SUN., JAN. 18, 2004
Sincere, earnest, well-meaning people almost always deserve a swift kick in the ass – if only because they’re showing up everybody else. That in and of itself is pretty obnoxious social behavior. Very few people are as irritating as someone with an agenda and no sense of humor about it. Politicians are the worst. Take Howard Dean for instance: Never has there been a Democratic presidential front-runner more in need of a colonic irrigation since … well … Al Gore. Fortunately Al received an electoral enema in 2000 courtesy of Georgie Junior and ever since has been on a wild-eyed hippie spirit quest that has proven to be a quantum leap in Gore’s personal development. Now that he’s condemned to walk the Earth like Cain, all bets are off. These days Gore is genuinely engaging, with a sense of humor nearly worthy of his Harvard degree. No more superficial hand gestures, eighth-grade vocabulary, or artificial empathy with the plight of the downtrodden. The new Al Gore casts a tight net, and if you don’t get it, there’s another honorarium waiting down the road. Someday Howard Dean might plug into that sort of peace of mind and hopefully it won’t be after he’s already lost the election. George Bernard Shaw once said, “It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.” Unquestionably the president has both covered nicely. If Dean is as smart as he is earnest, he will unknit his eyebrows and discover that America still has a sense of humor. Sometimes the truth is easier to swallow when leavened with wit, and right now very few politicians are delivering the goods. For that reason, Texas is blessed to be served by The Texas Observer, a local biweekly devoted to reporting on issues ignored by the mainstream press and politicians alike. For years the Observer has turned out great writing and writers, winning numerous awards and becoming one of the most respected publications of its kind in the nation. This weekend, the Observer will be hosting its Third Annual Rabble-Rouser Roundup & Fat Cat Schmoozefest, a yearly fundraiser hosted by Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower featuring great music by local Austin artists. This year’s formidable lineup includes Joe Ely and David Grissom, Lloyd Maines (yes, that’s Bush-bashin’ Natty’s daddy), Jimmy Pettit, Davis McClarty, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Colin Gilmore, Terri Hendrix, and Grupo Fantasma. The show is $20 in advance and $25 at the door and for an extra 50 you can drink with Jim, Molly, and other Texas Observer writers, editors, and staff at the preshow Schmoozefest from 6 to 7pm. You could probably drink with Jim and Molly for less somewhere else, but then you wouldn’t be a fat cat, would you?