Salon - Harry Shearer's Fifth Column
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 96 18:20:13 -0800
Subject: Salon - Harry Shearer's Fifth Column
[One nice thing about living in Los Angeles was the array of radio stations;
not least among them was KCRW, partly because of Harry Shearer's "Le Show"
which was produced there... -psl]
With liberty and cheap coke for all
I remember an acquaintance from the late 1960s, a radio newscaster who
believed that the FBI monitored and catalogued every broadcast he did
because he smoked grass and was against the Vietnam war. All of us who knew
him laughed behind his back, until it turned out that the FBI was monitoring
and cataloguing even more trivial material, like Roy Cohn's ring size.
That kind of revelation may now be in reruns. We may be living through
another Holiday for Paranoids. For years, the theory has gone around the
black community that the federal government foisted the crack cocaine
epidemic on African America. Suddenly, in the wake of a series in the San
Jose Mercury News alleging that CIA-backed Nicaraguans wholesaled crack to
finance arms for the contras, the story is being investigated by the big
papers, Congress and, of course, by the CIA itself.
Conspiracy fans point out that the two guys who first sold cut-rate cocaine
to a South Central L.A. dealer were contras, and that the contra army owed
as much to the CIA as the Melrose Place cast does to Aaron Spelling.
Hard-nosers observe that nothing so far proves the CIA knew about or
approved the crack dealing. The contras, let's recall, were called by Ronald
Reagan "the modern equivalent of America's founding fathers." So, in this
version of events, Jefferson not only would have owned slaves, he would have
sold them cheap coke.
Lovers of irony simply cherish the possibility that the same U.S.
government was running "Just Say No" on the white channel, and "Just Light
Up and Ruin Your Life" on the black channel.
I wish the CIA good luck in its investigation. This is an intelligence
agency that has in its time missed a few little things, like the collapse
of the Soviet economy and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, so these
agents need to be lucky as well as good. But if anyone can find the memos
in which some Agency director wrote on official CIA stationery, "Things to
do today: start crack epidemic," I know his fellow spooks can.
This is the same government whose armed forces injected their troops with
an experimental anti-chemical-weapon drug that now may turn out to cause
Gulf War Syndrome ailments which we will pay to treat. If that turns out to
be the case, the United States will go down in the record books as the first
country to have used chemical warfare on its own soldiers.
With this kind of vindication, the paranoids are probably buying drinks for
the people who are following them. Incidentally, they also say the feds are
responsible for AIDS. Note to investigators: start looking into
government-subsidized bathhouses, and covert CIA funding for Frankie Goes
Co-creator and co-star of "This is Spinal Tap," comedian Harry Shearer is
the voice of more than a dozen characters on "The Simpsons." He has been a
two-time cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and is the host of nationally
syndicated weekly radio broadcast "Le Show."
© 1996 Peter Langston