Iraqi Bacon

Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others

That was Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, who Tailpipe spied in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday. No little white hat and scoops of Cherry Garcia or Heath Bar Crunch to give him away, but a familiar Woodstockian message. Cohen was in town to install electric signage on a massive, rabble-rousing, three-pig protestmobile. Say what? That's right, three rolling Pepto-Bismol-pink pigs that have been passed around the country -- 60,000 miles in two years -- with the help of members of Cohen's political organization, True Majority, which was founded on the idea that defense spending starves social programs.

The trio of piggy-bank porkers is slated to root around Broward and Miami-Dade counties until July 5. The first pig, which represents the $200 billion that Americans have spent razing and rebuilding Iraq, is a Chevy van armored with fleshy pink jowls, ears, and snout. Its clear sides are stuffed with fake cash. Behind it rolls a trailer carrying a smaller, $34 billion pig representing K-12 education spending, and a wee "World Hunger and Poverty" pig worth just $10 billion.

"People can't conceive of $200 billion," Cohen said as he took a break under a tree near Oakland Park Boulevard and NW 21st Avenue. He had just installed a pair of electric signs that he planned to program from Vermont. He looked trim for an ice cream man, with grizzly white stubble, rose-tinted sunglasses, and a T-shirt that read, "Bush is over."

When the pigs' current hostess, an event planner named Hope Gold, returned home, she learned a neighbor had sicced code enforcement on her. A "courtesy notice" on her door ordered her to remove the commercial vehicles from in front of the house.

"It's not a commercial," Cohen protested. "It's the truth."

Gold, who had piloted the pigs around town the previous weekend, recalled her trip to the Sawgrass Hills Mall. "One guy called me a pinko commie, which I thought was perfect," she said.

The next day, she handed the pigs' keys off to Angel Terrell, an affable legal secretary from Miami Beach, who cruised downtown Fort Lauderdale on her way home and invited Tailpipe along for the ride. With loudspeakers blaring piggy sound effects, the effect was cartoonish: Three pigs prowled Las Olas Boulevard, squealing like a barnyard orgy.

Terrell came to a stop on the east side of the canal, where workmen were carving a crater in the street. One man approached the pigs and smiled, displaying bright white, crooked teeth.

"Nice buggy," the workman said.

"Are you registered to vote?" Terrell replied as she handed him a flyer.

"Yeah. Democrat," the man said. "Get that dickhead out."

The middle finger count, in an hour of cruising downtown Fort Lauderdale: a surprising zero. One man in the median of Las Olas hollered: "Vote for Bush!" That was it. The only thing more astonishing than the widespread civility was the number of people who ignored the spectacle altogether, even as it rumbled past, oinking at full volume.

"If you can't notice three giant pigs rolling down the street," Terrell said, "how are you going to notice what's going on?"

The Xerox Man

Octavio Roca's credentials are stunning. The one-time chief dance critic for the San Francisco Chronicle also critiqued theater and music for the for the Washington Post and the Washington Times. He has co-authored at least one book, about opera great Renata Scotto, translated several plays, and even collaborated on a cantata.

So it seemed logical when Enrique Fernandez, Miami Heraldfeatures editor, hired him on September 4, 2003 as the paper's arts and culture critic.

But Roca left the paper this week. His description disappared from the Herald website and his byline was no more to be seen in its pages.

The apparent reason: plagiarism.

Check out this piece of a story on Mikhail Baryshnikovthat appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 23, 2003: "He did not disappoint his fans. It was even endearing to see how the evening's sole double pirouettes -- dazzlingly youthful, incidentally in the middle of Cesc Gelabert's 2003 dance 'In a Landscape' -- brought out the biggest applause up to that point."

Then this from a piece by Roca in the Heraldthis past February 27: "He does not disappoint his fans. It is even endearing to see how the program's sole double pirouettes -- dazzlingly youthful, incidentally in the middle of Cesc Gelabert's 2003 dance 'In a Landscape' -- can bring out the biggest applause..."

If that doesn't convince you, check out the lead of this story on choreographer great George Balanchine, which appeared in the Chronicle November 3, 1996: "Ballet is like a rose," George Balanchine once said. "It is beautiful and you admire it, but you don't ask what it means. In the colorful garden of 20th century dance, Balanchine cultivated the American rose: exuberant, bright, optimistic and triumphant."

You guessed it. Looks a lot like Roca's work in the Heraldon December 7, 2003, only this time, the critic put it in the third paragraph: " 'Ballet is like a rose,' Balanchine once famously said. 'It is beautiful and you admire it, but you don't ask what it means. In the colorful garden of 20th century dance, Balanchine cultivated the American rose: exuberant, bright, optimistic, and triumphant."

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