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The 50 Most Loathsome Americans, 2002




At times like these, when our government is telling us (and the rest of the world) to get on board for a war halfway around the world, it can be instructive to take a moment to consider who the real enemies are right here at home. No doubt you have your own pet people to despise from among the nation’s political, cultural, and media establishment, but without further ado, here’s our list: THE BEAST 50 MOST LOATHSOME PEOPLE IN AMERICA.


Misdeeds: Unseated one president and then spent the rest of his career sucking up to politicians through expense-accounted lunches. Wrote a 10-part series profiling Bush’s White House after 9/11 that read like a “Penthouse Forum” letter. Clearly fantasizes about giving advice to second-tier senators.

Aggravating Factor: Robert Redford went on to be a pompous Hollywood institution, too.

Aesthetic: Typewriter-bearing decommissioned drag queen.


Misdeeds: Most wives of elite politicians take up charitable causes. Dick Cheney’s wife teamed up with Joe Lieberman to form a group called the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which drew up a blacklist of academics whose patriotism was judged to have “fallen short” in the wake of 9/11. Among the targets: the president of Wesleyan University, who said that “disparities and injustices” in American society can provoke violence, and a University of Oregon professor emeritus who said that “we need to understand the reasons behind the terrifying hatred directed against the U.S. and find ways to act that will not foment more hatred for generations to come.”

Aggravating Factor: Wrote a novel called Sisters that contained lesbian themes in 1981; currently freaks out every time her openly gay daughter is mentioned by journalists.

Aesthetic: Bea Arthur’s nasty mother on The Golden Girls.


Misdeeds: Not an American, but might as well be: being America’s bitch counts. It used to be that politicians sold out their constituents to larger domestic interests; now, with power and money largely spread across borders and centered in transnational companies, politicians have the option of selling out entire countries. Blair’s recent pronouncements about the Iraqi threat were so obviously scripted in Washington, it was embarrassing.

Aggravating Factor: Recently attempted to outlaw one of England’s last distinguishing silly customs-fox hunting. Can goofy hats and bisexual thespianism be far behind?

Aesthetic: Slavish young p.r. exec who flatters the CEO before disappearing to read foot fetishism magazines in the bathroom down the hall.


Misdeeds: Pathologically driven entertainer whose success came as a result of his work ethic: in his youth he did more than 300 shows a year in Boston comedy clubs. Like most comedians, his drive obviously derives from a rapacious inner self-hatred, but unlike most comedians, he expresses this not in self-deprecation or actual humor, but in a frantic, painful public quest to retain his job through a galactic volume of horrible jokes and shameless flattery. A few years ago it was Bill Clinton dick jokes, this year it’s bin-Laden-cave jokes; whatever sells, just keep pumping them out.

Aggravating Factor: Told 18,802 political jokes in his first ten years on the Tonight Show, not a single one of them funny enough to keep Dick Cheney off his show.

Aesthetic: High school hard-luck case who made it big and is rubbing it in.


Misdeeds: The pied piper of Vermont, Anastasio and his Phish bandmates have brainwashed white kids into believing that not showering, eating mushrooms, and listening to a jam band play cover songs is the path to enlightenment. When he stopped touring with Phish, their fans had no choice but to follow fifth and sixth-rate jam bands, giving rise to the beyond-awful Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, or any other whimsically named group of slapdicks that think adding bongo drums and a mandolin makes for good music. Anastasio’s one redeeming factor is that at least one kid has probably died by choking on a glow stick at one of his concerts.

Aggravating Factor: Doesn’t even encourage kids to do drugs. Kept Relics magazine going after Jerry Garcia’s death.

Aesthetic: High school A/V club moderator meets art teacher.


Misdeeds: The author of a lengthy self-love letter entitled Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, Brooks has arrived as the official autobiographer of the new elite. His vision of the new upper class-”Bobos” stands for “Bourgeois Bohemians”-is that of the end result of a grand historical effort at meritocracy, i.e., everyone who is rich deserves to be rich, not because of any Social-Darwinist superiority, but mainly because they have… good taste. In an amusing twist on Fukuyama’s End of History, he claimed that the Bobos’ taste in furniture represented the apex of the human effort at interior design, one that would never need to be improved upon.

Aggravating Factor: On Bobo mating: “[On] the Times weddings page, you can almost feel the force of the mingling SAT scores. It’s Dartmouth marries Berkeley, MBA weds PhD… and summa cum laude embraces summa cum laude (you rarely see a summa settling for a magna-the tension in such a marriage would be too great).”

Aesthetic: Turbocharged IKEA customer.


Misdeeds: Was last year named Undersecretary of State and placed in charge of government propaganda. A former Madison Avenue ad executive who made her name marketing Uncle Ben’s rice, Beers referred to the United States as an “elegant brand” and the President and Secretary of State as “symbols of the brand.” Boasted that her target of a 30 percent conversion rate among Muslims was “a sales curve that any corporation would envy. ”

Aggravating Factor: Is a close friend of Martha Stewart.

Aesthetic: Empowered, sexually active menopausal.


Misdeeds: There’s just something about this guy that makes you want to reach for a sharp object every time you turn on the news… Maybe it’s his heavily marketed image of smug self-righteousness, or maybe it’s the fact that The Greatest Generation, his vapid catch-phrase stretched to book length, was a monstrous best-seller. Hunter Thompson once said that Nixon’s idea of a good joke was a paraplegic who couldn’t reach high enough to vote Democratic, but Brokaw is a person that it’s hard to imagine has any idea at all of a good joke.

Aggravating Factor: He commented on NBC Nightly News that while the Office of Homeland Security might have sounded like a name from a “totalitarian regime,” the 9/11 attacks “proved that something in America has to change.”

Aesthetic: The quirky fourth in a golfing party of Dupont executives.


Misdeeds: Every would-be oppositionist in the country has lined up to blow Moore every since he put out the amazing film Roger and Me, anointing him as a leading political figure and a brilliant creative mind even though he’s been an unfunny, egomaniacal blowhard for over ten years now. Moore wears his dissident credentials not on his sleeve, but on his head and his waistline: his mesh baseball cap and fat body are now the leading brand-ID marker for political discontent among the narrow, incestuous “enlightened left” demographic. Gertrude Stein said that “A mouth is a mouth is a mouth”; Moore shows that a media darling is a media darling is a media darling.

Aggravating Factor: The O’Reilly Factor is a hundred times more entertaining than TV Nation ever was.

Aesthetic: Upper-class poor hygiene and grooming habits disguised as working-class sloth.


Misdeeds: Whenever you’re in the mood to have someone stare you in the face and say, “People like me are overeating and laughing at your failure because our high-paying advertisers manipulated the market,” you can always turn on Moneyline. The pioneer of the snorting, this-is-where-the-action-really-is Wall Street TV program appears to be gaining four pounds a year, a remarkable number given that he was nicknamed “The Fat Pig” in CNN’s New York studios 15 years ago.

Aggravating Factor: Repeatedly soft-pedaled his coverage of Arthur Andersen’s role in Enron; the firm had sponsored his “Business Unusual” show between 1997 and 1999 and paid him for speaking gigs.

Aesthetic: Mostly sexless gray-hair-and-suspenders look, tinged with a faint trace of submerged sadism.


Misdeeds: Is a former cocaine addict who found God and became even more insufferable afterward; said, upon leaving the Vikings, that it wasn’t about the money but that he wanted to win a championship, then subsequently blew off the Rams to visit the Browns; set the cause of the black man back a hundred years by appearing as a slouching yes-man next to Dan Marino and Cris Collinsworth on HBO’s Inside the NFL.

Aggravating Factor: Wouldn’t play this year for a mere million dollars.

Aesthetic: Expensive but failed attempt at elder-statesman look.


Misdeeds: Is short; is vengefully unprincipled; seems like the kind of person who out of all of the people solemnly hanging their heads at a funeral would be most likely to be thinking about calling his pollster. Wishes he weren’t Jewish, so that he could be John McCain. The poster boy of the Democratic Party drowning in its own vacuity, frantically discharging political ballast in order to reach the surface.

Aggravating Factor: Makes Al Gore seem human.

Aesthetic: A high-school principal who gives taller kids twice the usual amount of detention.


Misdeeds: America’s Tolstoy. Writes vast epics in which all the characters are either enemies or law enforcement operatives trying to reach the ear of the president. Describes an SS-20 the way Flaubert would have described Emma Bovary’s dress. In a staggering indictment of our intellectual climate, he is beginning to be taken seriously as a literary figure.

Aggravating Factor: Jack Ryan films make it harder to appreciate Harrison Ford’s early movies.

Aesthetic: West Point career counselor.


Misdeeds: Chevy Chase was funny when he was falling down, but with this guy you feel upset that he’s acting and not really falling on his face. Another great example of how things have gotten worse since the 80′s: while Three’s Company was tolerable in an amusing, lowest-common-denominator kind of way, 8 Simple Rules… has no denominator at all. Like most of our entertainment, it’s just there, like mold. Its basic message is the continued employment of John Ritter, which in this celebrity-obsessed, E! Entertainment era is actually a marginal kind of genuine drama for many viewers-and that should scare the living shit out of all of us.

Aggravating Factor: Janeane Garofalo says that “He took the worst show on television (Three’s Company) and made it good.”

Aesthetic: John Ritter-like. The whole point of being who he is is that he has his own aesthetic.


Misdeeds: Made off with one of the great intellectual quidae pro quo in American history, exchanging his radical roots-Horowitz was a founder of the excellent Ramparts magazine of the sixties and an intimate friend of Black Panther Huey Newton-for a new role as a denouncing ex-radical conservative. Predictably, it paid off in a series of hugely lucrative book contracts and regular gigs as a campus speaker (including a recent spot at UB). It’s safe to say that he would rather switch… than fight. The National Review pays a hell of a lot more than Ramparts.

Aggravating Factor: Recently argued that anyone who advocates radical change, including organizations like the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Lawyers’ Guild, is guilty of criminal treason even if they do not commit criminal acts.

Aesthetic: Conservative who wears a sixties beard and unkempt thinning hair, probably for marketing purposes.


Misdeeds: Failing to abort self in earliest stages of development. Exhibits remarkably limited facial expression (the two presented so far are barely distinguishable from each other) and virtual no emotional range outside of fatuity.

Aggravating Factor: Already a tabloid darling.

Aesthetic: J-Lo meets Stephen Dorff.


Misdeeds: Won’t rest until we’re all on our knees, praying to Jesus and dreaming of jobs at Wal-Mart.

Aggravating Factor: Back in 1992, said this about apartheid in South Africa: “I think ‘one man, one vote,’ just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights.”

Aesthetic: Inquisitor-perfect hygiene.


Misdeeds: Unfortunately, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor contained all of the elements that Bay and his producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and 14-year-old boys love: America’s armed forces, explosions, jingoism, and a ragtag group who defy all odds and ultimately save the day. He also contributed Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armaggedon to the national oeuvre. A constant guest at the Playboy Mansion, he’s always featured in the party pictures section with a sly grin, open bathrobe, and a blonde bimbo who almost certainly has one of the following: fake tits, a shaved snapper, a kitten, or the lack of a male role model in her adolescence which led her to believe that men will only like her if she has fake tits, a shaved snapper, and a kitten.

Aggravating Factor: Made $25,000,000 for directing Pearl Harbor. That’s approximately $25,000 for each man whose memory he dishonored with that abortion of a movie.

Aesthetic: The love child of Craig Kilborn and a Golden Retriever.


Misdeeds: Mustachioed New York Times columnist who is celebrated in polite society for his “thoughtful” and “brave” political positions, for instance the decision to run a column entitled “Give War a Chance.” Believes the entire world should be forced, militarily if necessary, to accept the American model of prosperity, which he calls “The Golden Straitjacket.”

Aggravating Factor: Author of perhaps the worst and most mentally displeasing metaphors in the history of the English language, terms like “BisCzarism” and “The Electronic Herd.”

Aesthetic: Bit actor on 70′s cop show; Buick salesman.


Misdeeds: Disney owns half the planet, makes shitty movies, and drapes the teen landscape with no-talent sexual narcissists like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera. As CEO, takes home hundreds of millions of dollars every year while paying Bangladeshi textile workers 15 cents per t-shirt and Vietnamese toy-making laborers 8 cents an hour, four times less than the state subsistence level of 32 cents an hour.

Aggravating Factor: Makes you feel guilty about putting money in his pocket by watching Monday Night Football.

Aesthetic: All forehead and tie; archeologists will one day study those jaws.


Misdeeds: Wrote the modern-day “Don’t Worry Be Happy” with her hit, “Soak Up The Sun,” which is about “Not having what you want, but wanting what you’ve got.” The song is about having a crummy job that doesn’t pay enough, and the very instant it was recorded, Crow sold the commercial rights to the song to American Express.

Aggravating Factor: Refused to allow VH-1 to use footage of her in her pre nose-job days as a backup singer for Michael Jackson.

Aesthetic: Self magazine cover girl.


Misdeeds: At least Rush Limbaugh was funny every now and then. This new monster deals in untrammeled viciousness and invective, and his “Talking Points” help the Great Beast out there to reduce the entire world to six-word bulletins. He does a lot of waving and snorting at his guests whenever they disagree with him. To watch him is to be inspired to thrilling hatred, which may explain his ratings success, beyond the fact that 90% of the public buys him as real journalism.

Aggravating Factor: Claimed on the air that his former show, “Inside Edition,” won a Peabody award when it didn’t; assailed Tom Arnold for allowing highly entertaining former criminal Michael Irvin on “The Best Damn Sports Show, Period.”

Aesthetic: Brothel customer who won’t pay a dollar over the list price, occasionally gets rough and takes a long time.


Misdeeds: Onslaught of films that are full of “wonder” and “splendor” and small innocent boys with bowl haircuts in confusing/terrifying situations. Thirty-year creative progression was from mechanical fish to mechanical lizards. You will want to kill many innocent people after seeing Always.

Aggravating Factor: Made you root for Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List. Has a palace in the Hamptons the size of Belize.

Aesthetic: Wears baseball cap to remind people he was a director once, only he doesn’t wear them on the set anymore.


Misdeeds: Who calls a 7-step drop-back pass play on second down when your team is on the opposing team’s 20-yard-line in OT? Who does that?

Aggravating Factor: So constantly in terror of losing his job that he probably has not noticed how ugly the Bills’ new road uniforms are.

Aesthetic: A dentist who you never warm up to in years of treatment.


Misdeeds: It’s that look he gives you when he laughs at the camera after a punch line, as if to say, “Man, can you believe I pulled that reference off?” Forget the fact that the dark shadow he cast over professional football has yet to be lifted; forget even that ABC had an “Annotated Dennis Miller” page on its MNF site to help football viewers grasp the odd reference to Titus Andronicus in the third quarter of the Ravens game; all you need to know about Dennis Miller is that he made smart-alecky-ness into an industry even less interesting and threatening than machine-tool building. Is also perhaps the most irritating corporate pitchman in history.

Aggravating Factor: Spoiled the satisfyingly ridiculous Wesley Snipes vehicle Murder at 1600 with his “Get a load of me playing a cop!” performance in a supporting role.

Aesthetic: Big Chill-style yuppie who smokes the occasional joint and livens up the Greenwich Village dinner party with a surprising vagina joke.


Misdeeds: Only shows up in WNY to announce eminent sodomizing of Erie and Niagara County denizens by way of deals swung with leaders of a separate nation who will occupy various landmarks without the consent of citizens, garner staggering profits from the meager estates of the humblest patriots from the occupied region, take a little cut for himself, then sell that shit to the zombies in the more easterly sectors of the state as economic growth hoping to beg their votes predicated on ignorance. Probably would have thrown Buffalo (and pretty much any other aging outstate work horse) out of the barn in the wake of 9/11 if it weren’t for the suburban vote outweighing the voice of urban frustration and the New York State Constitution.

Aggravating Factor: Will serve another term due to his ridiculous posturing and the influence exerted on the Democratic Party’s consciousness by the mischievous Clinton twins.

Aesthetic: A clean-shaven Michael “Meathead” Stivic with a gag comb-over wig.


Misdeeds: Achieved immense fame with undetectable relevance. You know who her husband is, what health problems her infant child has suffered and how fucked up her relationship with Tim McGraw is, yet, you have no idea what she does for a living or any skill or any interests she possesses. If you do know she is a country singer, you can’t hum any of her songs or claim with any certainty that you’ve seen her in the same room with Christina Aguilera.

Aggravating Factor: Coupled with the fame of her husband they have relegated the memory of her relief-pitcher great father-in-law Tug McGraw to that of a parent of Country Music’s answer to George Michael.

Aesthetic: “The other woman” in any B-movie crossed with Barbie of the Mattel family.


Misdeeds: Eyes, like those of a fish, are too far apart; is a gigantic self-directed industry and the “World’s Girlfriend.” A little-discussed offense is Winfrey’s role in pushing horrible literature on America; one appearance on her show is enough to launch vile schlock like Joan Wester Anderson’s The Power of Miracles to the top of the bestseller list. A leading citizen in a world where rich people are neither black nor white.

Aggravating Factor: The University of Texas now offers a course called “Oprah: Race/Business in America.”

Aesthetic: Proud self-improver; a triumphant “After” picture.


Misdeeds: Most people target Scalia and Thomas as the chief knee-jerk lunatics on the Supreme Court, but Rehnquist-who as a Republican pollster in the sixties was known to try to scare away blacks at polling places-is the only one of the three who actually has a real grasp of the law, which makes him much more dangerous. Wrote a violent dissenting opinion when the Court banned executions of the mentally ill.

Aggravating Factor: In the Bush v. Gore case, wrote, “”The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.”

Aesthetic: The extreme evolution of the southern cop who breaks your taillight.


Misdeeds: Gave birth to a generation of self-obsessed psycho-isolationists who avoid the news and reality in general as a matter of principle and concentrate on the “positives”-usually sales-related jobs and anything else that makes them “happy.”

Aggravating Factor: There are a lot of people just like him out there now.

Aesthetic: Robust, tall, perfect teeth, everything you’re not.


Misdeeds: He has refused to align himself with any specific race because of his complex ethnic make-up and this confuses his detractors and leaves pot-bellied, country club, Johnnie Walker swillers perplexed when trying to apply an appropriate and effective racial joke or epithet to him. He also refuses to align himself with his native country in international competition if any of his corporate sponsors is simultaneously hosting a high-stakes tournament. He will however pose as any one of a handful of ethnicities in his gluttonous TV commercial orgy. He just looks like his breath stinks.

Aggravating Factors: You’ll hear golf pundits, whatever the fuck that is, talk about Woods achieving his dominance in a period when there are so many great golfers. Horseshit. You would have never seen Nicklaus or Palmer quake and crumble in fear during the final round of tournament after tournament, like Mickelson and Duval do, when hearing Woods thunder down the fairways behind them. His greatness, like that of the late Michael Jordan’s, is sullied by the sheer absence of any significant talent out there to challenge them in their time.

Aesthetic: With his hat off, he looks like Zippy The Pinhead born to the union of Alfred E. Neumann and Hop Sing from Bonanza.


Misdeeds: Every time you think there might be a Roy Jones, Jr. fight on HBO, there’s Carrie Bradshaw and her gaggle of nervous, self-hating bourgeois Manhattan sluts fretting about their latest three-month relationship that may or may not turn into marriage. America took all the fun out of sex years ago by talking about it publicly so much; now we have shows that talk about talking about sex. It’s a wonder any man in Manhattan can ever get an erection.

Aggravating Factor: Seemed to think her performance as “The Broad” in State and Main was ironic.

Aesthetic: A woman’s idea of what a sexy woman looks like.


Misdeeds: Commanded the Navy-Seal massacre of 21 people, mostly women and children, at the village of Thanh Phong during the Vietnam War, won a Bronze Star for his efforts, and then was made an even bigger hero after the news came out for bringing home the “pain and sorrow” of Vietnam war veterans. This past year, he “confronted” his personal media tragedy by putting out a shallow, apparently hastily-written biography entitled When I Was a Young Man that glosses over the yucky stuff and generally presents the killing part as a typically painful coming-of-age story.

Aggravating Factor: Clearly still wants to run for President and will probably get his chance one day.

Aesthetic: X-Files facial structure, burning eyes, dull suits.


Misdeeds: Telling that horrendous misrepresentation of the War Between the States from a dizzying Yankee slant. It has been called a war of attrition, but the Civil War (the actual war, not to be confused with Burn’s more lengthy documentary of the same name) would have been over much sooner had the Yankee and Rebel soldiers faced each other over a grave trench and instead of mailing their letters home-the letters read throughout Burn’s fantasy-read them to each other until they all fell victim to apoplectic seizures triggered by vicious infections of excruciating boredom.

Aggravating Factor: He has continued to film his versions of historical drivel in the same torturous style. He made an entire nation of Volvo-driving Ikea addicts-with their disposable income earmarked for donation to a TV network that shows mostly sewing programs and shows trying to teach project kids the alphabet-believe they now know something about baseball and jazz. That’s dangerous shit.

Aesthetic: Mister Rogers’s soothing voice and Dudley Moore’s harmlessness with a haircut and beard taken from Dobie Gillis.


Misdeeds: Wherever he ends up placed on this list will not be high enough. This motherfucker carries G.W. Bush’s demon seed in his anal womb, gestates a fresh offspring a couple times a day and produces a few Rosemary’s steamers at press conferences with all the non-chalance of a Spot Coffee latte jerk. Fleischer is the very bold assertion, by the powers that be, that Americans and their media representatives are too whip-shy to just say, “Wait a fucking minute. You’re telling a goddamned lie, Fleischie.” He is a brazen challenge from the tri-laterals and Bildenbergs, etc., that they know that we, as the TV umbilical-cable-dependent, won’t do anything to jeopardize our little no-compulsory-military-service, double-mocha-under-a-self-contained, climate-controlled indoor-suburban-shopping-theme-park-with-a-Botox-safety-net dream.

Aggravating Factor: He is less life-like than every other who has stood in his rank. Within weeks, there promises to be empirical evidence that Fleischer was produced by the same laboratory that gave us Nixon tron John Dean.

Aesthetic: C3PO melded with Carson Daly operating off a modified Charles Grodin chip.


Misdeeds: Like Woods (see #20), he is also raceless but he co-opts a hackneyed litany of passe hip-hop culture tag lines. He makes Sportscenter seem daring and cutting edge. He abuses the first amendment from both radio and TV on a daily basis. He has about as much insight into the athlete’s psyche as does Joyce Brothers or Elton John. Rome is pathetically enamored with his emperorship over his cretinous listener-subjects. He abuses his mastery over the caller-participants of his show like some half-wit from King of the Hill who was made manager of a third-rate drive-thru. The only references he seems to have from the world of normal people are exhibited in his frequent mentions of his “college days,” which appears to be the last time Rome spent any time around a human being that he wasn’t interviewing. He has reset the standard for the kiss-ass, doormat interviewer when questioning difficult and press-shy stars.

Aggravating Factor: Recently re-signed radio deal. He can’t seem to reconcile with the fact that many towns and large markets don’t want him on the air and he will not shut up about it. He’s like some relentless, piss-soaked street bum that gets belligerent when you tell him you can’t give him any money today. He’s whiny and colossally judgmental on the scale of Rush Limbaugh.

Aesthetic: G.I. Joe with default goatee if he were drawn by the guy that does the Gil Thorpe comic strip.


Misdeeds: Writer of the of the grossly overrated Vagina Monologues, which, according to Ensler herself, “explores the humor, pain, wisdom, and mystery hidden in vaginas.” Her play has become a phenomenon despite the fact that it is a Meredith Baxter-Lifetime movie but with lots of synomyns for cooter. Has convinced literally millions of women that they derive their identity not from their thoughts, taste, actions, or beliefs, but from their hairy, smelly vaginas. Likes to think that she’s being provocative by using the word vagina a lot and making lots of puns to advertise her play. e.g., “spread the word”, “think inside the box.” Here’s a clever pun for your campaign, Eve: “This play’s dialogue is tighter than a 12-year-old Thai prostitute.”

Aggravating Factor: Started V-Day, a campaign which seeks to end violence against women worldwide in five years by enlisting the likes of Brooke Shields to wear t-shirts with a red V on them. Wholeheartedly believes that asking Claire Danes questions like, “What would your vagina say if it could speak?” is the path to end thousands of years of violence. (Claire’s answer: “Hooray for this!”)

Aesthetic: Women’s Studies professor at a Pennsylvania liberal arts college.


Misdeeds: Without question one of the most smarmy, vile, hypocritical talking heads on television. Has the uncanny ability to vilify and generalize those who disagree with him, and then state that he’s not a partisan person. Exploits his devout Catholicism and patriotism to the point that it makes you think he’s selling something-like his book, whose cover features his giant head in front of one of the glossiest, waviest American flags ever. Much of his wrath can probably be traced to his displeasure that Reagan still can’t remember his name although he’s met him many times.

Aggravating Factor: Since 9/11, pretends to be genuinely convinced that anyone who disagrees with the Bush administration does not want America to be safe.

Aesthetic: Repressed kid from Long Island who got to college, was scared of sex, discovered other repressed white kids in conservative student group, joined them, devoted rest of life to blasting people who didn’t.


Misdeeds: Expecting people to care about his shitty childhood because he is white. Dissing his mama. Lifting weights after he got famous. Is the official voice of white teenage suburban boys. Has already worn out his shock value to the extent that his next album will have to include slurs against parapalegics and land-mine victims just to raise eyebrows.

Aggravating Factor: For someone who sells millions of records partly due to making fun of other people, has no sense of humor about himself.

Aesthetic: Trailer-trash cracker with just a hint of Down’s Syndrome.


Misdeeds: Penned the not-so-subtle propaganda ballad, “God Bless the U.S.A.” This guy should actually embarrass most Southerners. Seems to be under the impression that he has a career of some sort.

Aggravating Factor: Entire career rests on whether or not the United States is at war with somebody.

Aesthetic: The straight, leather jacket-wearing twin brother of Christopher Lowell.


Misdeeds: Uses glasses to upgrade her image from WASP-y soccer mom to WASP-y soccer mom who reads. Thought dying her hair black would make her a real journalist. Cried on camera while reporting from Ground Zero.

Aggravating Factor: Has quite possibly the whitest name you can imagine. Her name is the equivalent of a black person named La’ Shawna Jackson-Watkins.

Aesthetic: Co-chair of the Elk Woods Country Club charity golf tournament.


Misdeeds: Many will wonder why George Bush isn’t on this list. Well, he is-in the person of White House strategist Karl Rove. Known in Washington as “Bush’s Brain,” Rove was a legend for many years among bar-frequenting Texas journalists, who noted that the insane drunken ramblings that came out of Rove’s mouth on Sunday night often escaped Bush’s lips on Monday afternoon. The inventor of such transparent lunacies as “compassionate conservatism” and the hidden hand behind much of the post-9/11 imagery surrounding the presidency, Rove is even better and more ruthless at his job than mean-spirited cancer victim Lee Atwater, and his presence virtually guarantees continued Bush rule through 2008.

Aggravating Factor: In 1970, he used a false identity to gain entry to the campaign offices of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon, who was running for state treasurer. Once inside, Rove swiped some letterhead stationery and sent out 1,000 bogus invitations to the opening of the candidate’s headquarters promising “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing.”

Aesthetic: Boss Hogg with a CPA.


Misdeeds: After a stint as a slightly annoying, but amusingly tolerable cokehead, Robin Williams decided he wanted to be a serious actor. His first incarnation was that of an iconoclastic goofball who upsets the stuffy establishment with his hijinks, while making people laugh and ending the movie with a tearful, impassioned plea to live life to its fullest. After that, Williams took it upon himself to remind everyone how great the human condition is because no matter how many times life gets you down, you can still laugh, and that’s what matters. He is now in his I’m-a-serious-actor-because-I-can-be-scary phase of his career.

Aggravating Factor: Even though everyone already kisses his ass, he still feels the need to win people over on TV appearances with those madcap improvisational impressions that he’s been doing for years. His latest standup comedy tour and HBO special was akin to a 22-year-old hanging out at a high school parking lot, trying to prove he’s still cool.

Aesthetic: Your short, hairy, annoying uncle


Misdeeds: Represents everything that is corrupt and wrong in the Catholic Church. As archbishop of Los Angeles, Mahony personally lobbied for and oversaw the construction of the $189.5-million-dollar Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, despite protests against a “fat cat cathedral” and evidence that the site chosen was a sacred Indian burial ground. The cathedral also boasts two conference centers, separated by a cafe and gift shop, with catering,, projection screens, and high-speed DSL access. Apparently, the LA archdiocese is unfamiliar with the Bible passage where Jesus throws the money changers out of the temple, or the part about a rich man getting into heaven being like a camel going through the eye of a needle, or the part that says you should not molest children, or just about any part except that one passage where Jesus takes a break from washing a leper’s feet to relax in the elegant atmosphere of an air-conditioned conference center.

Aggravating Factor: Exactly 16 days after the dedication of the cathedral, Cardinal Mahony announced that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest, would have to lay off 60 workers and cut eight programs due to a $4.3 million dollar deficit. The cardinal explained that the deficit was actually not related to the cost of the cathedral, but was in fact due to losses from investments in the stock market.

Aesthetic: Close your eyes and picture someone that acts like a CEO and protects people who molest children. Can you picture him yet? Now put a little red hat on him and a bunch of fancy robes. There you go!


Misdeeds: Too egregious even to mention; all should have their passports revoked and be deported to Myanmar.

Aggravating Factor: Ben Wallace repeatedly abused under the basket by Argentinean forwards.

Aesthetic: Hip-hop in retreat.


Misdeeds: Their entire life up to this point. The Olsen twins starred as the precocious Michelle on the abysmal Full House, a television show so vile that any sensible person would rather watch an abortion gone horribly wrong than sit through five minutes of it. As of this date the twins have sold 29 million books, 1.5 million albums, and 30 million videos. They also have their own line of video games, a magazine, CD-ROMs, and a fashion and lifestlye line available at Walmart which teach young girls that it’s OK to be walking through piles of shit as long as you have a cute skirt and flirty earrings.

Aggravating Factor: Their company expects to rake in roughly 1 billion dollars in sales in the next year, which hopefully a crooked manager will steal from them because these sluts are already worth $38 million each.

Aesthetic: One half Britney Spears, one half Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ


Misdeeds: This walking sunglass ad earnestly believes he was born in precisely the right era to seize the moment and sell all the Bono he can get rid of to a wandering Diaspora of displaced lefties who are so certain their world encompassing only the simple conflicts of apartheid and rogue whaling would get them into their 50s. For all his worry and empathy directed toward the tribulations of the afflicted, he sure has a lot of time left over for schlock pop songineering and post-hipster cinematic abortions.

Aggravating Factor: He becomes visibly more inane and pandering by the video-byte and yet shows no sign of fading from our view.

Aesthetic: Stockard Channing circa-Grease meets Bob Geldof circa-Sun City with a computer-projected 23-year aging factor.

3. YOU

Misdeeds: Your life is an empty void from birth to death, and you think that just because you reproduced, you invented the wheel. Emptiness on a grand scale is the crime of celebrities; the rest of us are lost in a sea of misdemeanors… each other.

Aggravating Factor: We’re one of you.

Aesthetic: None.


Misdeeds: CEO of Fair Isaac, the nation’s largest credit scoring agency, and the one primarily responsible for the system that allows auto amd health insurance companies to charge vastly higher rates to people who have faulty credit histories. It’s bad enough that you can’t get credit if you have some problems in your past; now your late Visa payments might make it harder for you to drive or see a doctor.

Aggravating Factor: Anonymous nature of credit industry makes it virtually impossible to find any personal information about one of the most powerful people in the country.

Aesthetic: A faceless ghost who hovers like a cloud over most people every day, infecting them with worries.


Misdeeds: Goebbels with tits. The phenomenon we all should have seen coming; the merger of bimbo sex appeal and neo-fascist vituperation. In an age when every Hollywood hero is a CIA administrator and people express their rebelliousness by playing the stock market, it only makes sense that we’d have a sex symbol who lobbies to massacre foreigners and forcibly convert the survivors to Christianity. Charlene Tilton seems a distant memory.

Aggravating Factors: Explaining political sympathies: “I love Texas Republicans! They’re these beautiful women, they’re so great-looking, they’re completely loaded. They’re dripping in this gorgeous jewelry.” Believes John Walker Lindh should be executed, so college liberals will understand that “they can be killed, too.”

Aesthetic: Eva Braun meets Sex and the City meets Alpha Rho Lambda.

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Velma’s Nekkid City


On my way to the Rendezvous, this really weird bar in this weird neighborhood on the West Side with these people called pipsters or something, to see the band of this guy at my AA meetings, my car crapped out on Delaware Avenue, right near to Hertel. I went walking down Hertel to find a phone but the sidewalk and street were all torn up like a bomb had dropped and I couldn’t get anywhere in the spike heels I had on. I went into this bar called The Viridian to see if I could find a phone and have a drink.

First of all, I’d swear I had walked into Saturday Night Fever or whatever with all the mirrors and chintzy, fake chrome but I kind of liked the place. It was really small but you felt like there was more to the joint behind the mirrors. Then I noticed all these Guido “how you doin’ guys” like a bunch of prisoners or some shit just staring at me all rude like I was on TV or something and not even in the same room with them.

I looked at one of them, this way-Guinea, grease-goof with a gold chain that looked it was pulled off of Barbara Bush, and said, “Down boy, your lipstick’s showing.” At first the pansy put his head down, but all his buddies, who were ages like 20 up to two-hundred and twenty, started “ooh”-ing and “ah”-ing and he got all brave and said “Just lookin’.” And then, when I was almost over to the phone, he mumbled, “ya fuckin’ bitch.” I wasn’t in the mood for this shit, but I stopped and looked at him all cold and then called about ninety people before I thought to call my cousin Curtis. He’s been real nice to me the last few years. Nobody else in the family wants him around because they all say he’s gay or whatever. But I don’t give a shit. At least he’s not in jail. He jokes though that he wouldn’t mind it.

Anyway, he’d never heard of the bar and said he didn’t usually hang out around Hertel too much but he’d be down in a little while.

So, I had to wait there with those cologne-cloud, pretend-gangsters. I ordered a margarita and the girl didn’t know what was in one and I didn’t either so I just got a beer and played some Prince songs on the jukebox. It was really loud, which was cool, but then one of those Corleone rejects comes over and tries out his lines.

“What’s that you’re drinking?”

“Budweiser, Einstein.”

“Never seen you in here before.”

“Yeah, I’m a house wench; I don’t wander out to the barn much.”

Then he’s like “hey, what’s your problem? I’m just trying to have a conversation.”

So I’m all like, “Fine, have it over there with your circle jerk. And put that pinky ring back on your dick before it crawls back in its hole.”

So now, Guiseppe or whoever is getting steamed and he walks back over to his little sewing bee and starts railing on about me so’s I can hear him, “cocksucking bitch,” and other such poetry.

So like twenty minutes later Curtis shows up and as soon as he hits the place, the little grease pool at the other end of the bar, you’d swear a space ship had landed, they’re all going “Jesus fuckin’ Christ, a fucking faggot.”

For whatever reason Curtis wanted to get going right away but I wanted one more drink. So Curtis finally gave in and sat down and sure as shit here comes Fiat and Ferrari.

“Do you mind if we dance with your lady friend”, they says to Curtis.

And Curtis goes, “well, that’s not up to me.”

“Oh yeah,” says Tony.

Finally I says, “Get lost spaghetti dick.”

He says to me, “you can stay, but your cocksucker girlfriend here needs to leave.’

I turned to the cum dumpster behind the bar and said, “can you tell Sicily sissy here to leave us the fuck alone?”

She says, “They’re pretty serious about this.”

So me and Curtis stood up to leave and I drained the end of my beer, but Curtis, who had barely touched his, left it on the bar. We stepped toward the door and one of the Sopra-NOs pushed Curtis pretty hard in the back and he fell forward, past me. I turned around and put my finger up to the wussy and said, “watch it, you twat-for-a-dick.”

That’s when the gooffella slapped my hand away and grabbed my arm; trying to give me one those “get in line bitch” shakes. He pulled me up to his face and his breath smelled like goat shit and it reminded me of my dad when he would slap me around.

I grabbed him by his dandelion-puff-thin hair and forced him to the floor. Then I squatted over him and squeezed my knees against his ears in a scissor lock and reached back and grabbed Curtis’s beer off the bar, put my thumb over the hole, shook it up and turned it down into Vito’s gullet. I rammed the bottle in and out of his mouth like I was fucking an elephant. Foam and shit oozed all over his face and eyes and he was wriggling his head around trying to get free. I could hear teeth getting bashed by the bottle and beer was going down the wrong pipe. When I let him go he was gagging and choking, all bent over on his knees trying to breathe.

Me and Curtis left and nobody followed us.


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We failed you, Buffalo, and we’re sorry. The failure pains us even more because we take our responsibility as a beacon of civic truth so seriously.

In response to the Common Council redistricting issue, we wanted desperately to show that Buffalo was missing the point in its argument over whether to eliminate four, six, or none of its elected leaders. We’d hoped that an unusual BEAST survey would reveal that they were ALL morons, and that the city would do better placing its trust in 13 heads of lettuce than in nine or even seven expensive lawmakers.

But our survey fell short of being comprehensive. As a result, we can only report that many of the city’s lawmakers, while perhaps not being unfit for office exactly, might do well to go back to school–and by that we mean junior high school–before embarking upon any more ambitious and divisive reform initiatives.

The Common Council issue reminds us a lot of the upcoming baseball strike. Both sides started out with plenty of options, graudally eliminated all the reasonable solutions, and have by now railroaded each other onto a path leading directly toward the worst possible scenario, one in which both sides really lose. In baseball, a strike will cripple a business that made both sides rich. In Buffalo, the redistricting issue will lead to hideous race problems in a city already full enough with them.

The basic storyline that The Buffalo News and other local media has mainly followed in covering the uproar over a plan to eliminate four council seats–three of which are occupied by black council members–has been that of the black contingent playing the race card on the one hand, and the rest of the civilized world (read: white Buffalo) on the other accusing them of being self-seeking jobholders needlessly inflaming the public.

Most everybody who has made any public pronouncement on the issue has fallen on one side or the other of the Either/Or conception of the story, i.e. either it’s racism, or it’s a necessary move to reduce municipal spending in a city that’s already fired numerous teachers and policemen. Another common Either/Or paradigm: either James Pitts and his followers are cynical hacks bent on saving their jobs at the expense of fiscal sanity and racial unity, or they’re responsible representatives fighting to retain power for their people.

Almost no one has been willing to say what seems to obvious here: that all of these things are true. Are the cuts economically necessary? Obviously the city can’t afford all of these council members, and obviously it looks extremely bad when six white council members propose eliminating three black seats. At the same time, Pitts is obviously a crudely self-seeking politician, while it is also obviously true that the people he represents are extremely pissed about the black/white ratio being reduced in the Council and would want him to fight it out to the end.

Hell, if we were black, we’d feel the same way. The at-large system in this country was primarily designed to reduce black voting power during the reconstruction, when the black populations in cities were not so high. Now whitey wants to end the system because it “doesn’t make sense”–well, that would sound like bullshit to us, too.

All of which leads us to the conclusion that the whole thing is an enormous mess, and that we don’t have the slightest idea of what anyone could do to make it all better now. However, we did think to ask one illustrative question. In retaining this or that council member, what, exactly, is being retained? Who are these people we’re fighting over? Using a unique scientific method, we decided to find out.

What we did was call each of the council members posing as a Gallup pollster–”Mark Greenberg”–and ask each of them to answer a “spot survey of elected officials” about the upcoming military action in Iraq. We read off a series of statements to each legislator we reached, asking them to respond in one of four ways: “Agree,” “Disagree,” “Agree Strongly,” and “Disagree Strongly.”

One of the things you learn after years of working in journalism is that few public officials will ever admit to not knowing something when asked. Politicians, academics, and particularly spoksemen from research think-tanks will seldom pass up the opportunity to make a statement on any issue, even if they have no idea what they’re talking about. Even if they should know what they’re talking about, and don’t, prudent silence is rarely if ever offered.

The first council member we got on the phone was Joe Golombek of the North District. The former teacher with the pocket-protector nerd appearance has a Master’s Degree in history from Marquette, but you’d never know it from his poll answers. The first question in each survey was straight. After that, we started in with the curveballs…

BEAST:   Okay, first question. “The U.S. has the right to launch a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.”

Golombek:   I don’t know… undecided.

bedouin.jpgBEAST:   Okay… undecided… Second question. “Saddam Hussein has at least some control of the Bedouin territories in Northern Iraq.”

This is a bit of a cheap question, but we had to test the waters. The territories in northern Iraq are Kurdish, not Bedouin. There are scarcely any Bedouins left in Iraq, or indeed in the world outside of video copies of Lawrence of Arabia.

Golombek:   Well, I’ve heard that’s true.

BEAST:   So should I put “agree”?

Golombek:   I suppose.

We followed that with two straight questions, one about the 1991 Gulf War resolution and another about whether or not Iraq poses a terrorist threat. Then we came to the real test question–to see if Golombek could recognize the difference between Iraqi geography and a shitty white funk band:

BEAST:   Last question. “The planned invasion would be motivated at least in part by a desire to extend U.S. influence to the petroleum fields of the Jamiroquai province.”

Golombek:   I strongly agree.

jamiroquai.jpgLegislative opinion about Jamiroquai’s talents turned out to be sharply divided. The Niagara district’s Dominic Bonifacio, for instance, was far more decisive in his answers than Golombek. He strongly agreed that the U.S. had a right to invade Iraq, and strongly agreed that the U.S. had real reason to be concerned about a Iraqi terrorist attack. As for Saddam Hussein’s control over the fictional Bedouin territories, he had no doubt about that:

BEAST:   Second question. “Saddam Hussein has at least some control over the Bedouin territories in northern Iraq.”

Bonifacio:   Oh, I agree with that.

Likewise, Bonifacio scoffed that the unpatriotic suggestion that the U.S. as mainly interested in Jamiroquai’s oil fields:

BEAST:   “The planned invasion would be motivated at least in part by a desire to extend U.S. influence to the Jamiroquai oil fields.”

Bonifacio:   (angrily) I strongly disagree.

After talking to these two, we realized that we had to make the test a little harder. Once we did, we ran into a surprise. When we contacted David Franczyk’s office, the Councilman himself wasn’t in. However, his assistant, attorney Michael Kuzma, quickly asked if he could answer the poll on Franczyk’s behalf. Kuzma has an interesting biography that we will probably elaborate upon at some point, and also happens to be Dick Kern’s lawyer; it was a bit surprising to hear him bargaining on the phone.

BEAST:   Uh, I’m not sure… the survey is of elected officials.

Kuzma:   I’m his assistant and his chief of staff. Does that qualify?

BEAST:   Um… sure. Why not?

Kuzma:   Okay.

Kuzma’s answers were directly opposite to Bonifacio’s. He saw U.S. skullduggery everywhere. He strongly disagreed with our first few questions, then didn’t slow down when we tossed him a curve:

BEAST:   Question three. “U.S. lead negotiator Anders Rasmussen is doing everything he can to avoid a military confrontation.”

Kuzma:   I strongly disagree!

Anders Rasmussen is the Prime Minister of Denmark, and there are no negotiations with Iraq going on right now. We pushed on:

BEAST:   Last question. “The planned invasion would be motivated at least in part by a desire to extend U.S. influence to the petroleum fields in the Jamiroquai province.”

Kuzma paused for a very long time. We thought he had us.

Kuzma:   (after seven seconds) I would have to say that I agree with that.

The next council member we reached was Marc Coppola. Of all of them (with the possible exception of Richard Fontana; more on him later) he came the closest to passing the test. He was candid and more than once refused to answer a question he didn’t know the answer to. In fact, he gave us a great disclaimer at the start of the interview:

BEAST:   …we’ll be giving a series of statements, and then after each one you’ll say, “agree,” disagree,” “strongly agree,” strongly disagree…”

Coppola:   Okay. Just so you know, I don’t really have any strong opinions at this point, so…

BEAST:   Okay.

Coppola:   So I don’t know how helpful I can be.

BEAST:   Okay! Well, we’ll just play it…

Coppola:   We’ve got our own little mess over here.

BEAST:   I understand. With the redistricting business, you’re probably very busy.

Coppola:   (sighing) Yeah.

We pushed on with the test. As to whether or not the U.S. has a right to invade Iraq, Coppola candidly answered “undecided.” And he didn’t know anything about any Bedouin territories. As for Jamiroquai:

BEAST:   Next question: “The planned invasion is motivated in part by a desire to extend U.S. influence over the petroleum fields in the Jamiroquai province.”

Coppola:   (laughing) I don’t know about that province. I think it has something to do with it, but I don’t know specifically. I would have to say either I agree, or I don’t know.

Fair enough! After that, we moved on to the really hard question; it turns out Coppola’s geography is a little shaky:

BEAST:   Last question. “The U.S. should revoke aid to Liechtenstein if it refuses to allow the United States to place troops along its border with Iraq in the event of an invasion.”

Coppola:   (pausing for a long time) I would have to say I agree.


In between reaching these four, we were in the middle of striking out in our attempts to get most of the rest of the council on the phone. Pitts and Fisher, perhaps wisely, refused to return repeated calls. Gray not only didn’t return our call; her secretary flatly told us she would not take our call under any circumstances. Davis was out of town until September 3.

burkinafaso.jpgAs for Thompson, we screwed up badly: he called back, but unfortunately while we happened to be on the phone. Call waiting forwarded him through to the BEAST answering machine, where we found a somewhat suspicious message from the former track star. No big loss; from what we can tell, Thompson is the sharpest of the

bunch and would have been tough to fool on the phone. A man who studied in Ghana is not likely to think Liechtenstein borders Iraq. You never know, though.

ls-map.jpgFontana, meanwhile, took our call. We identified ourselves in this one as actually being from the BEAST and simply tried to get him to comment on a nonexistent news story, asking him about the “upcoming anti-WTO demonstrations in Halifax, Nova Scotia,” which of course are not planned at all.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Fontana said bluntly. A few minutes later, we squirmed out of the call.

The only remaining member to reach was Betty Jean Grant. After repeated phone calls, we finally got her on the phone for the Gallup poll. It took some doing even to get the questions going, however:

BEAST:   First question. “The U.S. is justified in launching a pre-emptive invasion into Iraq.”

Grant:   I disagree. Because I don’t know why they launched it. Can you tell me why they launched it?

BEAST:   (startled) Um, well, we haven’t launched it yet. But there’s talk of doing so.

Grant:   Why?

BEAST:   Based on the belief that Iraq has chemical and, possibly, nuclear weapons that they’re hiding.

Grant:   That’s not the only nation that has it, right… the only nation that has nuclear weapons?

BEAST:   No, but the fear is that Iraq qould use these weapons.

Grant:   Does India have it, and does the Pakistan have the weapons also?

BEAST:   Yes, they have nuclear weapons. I’m not sure about chemical weapons.

Grant:   So why is Iraq targeted? China has nuclear weapons too, we’re not launching anything against China. Why is Iraq targeted? That’s what I don’t understand.

BEAST:   (sternly) That’s not really the point of the poll.

We moved on. Grant candidly said she didn’t know anything about any Bedouin territories. She sensibly said she thought an act of war should have congressional approval. As for designs upon the oil of the Jamiroquai province, she said, “That’s a possibility. That would be ‘agree somewhat.’” We added a few more questions:

BEAST:   Next question. “The U.S. should wait to see if initiatives like the Ottawa peace resolution pan out before resorting to military action.”

Grant:   I strongly agree.

There is no Ottawa Peace resolution, nor any peace initiative being offered. We moved on:

BEAST:   Do you think the U.S. should revoke its aid to Burkina Faso if it does not allow our army to place troops along its border with Iraq?

Grant:   What kind of aid do we give? If it’s humanitarian aid, then I don’t think any humanitarian aid should be revoked? If military aid, then I strongly agree it should be revoked.

Nice sentiment, except that Burkina Faso is in Africa. God help us all.

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By Slidell Montgomery

Ah, the brisk autumn air. The ivy-cloaked brick walls. The security of your flask of sipping whiskey, nestled in the inside pocket of your full-length raccoon coat.

You’ll long remember the easy walks, charged with anticipation, just you and your classmates–your mates for life to come–trouncing through the ankle deep blanket of bright-colored leaves on your way to one dreamy, afternoon, gridiron gala after another.

For UB football fans, it will be more like: take Millersport Highway to the suburban multi-purpose stadium at the edge of the Amherst campus, stuff a couple Molsons into your outdated hip hop jeans and sneak under the fence for some NCAA Division I-A disparity.

This will be the UB Bulls fourth foray into the elite ranks of the top competitive bracket of college football. They enter the 2002 campaign ranked, by Sports Illustrated Magazine, 112 of 117. Coming off a 3-8 effort last year, the Bulls open against Lehigh.

The Bulls enter this year with a roster as green as a Pop Warner team.

But they ain’t doin’ bad for a school who only re-entered I-A competition in 1999. They will be tested against the likes of Big 10 fixture Minnesota and 17th ranked conference rivals Marshall.

Lehigh, Kent State, Connecticut and Ohio will be the Bulls surest opportunities for triumph. They return running back Marquis Dwante(588 rushing yards in 2001) and sophomore quarterback Randall Secky(15-of-35 for 153 yards in four appearances).

UB has done much to stir up interest, as last week’s kickoff pep rally featured veteran rocker Pat Benetar and skate legend Tony Hawk, all for a $15 ticket. Forget that Benetar played Thursday In The Square this summer, which I understand is free. And Tony Hawk is so overexposed he’s probably long boarding around Walden Galleria right now.

Yesterday’s evening home-opener featured a team introduction by that obnoxious WWF announcer Michael Buffer and a halftime gag from some guy called Rocketman.

The Beast forecasted for yesterday’s game: UB victorious over Lehigh 36-5 (which will require a safety on the part of the opponents)

Aug. 29 LEHIGH 7:30 pm Sept. 7 at Rutgers 7:00 pm Sept. 14 CONNECTICUT 7:30 pm Sept. 21 at Minnesota 2:30 pm

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While the mainstream sporting press focuses on such trifles as the quarterback controversies in Washington, Tampa Bay, and San Diego, the BEAST has had its deformed eye on the more important fan issues still developing this preseason. Here’s an overview of some of the trends worth watching as we head toward the regular season:


capers.jpgThe rookie crops of the last four or five years have sharply changed the NFL name dynamic. The “Terrell/Terrelle” skill-position player craze appears to be
petering out, while a whole host of new name trends has been taking hold. Of these, none seems more explosive than the new emphasis on the unnecessary first-name apostrophe. Five years ago, there wasn’t a single player in the NFL with a silent, auxiliary apostrophe at the end of his first name. Now, there are nearly a dozen, including cornerbacks Andre’ Goodman (Lions) and Dre’ Bly (Rams), tight end Daunte’ Finger (Rams), wide receivers Andre’ Davis (Browns) and Donte’ Stallworth (Saints), linebacker Andra’ Davis (Browns; not to be confused with teammate Andre’) and guard Tre’ Johnson (Browns), among others.

In Stallworth and Andre’ Davis, both of whom have been clocked in the 40 at under 4.3 seconds, the NFL now probably boasts the world’s two fastest silent/meaningless apostrophes. There must have been some good weed being passed around in the football breeding grounds about 20 years ago. Keep an eye on this trend, it’s booming…

Another name trend that went from pervasive to completely out of control between last season and this one is the AttenTion-GrabBing capital letter in the middle of the first name. While veterans like LaRoi Glover, LaVar Arrington and Je’Rod Cherry have given NFL fans an opportunity to warm up to the secondary capital letter on a gradual basis, the uninitiated this year might find himself overwhelmed because of newcomers like LeCharles Bentley (Saints), DeShaun Foster (Panthers) DeVeren Johnson (Cowboys), and over a dozen more.

In the pantheon of secondary capital-letter NFL names, Buffalo’s own second-year linebacker DaShon Polk might be one of the tamer entries; on the other hand, the amazingly named DeMarkis Faggins (Texans) looks like an early favorite to win the fourth annual Earthwind Moreland/Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila NFL Name of the Year Award. If he makes the team, that is. Stay tuned for the FiNal TalLy…

Last but not least, it’s time for the yearly update on the spiraling Antoine situation. Three years ago, there were only two or three different spellings of the name “Antoine” on NFL rosters. This year, there are a total of seven. Some examples: Antuan Edwards (Packers), Antwaan Randle-El (Steelers), Buffalo’s own traditionally-spelled Antoine Winfield, Twan Russell (Dolphins), and New England Patriots Antowain Smith, Antwoine Womack, and Antwan Harris. You need 22 to field a full game; at this rate, the NFL will make it by about 2005. Keep an eye on the free agent wire this summer to see if the number gets up to eight or nine before the first kickoff.


All the major NFL cliches have had excellent off-seasons. Just a few games into the exhibition schedule, we’ve already had a player sidelined with “Flu-like symptoms” (linebacker Peter Sirmon, Titans), had “thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family” (numerous coaches and players around the league following the spinal injury to Houston’s Leomont Evans), and seen a strong resurgence in the “and things of that nature” interview sound byte.

SpurrierIn the latter case, the arrival in Washington of Steve Spurrier–who was a notorious “things of that nature” sound-byte baron while at Florida–has triggered a boom in cliche-mongering among new coaches. Here’s Spurrier on Shane
Matthews, in what appears to be his inaugural NFL cliche: “He’s not been real diligent in the weight room and things of that nature.”

Here’s another new coach, Tampa Bay’s Jon Gruden: “We’ve been on the field working our foot work, the terminology and things of that nature.”

San Diego’s Marty Schottenheimer: “You can’t walk in and effectively change 40 percent of the personnel group and add new coaches and things of that nature and expect that after four preseason games, you are going to step in line and start off where you think you can be.”

This being the preseason, other coaches are opting for the more traditional exhibition game cliches. To date, only one, however, has opted for the “bullets flying” phrase, use of which traditionally surges in weeks three and four of the exhibition season, as the real season approaches. “I like what I’ve seen from our new corners,” Carolina coach John Fox said, “but until we get out there and the bullets start flying in game conditions and the preseason and training camp, the jury’s still out.”

Oddly enough, not a single “dreaded high ankle sprain” has appeared in the news yet. Bills left tackle Jonas Jennings went down shortly before press time with a high-ankle sprain, but team officials have declined so far to say whether or not it is dreaded. More updates in the following issue on cliche usage this year…


Never before has such utter hair chaos ruled the NFL. In a year in which the sporting world’s most famous haircut repulsively belongs to a soccer player (Brazil’s Ronaldo donned a much-imitated “unicorn shave” for the World Cup), and in which, following Warren Sapp’s amazing decision to shave his cornrows, the most recognizable NFL haircut belongs to draft prognosticator Mel Kiper, Jr., an utter vacuum of personal grooming inspiration now reigns on the gridiron.

What’s next in hair, following last year’s explosive ascension of rows and braids (coupled with black see-through hair-nets)? There’s scarcely the faintest glimmer of a hint this exhibition season. One of last year’s most outstanding hair choices, the braided ponytail of Cincinnati’s elaborately-named seventh-round draft pick T.J. Houshmandzadeh, appeared in the preseason opener to be longer than ever.

warrensapp.jpgPerhaps not coincidentally, Houshmandzadeh looks like’s he’s making a serious run at a starting job over Peter Warrick and Michael Westbrook… And while Sapp has shaved his braids, the other major braid-wearers all seem determined to hold on to the look for at least one more year: Plaxico Burress, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest. Green Bay Packers corner Mike McKenzie even explicitly stated his intention to keep his braids for the immediate future.

“I had the braids back in college,” McKenzie said last month. “The braids were pretty good to me. I did the Afro, the braids and the low fade. I kind of naturally grew into the new look. Chances are they’re going to be with me for a little while.”

Meanwhile, white quarterback hairdos, after the brief scare brought on by the Jon Kitna phenomenon a few years back, appear to have settled back comfortably into anchorman mode.

Only Lions newcomer Joey Harrington offered a whiff of intrigue when he answered a question about his preference between Star Wars princesses Leia and Padme Amidala. “Princess Leia,” answered the former Ducks star during camp. “You’ve got to love the cinnamon-roll hairstyle.”

Could an experiment be in the works? And will Riddell design the helmet to fit the buns? We’ll see as we watch the rest of this preseason.

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