trophy wife, Queen Shauna Saturday Night.
SKIMMING RAINBOW --- Hosted by President Bush, this program teaches that no book (except the Bible) needs to have every word read. He suggests that skimming is an acceptable solution to the burden of reading, as is asking your personal assistant to read stuff for you and tell you the good parts. President Bush warns children that when they get to college, buying school papers is wrong. They should find ways to get them for free, like exchanging them for sweaters or golf clubs. Each show ends with Librarian In Chief Laura Bush sailing in to shush her mischievous husband and remind the youngsters that reading is fun, but so is throwing the book at Democrats.
THIS OLD SECURE, UNDISCLOSED LOCATION --- Without revealing his exact whereabouts, Vice President Dick Cheney gives weekly tours of his various hiding places all over America. He discusses how living in underground facilities makes it tricky to get decent take-out. Cheney has helpful subterranean decorating tips, i.e. how large mirrors, ceiling fans and throw rugs can make the most cramped, poorly lit bomb shelter seem as spacious as a Kennebunkport guest house. A highlight is Cheney and wife Lynn illegally listening in to a phone call between Michael Moore and Rob Reiner. The irrepressible Vice President occasionally blurts out, "Hey Meathead!" to the apparent consternation of Mr. Reiner.
AMERICA'S NUCLEAR TEST KITCHEN --- In a festive red apron, new host Paul Wolfowitz demonstrates military weaponry that could intentionally (or accidentally) be launched and annihilate pretty much anybody on the face of the Earth. On the first show, correspondent Condi Rice reminds viewers how she didn't want "the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" and then whips up some tasty mushroom soup.
THE GOOD NEWS HOUR --- To heck with the separation of church and state. This is in-your-face, faith-based national news. See ya, Jim Lehrer. Hiya, Jerry Falwell. The reverend will regularly focus on topics such as how Jews (like gays) can be converted and how the Supreme Being wants to make sure his peeps are on the Supreme Court. The engaging theme song is Debbie Harry's classic hit "Rapture," now sung by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
CRAWFORD CITY LIMITS --- Adios, Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen and Linda Ronstadt. This Texas-based music broadcast will only feature right-winger singers like Toby Keith, Darryl Whorley and any available Gatlin brother. But don't count on seeing GOP pop tart, Britney Spears, after that tonsil hockey session with Madonna. Even Crawford has its limits.
"ARTHUR" ANDERSON --- The brainy anteater with trademark round glasses and a yellow sweater tries to rebuild his accounting conglomerate, which was wrongly assailed by Liberals and other Commies. As the series progresses, rulings by Bush-appointed activist judges also enable the spunky Arthur to revive Enron, his accounting firm's biggest and most notorious client. Former Enron head Ken Lay appears as a friendly substitute teacher with some wise lessons about the importance of perseverance, honesty and occasionally locking employees out of their 401(K) retirement plans.
If your politics trope to the Right, you have a lot to look forward to. But if they lean to the Left, you may fear that your beloved PBS is going to Zell in a hand basket.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
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