Premiere issue Autumn 2002

The Smoking Section

No one is more reviled, more punitively exiled in today's newly sensitive world than smokers. And so Turbula proudly takes a seat in the smoking section — inhaling all those wonderful, forbidden ideas; tasting of the many prohibited politics; taking samples of all the sensual delights that cause our modern-day temperance unions to scowl ...

It's time to get back to hating New York

Even from 3,000 miles away, we're growing increasingly dismayed by the ongoing efforts to love New York. And the efforts to love New Yorkers are positively nauseating.

Forget the maudlin anniversaries, the tribute CDs full of tear-jerking anthems, the constant fund-raisers featuring New York firefighters and cops with quivering lips.

The best thing we can do to help New Yorkers get over 9/11 is to go back to hating them.

Before last Sept. 11, nobody in the United States who wasn't born there or living there could stand the place. New York City was like having our own version of Paris — a big city full of loud, smelly people who talked funny and behaved worse.

New York CityThe weird thing is, the more the rest of the country hated New York, the more New Yorkers liked it. When we hate them, it only reinforces their belief that they are better than the rest of us — that we only mock them out of jealousy and envy. That New York is the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps, the greatest town in the world.

Who knows — perhaps they're right. Maybe they really are better than the rest of us.

But whether they are or not, it clearly makes them happier to think they are. And as long as we're nice to them, they're secretly worried. They wonder if maybe they aren't growing rather, well, soft. Boring. More like us.

See, the thing is, New Yorkers are only nice to people they pity. So when the rest of us are nice to them, they take it all wrong. It jars their entire world off its axis.

Truth is, New Yorkers aren't like the rest of us — don't even understand us. This whole Lake Wobegon thing Garrison Keillor does on the radio goes right past them — why would people be nice like that for no reason? It makes no sense in the New York worldview.

No, we're doing them no favors with this warm and fuzzy national group hug.

Look, the entire country realizes that New York was targeted by the lunatics precisely because it's seen as a symbol of our nation. We'll never forget how New York took it on the chin for the rest of us.

But enough of this making nice already — let's send their cops and firefighters home where they're needed, and get back to the All-American business of making fun of their cab drivers, their crime, and most of all, their losing sports teams.

It's what they want ...

The last American stud

It's not often that we get choked up, but the announcement that retired Air Force Gen. Chuck Yeager will be turning in his military flight card has some in the Turbula hangar annex reaching for their hankies.

Yeager is undoubtedly the last combat pilot from World War II still flying active-duty military aircraft. He first flew in 1942 as a snot-nosed19-year-old kid — shot down two Germans, too, before getting shot down himself over occupied France.

He escaped to friendly territory, of course — and went on to shoot down 11 more enemy planes, including one of them new-fangled jets Hitler's goon scientists had developed. Heck, five of them were bagged in one dogfight — not a bad day's work.

All of which is why his later achievement of becoming the first person to break the sound barrier was probably small surprise to those who know the General personally.

Yeager is one of the last true American icons of his generation — sixty years ago, he was off killing Nazis, and today he still has the skill to convince the Air Force to turn their best airplanes over to him — airplanes that cost tens of millions of dollars each. Not too many septuagenarians meet that standard.

One of Turbula's staff members had the good fortune to get to meet Yeager in the late 1980s during an educational teleconference at the KPBS-TV studios in San Diego. He was warm and gracious and had a handshake that could take your shoulder off.

He also has a sense of humor about his place in history.

When the General was handed a publicity still from "The Right Stuff" for an autograph (yes, yes, we realize that violated journalistic protocol — but this was CHUCK YEAGER for goodness sake, not some damn celebrity) and asked how he liked having Sam Shepard portray him in the movie, Yeager smiled and said, "The man hunts and fishes, drives a pickup, and is shacked up with Jessica Lange — how do you think I liked having him portray me?"

Indeed, General — and we plan to be among the throngs at Edwards Air Force Base on Oct. 26 cheering like crazy as you take your last flight in a military aircraft. Yeager's promised to punch the F-15 through the sound barrier for one last sonic boom, and we doubt our eyes will be the only moist ones that fine afternoon ...

Knocking up Liz Hurley

Turbula's male staff members would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Steve Bing on the recent loss of his manhood.

It was Bing who had to be sued by sultry British actress Elizabeth Hurley for paternity — and then he compounded the idiocy by fighting the lawsuit.

We're frankly a bit dumbfounded — nay, stunned — as to how any red-blooded man accused of fathering Liz's child could possibly want to deny it.

Okay, okay, so he doesn't want to pay child support. But without even getting into how cheap and cheesy that makes him look as a parent, we'd simply point out that whatever the court has ordered him to pay for his share of raising the child is a bargain in terms of publicity.

Or it would have been if he hadn't mucked it up by denying his role.

The point is this, Steveo: You could have been known as the stud who knocked up Elizabeth Hurley. Everywhere you went, other men would have looked at you with envy, admiration and maybe even a little awe. Your drinks would have been paid for, your green fees covered, your presence welcomed at any gathering of men.

Instead, now you'll forever be known as the schmuck who denied knocking up Liz Hurley — and tried to weasel out of your responsibilities to your own child.

Those looks you're getting now? Yeah, those'd be what are scientifically known as pity ...

What price embargoes?

What passes for a Left in this country has spent much of the last decade wringing its hands over the fate of the poor, misunderstood Saddam Hussein.

Of particular worry to the Volvo set is the international trade embargo imposed on Iraq after Saddam refused to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into his medieval fiefdom.

Much of the establishment Left would have us convinced that the embargo is the greatest evil facing the world today — and never you mind 9/11 or any nukes Saddam might have gotten his hands on.

According to those who have charged themselves with the role of Official Worriers, the embargo is causing mass starvation and medical privation in Iraq and killing children faster than a Beverly Hills abortion clinic.

Clean forgotten is the fact that the U.N. is allowing Hussein to sell Xillions of dollars worth of oil every year to prevent the kinds of privation we're told are happening.

So Turbula's question to the Public Radio Brigade is this: If we allow Saddam to sell enough oil to cover his nation's humanitarian needs and he chooses to spend it on his military, is that really our fault?

Besides, if embargoes are so darn awful, then why did the granola munchers argue so loudly for them against Rhodesia, South Africa and Chile in the '70s and '80s? Wouldn't those embargoes, if successfully implemented, have caused widespread suffering? And isn't that the Left declaring its solidarity with the Palestinian bombers and demanding an embargo against Israel?

But perhaps dead Jewish kids don't really count ...

Autumn 2002 Culture & Politics Section | Autumn 2002 Main Page
Current Home Page