Thursday, August 11, 2016

A WORLD OF 'TOONS

No, the other Huntoon.
Shortly before I entered college in Boston, one of the city's labor unions was holding an election. An office holder, likely unpopular with the rank and file, was a fellow by the name of Huntoon.

At the time, I was unaware of this mundane information. All I knew was that no matter where I walked around town, I'd see the mysterious graffiti GUTLESS HUNTOON scrawled on walls or sidewalks.

It immediately struck a chord with me. "Gutless huntoon" -- without its history, it was just an wacky way to tell off somebody without actually saying anything. Pretty soon, it entered my regular vocabulary. 

What a gutless huntoon that guy is.

Did you hear what that gutless huntoon said?

Never mind him, he's just a gutless huntoon. 

A target didn't necessarily have to be gutless to earn the sobriquet. Any minor infraction, real or imagined, was enough. Annoying people on the street or on TV. It wasn't unusual for a friend to be on the receiving end of a "gutless huntoon" if the mood was right. Nobody took offense, because nobody knew what the hell it meant. "Gutless huntoon"? Whatever you say, Kuz.

I've been thinking about gutless huntoons lately. They're the talking heads, politicians and candidate "surrogates" you see these days. Not all of them. Just most of them. You know they type of person I'm talking about. The ones who have a desperate need to keep their jobs, either in politics or TV, at the cost of their pride, dignity and humanity. 

Turn on MSNBC, CNN or Fox News, right now. I guarantee, within 15 minutes, you'll find yourself muttering, "Gutless huntoon." The more you watch, the more you'll say it, whether alone or with a loved one.


He's not even trying to hide it.
Right now, Paul Ryan is the gold standard, bullshitting his way through mush-mouthed comments about whatever idiotic statement Trump uttered today, condemning him on one hand, supporting him on the other. Gutless huntoon.

And on the other side, Democrats pooh-poohing the pay-to-play connection between donors to the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Gutless huntoons.

Women who rightly encourage us to take charges of sexual assault seriously, except when it comes to Bill Clinton. Gutless huntoons.

Republicans who claim Hillary Clinton will "take away" the Second Amendment when they know that it would take a super majority of Congress and voters to do such a thing, which they know will never happen. Gutless huntoons.

You can be a hero and still be a gutless huntoon. In fact, it's worse that way. Donald Trump ridicules John McCain's POW status. McCain's response? "I'm voting for the nominee." C'mon, John, you're 80 years old, do you really need to get re-elected so badly that you'd sacrifice whatever integrity you have left on the altar of Trump? Gutless huntoon.

What hurts most is when somebody whom I otherwise like qualifies. Bill Maher didn't condemn his good friend, the human badger Ann Coulter, for her hideous tweet regarding the Muslim parents of the soldier killed in combat. Bill, you're one of the few reasons we have HBO. But that night -- gutless huntoon all over the place.

Watch. Listen. Say it aloud when you see them: Gutless huntoon. Pretty soon, it'll be as natural as breathing. You'll have to control yourself not to say it.


Don't be fooled by that
tough look.
News anchors qualify, of course. During the primaries, I saw a Clinton surrogate tell MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that Hillary Clinton was speaking to crowds just as large and enthusiastic as those for Bernie Sanders. Did Mitchell call her out on that blatant falsehood, even when she had video to prove it? What do you think? Gutless huntoon.

Just once, after the Sandy Hook massacre, I wanted to see a reporter ask a pro-gun Congressman, "If one of your children had been killed, would you be for tighter restrictions on assault weapons? Yes or no." Gutless huntoons, every jack one of them.

Next time I'm glad-handed by a local representative looking for my vote, I'd like to put him or her on the spot with a hard hitting question that has them squirming. But I probably won't, because... well, we won't go into that.

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