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New Times / Shredder

The following article was posted on April 24th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 39

Cue laugh track

You really can’t beat sitcom shtick. The husband always forgets to take out the trash. The wife knows best. Junior has two dates to the spring fling. Life lessons abound. Everyone’s well-intentioned, dull, and just the slightest bit racist, sexist, and homophobic. Hey, that’s America! Appeal to the lowest common denominator and you can’t go wrong. Hell, we don’t even know the meaning of the word “denominator” and we couldn’t be prouder. Really, though, when did kids in Zimbabwe start scoring higher than us on math and science tests? Who cares? All we need to know about science we learned by watching Jurassic Park!

It really is regrettable that life is actually nothing like a sitcom. Say you’re sitting in a Morro Bay City Council meeting, listening to yet another discussion about budgets. (When did everyone become so budget obsessed? And why can’t Timmy just get a job delivering newspapers to help the city make ends meet?) Why can’t a city councilman say something profoundly inappropriate, and offer a guilty smirk and apologize after another city councilman calls him out with a father-knows-best-inspired “George!” while the audience at the meeting chuckles at the antics?

Actually, that happened a little more than a month ago. Morro Bay Councilman George Leage took the opportunity to encourage the audience at a city council meeting to pay a visit to his newly opened sushi restaurant, Off the Hook. Mayor Jamie Irons had to play the role of Dad, issuing a warning by uttering George’s name before Leage apologized for his brazen transformation from public servant into advertising shill by playing off the incident as a slip of the tongue.

And maybe it was. Maybe after only 2 1/2 years of serving as a councilman Leage really doesn’t understand the rules of the game. Or maybe he just figured it was better to shill first and apologize later. Maybe he figured a smirk and quick apology was all it would take to get him off the hook.

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. See what I did there? I knew I was making a bad pun, but I figured I’d just do it anyway and then offer a half-hearted apology later. We all know I’d do it again. Hell, I fully plan on making another bad off-the-hook pun before I’m even finished writing this column. And I’ll probably offer another half-hearted apology. But I’m not a city councilthing, so my mediocrity isn’t on trial—thankfully!

See, I’m feeling kinda emotionally tapped after the frenzy of national and international disasters, threats, shenanigans, rhetoric, and just plain dumbassery recently. Rounding up local goons and banging their heads together for the usual tomfoolery just isn’t raising goosebumps in all the wrong places this week, if you know what I mean. But performing one’s duty isn’t always pasties and pie, and someone has to keep the local goons honest, so I will soldier on with my half-hearted sitcom theme.

Which brings me to the whole blatantly sexist, homophobic, and racist aspect of sitcoms. Father knows best. Mother stays at home and cooks—when she’s not busting dad’s balls for forgetting their anniversary, of course. And minorities are sidekick buddies, if they exist at all. Sadly, this mentality isn’t limited to sitcoms.

The Templeton-based North County Indians—a semi-professional baseball team you might not have heard about because, well, they’re a semi-professional baseball team and we have the Giants to root for—is gearing up to start its first full season. When I first heard they were called the Indians, I got super excited because I’d never heard of a sports team that was named after a country—besides the fighting Irish, but who cares about them? Then I realized that the North County Indians are not, in fact, named after a country. They’re named after a mistake, and a pretty big mistake as far as whoopsie-daisies go. You see, the baseball team is meant to refer to Native Americans, but instead of just using the proper term, they decided to embrace ignorance and stereotypes and go with the misnomer “Indians.” Because if the Redskins can get away with that level of insensitivity, why not go for it?

In the spirit of misinformation and flipping the bird to the rainbow flag of diversity and tolerance, I’ve taken the liberty of creating names for potential sports teams that might one day call the Central Coast home. Feel free to dust them off and tack ’em on a jersey should the opportunity arise.

Nipomo Fighting Cocks. Because apparently this unincorporated community was collectively asleep when the Michael Vicks scandal went down several years back.

Pismo Beach Valley Fever. Honestly, I’ve never seen so many bad tattoos, sleeveless tees, and backward hats assembled in a single place.

Atascadero Mad Hatters. If we can stereotype and try to profit from this country’s indigenous peoples, why not the criminally insane?

Paso Robles Holy Rollers. Y’know, on account of the city’s ability to turn water into wine. If only they could turn it back now that they’re ark-deep in the purple juice and can’t find enough water to support the development they already have, much less the development they want.

Cambria … awww, who are we kidding? Everyone in Cambria is too old for organized sports. They’re so old they don’t even understand the term off the hook. There. I made a bad off-the-hook joke and insulted old people. Are you happy?

Speaking of happy, SLO already has the SLO Blues, which doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, but at least it’s not racist and ignorant. Still, I propose SLO Hos as a nod to the thriving nightlife. Also, it rhymes.

Shredder can be reached at shredder@newtimesslo.com.