January 06, 2003

Oooh, Let's Fear the Wrath

Oooh, Let's Fear the Wrath of Ventura

I'll admit it, I voted for Jesse Ventura. And I'm sorry. How was I to know?

Well, Jesse is gone, taking his feather boas with him, no doubt gearing up for a civilian life that will include all manner of attempts to inflate his already gargantuan ego. I'm not particularly sorry to see him go. Although he definitely put Minnesota on the map in a DD cup bra sort of way, his antics by and large were so monumentally self-serving and ultimately non-sensical, he left most Minnesotans shaking their heads saying, "Yah, he's a pretty odd governor, you betcha."

More than anything else, I took his constant media bashing personally, primarily because I'm a journalist by trade. When he called reporters "jackals," I couldn't help but feel the red glow of anger flush on my cheeks. Granted, he was mostly referring to those assigned to the state government beat, but I was guilty by association, a jackal on the fringe.

I don't disagree that there are a lot of unscrupulous journalists out there and, particularly in some of the local news outlets, lazy and sloppy journalism is rampant, but overall the media has a Democratic obligation and a right to investigate and report on what it can. Granted, reporting on the eating habits of Julia Roberts may seem pretty insignificant and useless, but reporters wouldn't be out there reporting on it if there weren't readers out there thirsting for the info. The media may be a big beast, but the whims and wishes of the public dictate where the beast goes. Well, for the most part.

The point is, the media made Governor Ventura. If it weren't for the media covering the hulking mound of flesh and his bid for the governorship, he never would have been elected. Instead, we would have had everybody's favorite lazy grandpa (Skip Humphrey) or Mayor Quimby (Norm Coleman) at the helm for the past four years. You would expect a little gratitude on the part of "The Mind," but it was not to be.

Jesse just doesn't get it. He wants the fame without the notoriety. He wants adoration and praise and an adoring public chanting his name as he executes a flawless scissor kick from the top ropes of the wrestling ring. He treated the Minnesota governorship as his own personal WWF Raw Smackdown buffoon stage. We elected him to lead and he promptly did an interview for Playboy, where he made comments that were pretty much intended to piss off as many people as possible. He followed that up with some late show appearances where he insulted the Irish. He followed that up with a return to the world of professional wrestling as an announcer. He followed that up with a stint as an announcer for the horrid XFL. And we're somehow jackals for following the freak show around and reporting his exploits? Give me a break. I mean really.

Sadly, we're still stuck with Ventura in our own little way, as he has promised to be a watchdog over the media now that he's out of office. Oh, goody.

He pointed out that his 72nd and final judicial appointee, Terrence Walters of Rochester, had been an unsuccessful finalist for the bench several times before, and he likened him to a Navy sailor who vomited while doggedly trying to qualify for frogman duty.

Gee, that sounds like just the kind of man I want sitting on a judicial bench.

He also said he expects to have no future role in public affairs except as a voter. "I'd rather critique the media," he added, "because no one does that, and I think someone should. As of Monday, you will fear me."

I know I'm shaking in my Sketchers. Excuse me, but "no one" critiques the media? I think a quick perusal of the Letters to the Editor section of any newspaper worth its ink will refute that statement outright. The public is the most outspoken collective critic of the media. The last thing the public needs is a blowhole like Ventura leading the charge.

Regarding his send-off tribute last weekend, The invitation reads: "Come dressed as you like . . . from formal to outrageous. Feast on fabulous traditional Heartland Fare; Enjoy your favorite cocktails; Sample fine cigars at the cigar bar; Hear remarks from guest speakers. Rub elbows with local and national celebrities. Join us in a champagne toast and dance the night away." A disclaimer warns: "no cameras -- no autographs -- no media jackals!"

Let's see, "local and national celebrities." Yes, it's quite obvious Jesse was treated pretty shabbily by the media if he can entice local and national celebrities to sup at his going away bash. Must be rough, Guv. Sorry for being so hard on you.

"I'm looking forward to going back into private life," he said. "God bless everyone, and good luck in the future."

Except for us jackals, right Jesse?

Posted by Ryan at January 6, 2003 04:42 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!