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yt A HI . W1-10’5 McGOVER NI? ;r 1 Pt Ch Z :CI: 11 20] 1657 WE’VE GOT TO rtGOVERNIZ WE’VE CAT TO MAKE PEOPLE 3EE HIli A THE NEW MG VERT’i, CiF d1 .111111MINNft.. .:.:”;$ . %.1′.:1’r L11r.i 4L 1/441′ -1,:. POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Loony Bells A-Ringing Karl Rove titscusses Anti-Dean Siratecfy with Young Republicans BAD SANTA! BAD! The radical Christian Right, self-anointed guardians of our moral rectitude, are sounding the alarm against a new evil lurking in our midst. And what form has the Great Wickedness chosen this time, you may ask? Billy Bob Thornton in a Santa suit. In the new comedy Bad Santa, Thornton plays a hard-luck, alcoholic, womanizing mall Santa plotting to rip off his employer. The reviews have generally been favorable, particularly for Thornton’s turn as a surly St. Nick. But for the denizens of the Religious Right, whose senses of humor are clearly two sizes too small, a Christmas movie in which a faux Santa uses the f-word is the latest sign of societal decay. A radical right grassroots group known as Laptop Lobbyists, which purports to be “America’s first and foremost online Conservative community,” has launched an anti-Bad Santa campaign. The film, according to Laptop Lobbyists, is nothing short of an all-out attack on Christmas. \(A holiday, it should be quietly noted, that has as much of a The group is urging a boycott, organizing a letter-writing campaign, and joining a long line of people calling on Disney chief Michael Eisner to resign. \(Dimension Films, a Disney penned an open letter to Eisner to run as a full-page ad in the Washington Times. The letter presents an aggressive defense of the fictional Mr. Claus, “Our Santa is the long-time husband of the devoted Mrs. Claus. Yours has onscreen sex with a sleazy barmaid who insists that he keep his hat on.” In a phone interview from his Virginia office, Laptop Lobbyists Executive Director Chris Carmouche said his group didn’t start the campaign, but simply reacted to the call of outraged supporters, hopping on the alreadymoving sleigh, so to speak. “When people perceive that you’re messing with Christmas, they get angry,” he said. Christmas-themed vulgarity is inexcusable, even if the story is about a con man playing Santa, not the actual made-up character. Carmouche later admitted that he hadn’t in fact seen the film, but the trailer offended him plenty. Of particular concern to Carmouche is a scene in which a young child pulls down Thornton’s fake beard and asks why Santa lacks real whiskers. Thornton’s character explains that he once had a beard, until he became sick and his hair fell out. “How’d it fall out?” the kid asks. “I loved an unclean woman;’ Santa says. The child seems confused. “Was it Mrs. Claus?” “No,” Santa responds spryly, “it was her sister!’ Said Carmouche, incredulously, “I’d hate to be a parent trying to explain to my child that reference to venereal disease!’ I’m sorry Virginia, that’s what happens when you don’t use a condom. SHARPENED HYSTERIA Straight-A student, charity founder, award-winning essayist: Christina Lough is the classmate you envy, not the one you fear. She’s certainly not the kind to stab someone at school, in her case, Garland McMeans Junior High, in Katy. Yet on October 7, a teacher noticed Christina’s pencil sharpenera kind of razor-on-a-handle contraption that’s common in Korea, though not in Texasand wrote up a disciplinary notice accusing the eighth-grader of possessing a “prohibited item!’ \(Lough’s citation originally described the sharpener as a “knife”; a school administrator subsequently scratched violation, Christina underwent a police interrogation, endured three days of regular suspension and seven days of in-school sus 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 12/19/03