The Great Plotnik

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Those Bastards

Yesterday Plottie went down to Sammy's to pick up some good kalamata olives and fresh pita to wrap around the lamb kebabs he had in mind for dinner.

Sam, the shop owner, as always, was staring at his grainy television set. Sam's name ought to be "Those Bastards." Every time you go into the store he's raving about "those bastards," by which he generally means anybody on the news.

He really hated Bush. He loved Obama but now he's not so sure. Yesterday it was the mayor of Bell, in Southern Shmal, who is earning $800,000 a year while laying off library workers. This guy really pissed Sammy off.

"Those bastards," he said.

He was also furious at BP for giving Tony Hayward an $18 million golden parachute.

"Eighteen million!" he screamed. "Those bastards!"

Plotnik has been coming in to Sammy's for fifteen years and he and Sam always exchange pleasantries as well as talk politics. But this Lebanese merchant, who has been in America more than fifty years, and whose very nice and well-stocked store is one of several Lebanese/Palestinian shops in a row in an otherwise Latino section of the Mission, has never before said anything nasty about the Israelis except "Those Bastards."

Until yesterday. Somebody on the news had said something honest about Israel again and was forced to apologize for it, as always. Plotnik doesn't remember who it was but Sam was livid.

"Those bastards," he said. "When people call all Arabs murderers and suicide bombers, they don't have to apologize for it, do they?

"No," Plotnik said. "Americans are not exactly in love with Arabs these days."

"How could they be? All you see in the paper about world news is car bombs in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Do you really think this is the only news in the entire Middle East?"

"Probably not," Plotnik had to admit.

"Well, the newspapers don't have to apologize, do they? So why does anybody who says that the Israelis do awful things too have to apologize for it?"

He walked over to a shelf next to the salted pistachios (four different kinds) and pulled out a news photo of Helen Thomas.

No one, if you ask Plotnik, should be required to look at a photo of Helen Thomas, the ancient and now-retired member of the White House Press Corps, but he did not voice this observation because Sam was already fuming.

"Helen Thomas," said Sam, "said the Jews are causing all the problems in the world. Helen Thomas said the Jews should have to go home to Poland or Russia."

"That wasn't a very nice thing to say, was it?" Plotnik said. "Do you want to go back to Lebanon?"

"No, but she meant it. And then she had to apologize and resign. Why? This is what she feels, right or wrong. If she said it about Arabs nobody would care. Right?"

"You're probably right," Plotnik said.

"Well, then?" asked Sam.

Plotnik stared at the bulgar (extra fine, fine, coarse) and zhaatar mixes (Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian).

"I'll take a package of that whole wheat Lebanese pita, with the sesame seeds," Plotnik said.

Sam nodded, took the pita out of a square bin, all the while shaking his head back and forth. "Those bastards."

"But the Jews are not causing all the problems in the world, Sam. Neither are the Arabs nor the Hindus nor the Christians. Some of them, yes. We're all responsible for the mess we're in."

"Yes, but you don't have to apologize for it."

"Sometimes we should, don't you think?"

"That's true."

"I think," said Plotnik, "that the news, and Fox in particular, should take responsibility for some of the lies they spew."

"AHA!" screamed Sam. "You see? Fox! JEWS!"

"Fox? Nahh, Dude," Plotnik said. "Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch. He's Australian, probably Catholic."

Sam stared at Plotnik and Plotnik stared at Sam.

"Those bastards," they both said.


At 11:08 AM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

Everybody's got bastards. Some bastards have better PR people than others. Whole wheat Lebanese pita? I'll have some of that too.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous jj-aka-pp said...

yes, but how was the lamb?

At 6:48 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

Wow ~ powerful post. I'll stick to baseball.


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