Friday, February 21, 2003

The Rob and Rekha Show

Rob Borsellino and his wife Rekha Basu are my two favorite columnists at the Des Moines Register. Both transplants from New York (Hey, I am TOO… by way of Minneapolis), they seem to want to do everything in their power to turn Des Moines into the Big Apple. They miss Manhattan it seems.

A couple of years back, presumably fed up with the great unwashed and being a couple of huge journalistic great whites in the cultural backwater of South-Central Iowa, the Borsellinos left for the greener, larger and presumably more lucrative pastures of south Florida. Within less than two years, they were back; praising Des Moines for its livability and the warmth of its people… please let us back into your newspaper and hearts… we made a mistake… it was a mid-life crisis. Then they promptly began writing Op-Ed pieces once again lecturing Des Moines’ residents about their Midwestern troglodyte ways.

Rob and Rekha are to Des Moines what the French and Germans are to the East European EU applicant nations. They are the great elite enlighteners. Be very quiet, listen and maybe you’ll learn something. Ah… Chirac and Schroeder on the banks of the Des Moines River.

I read their articles and want to scream: “I know what you’re doing. I lived in New York City and had to deal with ‘enlightened’ folks like you at cocktail parties. Stop trying to turn Des Moines into New York. I don’t want to live in New York!!! I want to live in Des Moines!!!”

Their columns are like Cliff Note versions of Utne Reader pieces. Droningly, unimaginatively Liberal, almost never insightful, persuasive only if you agree with them in the first place. Why can Iowans be more like folks on the East Coast? Why aren’t they more cosmopolitan? Why aren’t they more sensitive to the plights of minorities and women? Why can’t Des Moines be more of a big city… uh, just without all of the bad stuff? Why aren’t there more and more and more government programs? Why the love affair with guns… and fireworks? Yes… fireworks.

I remember the first Rekha Op-Ed piece that got me going. Four years ago or so, there was a group of inner city black kids riding in a car with A WHOLE LOT of fireworks in it. Somehow, the stash of explosives, well… exploded. The blast killed two of the riders and severely burned the third. How did this happen? It seems one of the kids in the car was launching bottle rockets or something from the vehicle. Rekha’s conclusion…? The behavior was stupid, dangerous and it was not that surprising that the accident happened? Oh no. All fireworks must be banned for private use. We can all watch fireworks displays, put on by safe, licensed pyrotechnicians. We are too stupid to have such dangerous things around. The government must outlaw them for our own good.

Straight up… I LOVE fireworks. I have two boys. They LOVE fireworks. I love to watch them shoot off fireworks. And, you know what…? Before I let them put match to their first smoke bomb, I talked to them about the DANGER of fireworks. “Boys…” I said, in my most stern and fatherly voice. “… fireworks are fun. But they are dangerous. They must be treated with respect and here are some ground rules…”. Hey, I’m a dad. That’s my job.

Rob and Rekha would no doubt be shocked to learn that I’m also teaching my boys how to shoot… oh noooooooooooo, Mr. Bill… guns. I own a 22 rifle and a couple of shotguns. Under my close supervision, my sons are learning gun safety and the joy of target shooting and hunting.

There is a practical reason that make fireworks are a good thing. Human beings SHOULD KNOW HOW TO SAFELY HANDLE THINGS THAT ARE DANGEROUS. Certain things should be treated with a great amount of respect. There is survival value in this. Pay attention, this could hurt you. It’s also (in a low whisper…) part of the fun.

Fireworks do not kill, Rekha. Recklessness and stupidity kill. And when you try to take everything dangerous out the hands of the general populace, what do you breed…? Stupidity and recklessness.

I can’t help but think that East Coast elitists, like their European counterparts, want nothing but a nice herd of docile cows – helpless, easily led. Like cows, we unwashed masses guys are clueless, we can’t be trusted to make our own decisions. All of the gumption must be bred out of us so that the “enlightened few” can easily lead us to domesticity… uh, I mean, the good life.

Chances are, you will be treated to more than a few of Rob and Rekha’s columns in the coming months. My goal is to dissect at least one a week. This is going to be fun.


Post a Comment

<< Home