We got a missive from Joe Thompson, a resident of lovely North Kingstown and an occasional pen pal, who informs P+J, “I’m planning to run for school committee in North Kingstown. I could use the three-figure donation to pay for an ad in the Standard-Times, and would love to see the looks on their faces when I break into song to answer one of their dumbass questions.”
We’re not sure whose faces Joe is referring to — voters in North Kingstown? Advertising account executives or editors at North Kingstown’s Standard-Times? The moderator and prospective opponents at a potential debate? But what we are referring to is P+J’s ongoing offer to pony up a three-figure donation to any legitimate candidate for elective office who will not only pledge to banish the utterly banal phrase “at the end of the day,” but to break into a chorus or two of the Kinks’ 1965 hit “Till the End of the Day” at a public appearance. We anxiously await Joe’s run for school committee and his mighty singing performance.
DAMN, IT FEELS GOOD TO BE A GANGSTA
“A real gangsta-ass nigga plays his cards right.” Indeed. Many cult film enthusiasts will recall the montage in Mike Judge’s 1999 opus Office Space, in which disaffected office employee Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) wreaks casual havoc at work to the tune of the Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be a Gangsta.”
Tuesday, as your superior correspondents peered at the front page of the BeloJo’s “ProJoNation” section (be assured that if there were an actual “ProjoNation,” it would perambulate on all-fours), we noticed that the largest image was that of an elderly woman in Bhopal, India (with more aging Indians in the background), awaiting a court decision on the fate of seven former executives from the giant chemical corporation Union Carbide. The executives were being tried on charges of negligence in the accidental release, in 1984, of 40 tons of methyl isocyanate gas that killed thousands. (Depending on your source, the numbers of dead vary wildly — the Indian government estimates 3500, some critics claim it’s closer to 25,000.) And, of course, thousands more who survived have lived with blindness, cancer, respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and a battery of other health problems.
So now, a quarter of a century later, seven Union Carbide executives have been found guilty (another, who has since passed away, was also found guilty). All these executives are Indian nationals and all were sentenced to two years in jail. While Union Carbide paid a $470 million out-of-court settlement absolving the company of further liability, the Indian executives are small potatoes in comparison to top gangsta, Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson.
Anderson jumped bail back in 1984 after being charged with manslaughter in India. He returned to the United States and although he has been declared a fugitive from justice in India since 1992, the land of the free and the home of the brave has shown no inclination toward justice in this matter. Anderson has been laying low at his various estates in Long Island, Vero Beach, Florida, and Greenwich, Connecticut.
Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta! Now cue up Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” and get me another cocktail.
IT’S TRANSPARENT, ALL RIGHT