There was this great sitcom from the 1970s called “WKRP in Cincinnati” about an inept radio station. Its most famous episode involved turkeys. The plot centered around the radio station’sturkey giveaway for Thanksgiving. The station’s GM and advertising exec both thought it was a great idea to drop the birds from a helicopter on an unsuspecting public at one of the city’s malls. What followed was classic lines, like the newsman covering the event saying that the turkeys were “falling like bags of wet cement.” After the PR disaster, the GM said in his best deadpan voice, “as God is my witness I thought turkeys could fly.”
Well, the traditional holiday bird was center stage again last week in Alaska, where Gov. Sarah “Pilgrim” Palin pardoned Tom Turkey. But the rest of the birds weren’t so lucky, as we’re all aware as to what happens on turkey farms. This time, though, we actually saw the fate of Tom’s buddies as Palin gave a post-pardon interview while behind her in the same camera frame the unlucky fowl were getting decapitated. Yes it’s “Turkeys Gone Wild” (as opposed to Wild Turkey). When shown on newscasts nationwide, the slaughtering of the birds was blocked out, although it was obvious what was going down (or in this case, coming off.) But Palin just kept talking. She even was unintentionally psychic when she told the reporter that she, referring to the pardon, not the interview, “will probably invite criticism for doing this.”
After the Wasilla bird carnage was in the books, Palin said she had “no worries” about what was filmed — that it wasn’t a problem. Of course later her office said she denied saying that it wasn’t a problem. Let’s talk turkey here — no reason to call fowl, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. But it was “WKRP” funny. There’s something about turkeys meeting their fate … The Palin incident, though, may spealk to what’s happening toher flock — metaphorically speaking. Palin has relished being in the media since losing the election. Sara-cuda in the fishbowl. Every step she makes will invite TV bloodhounds. Including photo ops from hell like this one. A goldmine for every comedy show that can get its hands on the video.
File this one under “Birdbrain pardons bird.”
In the ‘Cat’-bird’s seat
Yusuf Isam was interviewed last week by Tavis Smiley on PBS. Yusuf is better known as Cat Stevens, a popular recording artist from the 1970s who had hit songs like “Wild World” and “Peace Train” — post hippie songs if you will. He found religion and disappeared from the music bidness for 30 years. Now he’s back and singing some of his golden oldies like “Morning has Broken” and “Father and Son” — the latter tune an anthem to the generation gap of the time that includes the timeless line: “From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen.”
A gentle soul, Islam talked about how in 2005 he was detained by government agents at the D.C. airport — a victim of racial profiling because he shared the same name as an alleged terrorist. The Cat man was anything but bitter about the incident — and even joked that while he was being interrogated and agents found out he really was the former Cat Stevens, some of them asked for his autograph.
The joke at the time of his being racially profiled was that America can’t capture Osama bin Laden, but dammit we caught Cat Stevens.