Opinion » The Rant

The Rant



I know the world has recently lost

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Karl Malden,

Billy Mays, and some other iconic figures, but for now, let us please have

a moment of silence for Gidget, the adorable little Chihuahua who won the hearts of Taco Bell and animal

lovers for several years with a television commercial where she simply uttered the words "Yo quiero Taco Bell."

Well, of course, Gidget didn't actually utter the words; that was done by an Argentine actor. But it sure looked like Gidget was saying "I want Taco Bell" in Spanish and, despite the controversy it generated among some camps about Latino stereotyping, that was one cute dog and one cute commercial. It probably even caused me to eat more than my fair share of the guilty-pleasure fast food. That was also one rich dog. I had no idea, until her death, that Taco Bell was forced to pay the creators of the pooch character and the commercial $42 million for not properly compensating them. That's a big batch of burritos.

But it was a good commercial and not an assault on the senses, like most of them tend to be because they lie about the product they are advertising. Except for, of course, the Stanley Steamer commercial in which the dog Toby does that thing dogs do when they scoot across the floor wiping their rectum on whatever floor covering is there — in this case carpet — and the woman lets out that bloodcurdling scream, "Tobbbyyyyyyyyyyy!" It is always the highlight of my day when I see it, and I laugh out loud.

I mention all of this because these two commercials have been such a relief from so many other frustrating things that they merit props. Just this morning, I saw a headline that read, "Massa not in danger amid eye wound fears," and I thought maybe Trent Lott had been shot in the eye by Dick Cheney. Turns out it was about race-car driver Felipe Massa and his recent car crash. I hope he is okay. I have no idea who he is, but I hope he's okay.

And then there's ol' Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead Sarah Palin, who finally vacated her seat as governor of Alaska so she can spend her days tweeting about God knows what. I do hate to give her ink here, but I have to admit I am fascinated by Palin. I've never been to Alaska (although I would love to go) so I don't really know what it's like, but I wonder if everyone there is like a character from Roseanne, the way she and her family seem to be. She can't be completely stupid. After all, she did do the job of a state governor, which means you have to be able to read and add and subtract and memorize speeches. But she showed during her vice-presidential campaign that a genius she is not. In a very sick and twisted kind of morbid-curiosity-induced way, I would like to meet her and hang out with her and her family for a day or two. Some years back, I spent some time with some distant relatives who live out in the country in northwest Tennessee. They were all — even the toddlers — wearing camouflage clothing and eating a stew made out of the various animals they had recently killed. The males in the bunch were drinking tall canned beers and urinating in the yard and having a field day with it. Yes, these are blood relatives of mine. They were sweet and all, though, and welcomed me with open arms.

I wonder if a day at the Palin place might be a little like this. I wonder if their home is where Alaskans are supposed to bring the freshly severed leg of a wolf to collect the $150 she promised them. Wolf-leg stew for Sunday dinner? And I like Levi Johnston, Bristol's ex-boyfriend, who has gone out on his own talk-show circuit, telling everyone that fame and fortune have gone to Palin's head and instead of doing what's best for Alaska, she is going to cash in on that and follow money that's much bigger than a governor's salary. He has a certain crude but affable air about him, and I think there might be a little more going on upstairs with him than just being a goofy hockey hunk who knocked up the governor's daughter and landed in the limelight. Look for more from Levi.

All of that said, I wish Palin and her family and Levi the best of luck. Maybe she will get a talk show and ask really inane, obnoxious questions to really inane, obnoxious people, and we can all get some sick pleasure out of it. I just hope that if they stay in Alaska, there are no Chihuahuas at risk. Losing Gidget was bad enough. Having a population of them with freshly severed legs would be too much to bear.

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