Enemy of the Week

When All Is Sarandon

Not everyone will sign on to this inspection plan.

9.20.02

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A sure way to pass inspection is to make sure nothing gets inspected -- just the sort of inspection regime the nosy eyes at Enemy Central won't hear of. It begins in our barracks, where shoes shine like the sun and beds are made to double as trampolines. Under our command even Bob Greene would get away with nothing, since we'd be extra sure to search under his toupee, a favorite hiding place for his flim-flam. Behavioral scientists in our labs, meanwhile, still can't explain how Greene's furry rug doubles as an aphrodisiac. And the Bush administration isn't helping by cutting funding for that research.

Sadder still, Bob Greene's isn't the real victim of this new outbreak of Bill Clinton's disease. That would have to be Billy boy himself, whose chances of landing a newspaper column slot are now deader than the likelihood he'll replace (or return to) David Letterman anytime this century. Once again, though, Bill's been bailed out by his wife, who penned an op-ed column for today's New York Times in which, with a straight face, she frowns at "corporate irresponsibility and illegality." Not that anyone much cares what she thinks, unless it's to find out how she reacted to People magazine's photo of her daughter. When all is said and done, the mother will always wear the proverbial toupee in that family.

The Hollywood product of another odd marital setup visited the Senate this week to call for renewed welfare dependence and poverty in America. Tim Robbins is this actor's name, but he's really a kind of momma's boy better known as Mr. Susan Sarandon. Tim's real worry, lest he get into trouble at home, proved to be Iraq, or more precisely what the U.S. is planning to do with Iraq. In remarks to the Washington Post, he criticized the administration's belief that "we can do whatever the hell we want regardless of what the Europeans, the Chinese or the South Americans think." The South Americans? We assume he meant to say "the Guantanamans."

In any case, the administration does care what the Europeans think. For instance, it displayed a lot of hurt when Germany's Janet Reno, big Herta Daeubler-Gmelin (unscrambled and translated into English that double-last name mysteriously sounds like Rodham-Clinton), compared our clean shaven president to Adolf Hitler. Her boss, Gerhard Schroeder, denied that was her intention; for once plausible deniability makes sense, since everyone knows it's Schroeder who is trying to divert attention from his domestic troubles by vilifying U.S. policy.

Another set of grown men dependent on Susan Sarandon for its views, the American Catholic bishops, has chosen Tim Robbins as its honorary altar boy. According to John Ebsen, our agent in Van Horne, Iowa, last Tuesday this clerical collective "cautioned President Bush about attacking Saddam Hussein." Asks Mr. Ebsen: "If they can't rid their church of pedophiles, why should we look to them for advice on how to rid the world of Saddam Hussein?" Maybe it's because Sodom sounds too much like Saddam.

For guidance we can all turn to "A Statement of Conscience," which Ms. Sarandon signed on to in a full-page spread in Thursday's New York Times. She joined some 600 signers -- though, disturbingly, not her husband, even though the list saw Jane Fonda reunited with Tom Hayden -- to decry U.S. (and Israeli) anti-terrorist policy since 9/11. All the usual suspects are there: Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Gore Vidal, Angela Davis, Ossie Davis, Ed Asner, Robert Altman, Haskell Wexler, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Said, not to overlook Hillary's ex-guru Rabbi Michael Lerner and Gloria Steinem.

"Let is not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression," their statement begins. How sad, then, that the repression extends to the signatories themselves, thus underscoring the growing rift even on the left between haves and havenots, rich and poor, famous and obscure. Of the 600 or so printed signatures, a sixth or so appear in large bold faced print. The remaining 500 show up in much smaller, indistinct typescript. There's even a hint of commercialization, as when Ben Cohen gets to be identified, in boldface, as "CO-FOUNDER, BEN & JERRY'S," while the distinguished liberal journalist James Traub, among the little signers, doesn't even get identified as a frequent contributor to the New York Times. Why was the writer Dore Ashton dissed? The great actor Edward Herman? The famous sculptor Krzysztof Wodiczko?

Regardless we've met our enemies, and it ain't us. True, we're all God's children, but this week's winners would probably prefer to be known as Osama's godchildren, even if a great many of them are old enough to be his godfather. How long before their 600 John Hancocks appear on a get-well card to Uncle Saddam?

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