Baryshnikov was a ballerina, ma'am


I recently scored a ticket for the Concert for Kerry at Radio City Music Hall featuring Paul Newman, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Bon Jovi, Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and glittering others. Swanning up to the red-carpeted entrance, I waited as they passed the handheld terrorist detector over my body — and I screeched.

I very reluctantly permitted a magnificent NYPD representative of colour to frisk me. Then — perhaps a tad too quickly for my very-newly-acquired-security-consciousness — I suggested that there were areas of my person, which he had ignored, in which I could conceivably be concealing a Baryshnikov.

"Kalashnikov, ma’am. Baryshnikov was a ballerina," he replied firmly but flirtatiously.

Maybe my Manolo stilettos were starting to work.

It wasn’t until another similar security check at LA international airport that all became clear. This time it was my hand luggage that started screeching. The gold metal heel tips on those very same lime patent Manolos turned out to be the offending article.

"A dangerous item," according to a boring airport representative of pallor. Little did he know.

If my heels caused such concern, you can imagine how the recent demonstrations around the Republican Convention upset the security warlords. Almost two thousand ordinary men, women and juveniles protesting Bush policies were detained at a westside pier, some for up to sixty hours, in less-than-Club Med conditions — as Mayor Bloomberg admitted. (He also admitted he likes Club Med, but that’s another story). A spokesperson from the Corrective Officers’ Benevolent Association reminded them that they should "count their blessings" that they weren’t at Rikers Island with "the rats, the roaches, the mice, the alleged rapists and sodomists".

Meanwhile on the more salubrious upper west side, the "parents" of peace-loving dogs are doing some serious lobbying to have the"parents" of testier pets to be held legally responsible for fights which their pets begin. Clearly cable tv’s court channel is not going to be short of product for the next four years.

Especially if justice prevails. Bush’s Brain sounds like a cuisine minceur recipe, but it’s the latest "polemic" — as political documentaries are now called, if they pillory contemptible and despicable political behaviour.

Tightly based on the role of Karl Rove as George W’s puppeteer — sorry, aide — the doco sends horrifying messages about honesty, decency, truth and political oblivion. Bug your own office during a campaign, leak the story that your opposition is the perp, and sit back and watch the cards fall. Destroy many fine public lives and careers with fabrications so malevolent that their veracity is not questioned until after the damage is done. Dismiss independent evidence as erroneous and suspicious. Believe you are smarter than your opponents and competitors, and that accordingly your end justifies any of your means.

This is the Bush administration’s code of behaviour. It’s widely considered acceptable, and it’s coming to a country near you.

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