The Descent of Tom Harman, part II of V: Re-birth as an Immigrant Basher


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In the first Naked Gun film, Lieutenant Frank Drebin, having found it necessary to impersonate an umpire in a major league baseball game in order to prevent an assassination, finds himself at a loss what to do when the batter swings and misses. After a long, uncomfortable silence, feeling a thousand expectant eyes fixed upon him, he finally stammers, hesitantly, “…Strike one?” And the crowd erupts into cheers.

Immediately Drebin is transformed by the crowd’s approval into a super-umpire. Forgetting all about the assassination, he begins shouting and singing out calls with dance moves and acrobatics, driving the delighted fans to a frenzy: “STEERIIIIKE TWOOO!!!” There is no middle ground or gradual change as there would be for you or I; the public’s roaring approbation transfigures him in a second from mute uncertainty to no-hold-barred showmanship, wallowing in the fans’ adulation for the rest of the game.

It was just like that for Senator Tom Harman when he first discovered the awesome crowd-pleasing power of anti-immigrant rhetoric in mid-2006…

Read more in the June issue of The Orange Coast Voice!

[read Part I here, on Harman’s environmental record]


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.