Planet Arnold

Manly men: Many new and counterintuitive phrases were coined during the “catastrophic success” that was last week’s Republican National Convention (RNC), but few were as resonant as our very own Arnold Schwarzenegger’s introduction of “economic girly men” into the international vocabulary.

Actually, the remark triggered an odd sense of déjà vu, recalling a time when Bites was but a lad and Yugoslavia was but one country. Riding a train through Europe, Bites encountered two shady gents looking for someone to feign ownership of their bags before an upcoming border search. Eventually, they convinced an elderly Greek gentleman, half-conscious and reeking of ouzo, to transport what apparently were black-market electronics on their behalf. “American is not real man,” they taunted, and then they pointed to their sprawled-out benefactor. “Greek man is real man.”

And now, decades later, here comes this same kind of taunting, not from some sweltering train barreling toward Yugoslavia, but from the podium of an American national convention—not from some two-bit smugglers, but from California’s telegenic rising-star governor. “We may hit a few bumps, but America always moves ahead,” quoth Arnold, chastising those “who are so pessimistic about the economy. I say, ‘Don’t be economic girly men.’”

So, that’s the problem? Maybe Arnold will go door to door—or corner to corner, for that matter—and tell that to a million people who lost their jobs during the Bush administration. Hell, maybe he can kick some sand in their faces and run off with a few women while he’s at it.

It was also heartening to see Arnold using the convention to climb back into bed with Planet Hollywood, where he held a number of convention-week gatherings. Pop-culture fans will remember this as the theme restaurant that Arnold and co-investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal abandoned shortly after its bankruptcy four years ago. Bites is sure the $80 million lost by the Saudi billionaire (that’s right, the same dude who was going to finance Michael Jackson’s theme park) was just a drop in the bucket, the kind of thing only economic girly men fret over.

And speaking of manly men, how about that young Republican caught on film kicking a woman demonstrator after colleagues dragged her to the floor? The footage (which was posted at shows him in action, followed, moments later, by him denying the whole thing even as he’s confronted by the ABC news crew that caught him on film. Why, he’s almost as inspiring as the manly Las Vegas revelers who hurled their cocktails in rage when Linda Ronstadt dared mention Michael Moore onstage. (Of course, the casino that quickly exiled and badmouthed her was owned—you guessed it—by Planet Hollywood.)

Yes, economic manly men need to stick together.

Perspectives: Speaking of kicking people when they’re down, dearly departed comedian Bill Hicks had a nice routine in which Stacy Koon defends his and his colleagues’ videotaped beating of Rodney King: “Well, it all depends on how you look it,” says Koon in Hicks’ apocryphal account. “For instance, if you run the video backward, we’re actually helping Mr. King up and on his way.”

That’s right, folks, it’s all about your perspective, and it’s no surprise that the 10th-anniversary edition of the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s annual Perspectives conference continues to lean toward the right. Bill O’Reilly, who shines in the newly released Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, will be on hand to tell everyone to shut up, while cross-dressing politician Rudy Giuliani and former RNC Co-chair J.C. Watts bring up the rear. Molly Ivins reprises her role as token liberal, while Jehan Sadat and John Powers lend international intrigue and motivational uplift. The daylong event takes place September 24 at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Patriot Act: Security also will be tight at the Country Club Plaza Mall’s “Patriot Day Celebration” on September 11. Participants will be able to donate blood and supplies for the troops, but Country Club’s Margo Merritt warns that “all letters and sealed containers may be opened for inspection due to strict guidelines.” For those who don’t feel it’s their patriotic duty to go shopping, SN&R and the Interfaith Service Bureau’s A Call for Unity takes place that evening at the Mondavi Center.