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Freedom bread 

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All right kids, it’s been a slow news week, or maybe it was a busy news week, I’m not sure since I ate what I thought was a blue skittle I found on the bathroom floor at Marston’s and everything’s been Godzilla-sized Peeps battling to alternately destroy and save Kansas City from one another. The point is: You’re gonna have to help me out if you want your weekly allowance of vitriol.

Show of hands: Does anyone know someone famous I can interview? Better yet, does anyone know the wife of someone infamous? Y’know, someone I can shoot the breeze with, talking about her husband’s favorite movies, how much he enjoys date night, and completely gloss over the fact that she’s also a human being with accomplishments and, of course, the fact that her husband is a wildly unpopular hypocrite who helped shut down the government? No? Gee, I thought that would make a great column.

I mean, it’s not actual news, as much as I love those “my second-cousin’s-lemur’s-mom-knows-a-pop-star-who-once-chewed-bubblegum-made-in-SLO” stories that tickle my funny bone. So when I saw that The Trib wrote a story titled “Heidi Nelson Cruz’s San Luis Obispo roots shaped her career, marriage to Tea Party darling” I just figured the Onion had finally caved to my years of petitions and acquired the local daily. 

And who wouldn’t love an opportunity to interview the wife of Ted Cruz? My first and only question: Does your husband have any particular fetishes in the bedroom? I ask not out of professional curiosity, but because I’m hoping she’ll reveal that the co-architect of the government shutdown likes to be pistol whipped and I can volunteer to do the honors on her behalf this Friday night. Of course, the fact that the Trib was more interested in talking about Cruz’s downtime—dude loves Princess Bride, who knew?—is cool, too. I guess. The fact that the Texas senator’s taste in movies got more play than the fact that Heidi earned an MBA from Harvard is pretty inconceivable. I mean, we can pretend an article about Heidi Nelson Cruz’s San Luis Obispo roots is grounded in a legitimate interest in, well, Heidi, but that’s a pretty flimsy pretense for “hey, someone who once lived here is married to someone important. OMG, girls! Play your cards right and you might also one day be married to an important politician who likes a beloved Rob Reiner-directed cult flick.”

Of course, what the story lacked in information about or interest in its professed subject, it made up for in intense and prolonged interest in Heidi’s pastime: baking bread. Apparently, baking bread as a child is a greater point of interest than the aforementioned pesky MBA from Harvard. Know why? Because the bread was baked in San Luis Obispo, and by local daily newspaper standards, an uninteresting fact loosely tied to San Luis Obispo is more newsworthy than something legitimately interesting that took place somewhere else. So we’re left reading about how one of the head honchos at Goldman Sachs used to bake bread. And that’s officially the most times the word “bread” has ever appeared in a single column of mine.

But the real shocker—I would say disappointment, but that would imply that I was expecting the writer to actually ask some tough but fair questions—is the fact that the article opted to tiptoe around the fact that its real subject—not Heidi, but her husband—was the co-architect of a wildly unpopular government shutdown that cost the economy millions of dollars. And that this same guy shut down the government to protest a bill that makes health-care coverage more affordable to the vast majority of Americans. And since we haven’t quite harped on the level of hypocrisy, which we can’t quantify because we don’t yet have the technology to count that high, let me say this: The man who fought so hard against the Affordable Care Act has more than $20,000 worth of insurance annually through his wife’s health-care plan with Goldman Sachs. The same Goldman Sachs that received $12.9 billion in taxpayer bailouts after the banks wrecked the economy. You’d think a staunch opponent of government anything wouldn’t want his crown filled with money from a company that’s had its filthy, gold-encrusted paws all over taxpayer money. But I guess Cruz’s values only extend to trying to deny other people health care.

But the Trib doesn’t seem to recognize this irony. Not in a story about a Tea Party darling who’s a gosh-darned swell guy. And bread, for some reason, of course.

And in the Trib’s defense, they do latch onto an incredibly poignant story about Heidi’s willingness to liquidate her and her husband’s $1.2 million in savings to help him get elected to the Senate. Of course, that terribly sweet sacrifice on her part makes it brutally clear that we’re not exactly talking about underdogs from the wrong side of the tracks here. For some reason, tales of the rich pulling themselves up by the straps of their $1.2 million in assets to help themselves become even more rich and powerful has never been the stuff of heartwarming novels or movies. And I, for one, can’t imagine why not.

Now we can’t bring up the subject of the senator’s hypocrisy without also mentioning that he was one of the Tea Partiers who gathered to protest the closure of a World War II monument—apparently all those programs that help parents feed their kids didn’t really tug on the ol’ heartstrings—despite being one of the people who helped close the memorial. The more I think about it, I’m wondering if Heidi’s suffering from some sort of disease that’s caused by inhaling too much yeast as a child, rendering her incapable of adequately judging a person’s character. But hey, enough about her husband’s hypocrisy and the damage he’s leveled against the government and economy, let’s talk about bread instead! Do you favor sourdough, Mrs. Cruz, or French? I’m sorry, should I call the latter Freedom Bread?

 

Shredder’s embarrassed on behalf of others. Send garments to hide Shredder’s shame to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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