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James Campion - Reality check

No one glides more comfortably in the straits of the abyss than myself. I have called the worst part of the human condition home for decades, rode the black steed into the fires of Hades and emerged merrily chomping on a stogie and nursing a German beer. I have been bloodied and battered by first amendment abusers and earned meager wages for trashing nearly every breathing mammal in the employ of modern politics.

But I am here to bemoan the death of the Rudolf Giuliani's tenure as mayor of NYC. I have always loved Uncle Rudy, King of New Gotham, Savior of the Urban Money Pit, Redeemer of the Fractured Island. Somewhere along the mid-90s' I wrote Uncle Rudy was the best public servant of my lifetime, and on his final days in office, I am proud to reiterate it.

I loved Uncle Rudy before it was hip and patriotic and obligatory, because I love New York City, and Uncle Rudy saved it.
I loved Uncle Rudy before he became Time magazine's man of the year, because the gutless editorial department was too frightened to put a mass murderer on its cover. Before the mayor of New York was mayor of the world soon after George Bush sr's chickens came home to roost in the opulence of lower Manhattan. Before the greatest city in the world became the greatest city in the world once again.

Until Uncle Rudy, campaign promises rang as hollow as guarantees from banks or insurance companies. It was, and still is, an accepted joke of the people and their leaders that nothing will really ever be done about anything. "Band-aids on gaping wounds" is how one elder reporter once described a particular campaign speech to me. And he sat through plenty of them. Told me to get another profession. "Stop sniffing after them pant-legs of powerful men who only use the press to inflate their delusions," he snarled. "Then they become your delusions, boy." Those were the images I recall dying a brave death the night Uncle Rudy defeated David Dinkens in a drag out, knock down battle for the soul of New York City. No one in the pubs or the delis or the subway runs from Canal to Columbia, whether they lived on the right or the left wings believed Dinkens could lose. From the Hip Hop fusion of Harlem to the rapacious lunacy of Wall Street, was anyone buying that a Republican could win the mayoral race with spit and fire, much less govern? They'll tell you now they could feel it, but they lie. I can remember listening to that victory speech tooling down the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway, sneaking a peek at the Statue of Liberty by the old bridge and wondering if this crazed New Yawker, this glorified policeman, this shrill for the law-and-order choir that paid him handsomely to battle crooks under the guise of morality would have the balls to take on Mamma Bureaucracy. But they underestimated the little bastard.

Uncle Rudy did no dances and had no diplomacy. He called us cesspool merchants and feeble bleeding hearts and vowed to end the bullshit and clean up the town, New Sheriff and all that old Western nonsense. He had the badge and you could take the highway or bend to his bark. Me and my pal Dibbs heard that bark tooling through Times Square during The Change. This was before MTV and Disney and the rich athletes poured their money into it. You could feel the old harlot coagulate and blister in the artificial midnight sun of the midtown lights. "He's moving all the porn theaters and massage parlors and strip clubs outta here?" he laughed. "We won't be able to see them, but WHO'S KIDDING WHO?" Man we laughed.

That's when we spent all of our money keeping NYC in the black on clubs and pubs and ridiculously over-priced restaurants, and the women at NYU, even though we could see those cameras Uncle Rudy put in Washington Square Park and Union Square and the Bowery. And what the hell happened to the squeegee guys down at the Third Avenue Bridge? And whatdya mean we can't camp out in Central Park by Strawberry Fields or dump the Village Halloween Parade out on the street at four in the morning? And where on earth did all those ornery, crazed indigents go on every corner with the smell, the guilt, and the brick throwing madness? I spent the better part of the late 80s' and early 90s' in NYC when it was a gunner's paradise; the drug capital of Sodom and the cheapest street lay on the Eastern seaboard. But mostly it was a corporation bankrupt with smearing ointments and perfumes on terminal skin diseases. Everyone was leaving, again, like in the 70s', like when the president told us to borrow money from the Saudis and Bella Absug was on the streets with a tambourine and a hat.

Then Uncle Rudy said he was going to clean it up. It wasn't about politics then. Later it became a political circus, like when The Man told George Pataki he could look somewhere else for votes and backed the NYC chairman of the board, Mario Cuomo, a liberal democrat. Then the party booted Uncle Rudy off the VIP list in the '96 convention. But Uncle Rudy couldn't be bothered. He had to bolster the cops and secure the streets, and put the hammer down. And that hammer came down a few times too many, and maybe too hard. Innocents were gunned down like the last days of Saigon and raped in the bathroom of precincts, and it wasn't too popular to be the strong armed mayor defending the blood lust and reminding everyone how NYC was the safest big city on the continent and tourism numbers were at a record high.

Then 9/11/01 happened and Uncle Rudy's brand of the Big Bad was suddenly in vogue and the nation understood that the greasy wheel with the hammer was all the rage when skyscrapers became war zones and firemen and police were heroes again. It was an era of prosperity for anyone who loves the Big Apple, and as much as I claim to love Uncle Rudy, I love NYC even more. Even after the press boys at Gracie Mansion took my name off the list, I talked to him following nearly every Yankees celebration for four years, and he told me how much he would miss all of it. I told him how proud I was of the city, and how it looked like it could withstand anything. It sure did. Now rules are rules and some other guy is promising some other stuff. But it ain't Uncle Rudy. He was the King.

James Campion 2002


Mr. Campion, Beautifully executed article on the plight of Israel. As a former, proud citizen of the state and still interested observer as an American, I can tell you that the situation there has been harmed a great deal by Palestinian propaganda. It is robbing its own people of a proper course of peaceful negotiations and sovereignty. Not to mention the most important ingredient, violence, perpetuated daily by the monsters of Hamas.

Arafat is guilty. Everyone sees this now. You put it into perfectly structured points. It was brave and I am proud to have quoted it recently in a debate and laud your publication for printing its truths. Let us hope that it doesn't die there. Shalom, Eric Here Here, My cousin lives in Israel. A recent e-mail from him told me one of the young men killed in the terrorist attack on the mall last Saturday was to have been married this weekend. He was 23. Instead of being married, he was buried. Let's not forget why the state of Israel was formed. The US responded too late to what was happening in Germany during WWII. Who would have believed what was going on there, yes, but there was an abundance of proof to back up the allegations. By the time religious groups and the government got involved, six million people had perished. Just how many wars need to be fought before it is won? Palestine is a relatively new phenomenon. Judaism has been around for over 5,000 years. And Israel is about the size of Rhode Island. I have no doubt that that little strip of land will be the end of everything we know. Sherri Hey, While were at it let's lay some of the blame were it really belongs, on England! If it weren't for its shoddy, indifferent imperialistic rule of this area of the world for some 30 years they might have actually learned to live together in peace. PJ

Don't fool yourself that all of this will end with Taking out Saddam or Arafat, the people who are supporting all of these terrorist states and groups reside just south of Iraq and unless the house of Saud changes quickly and radically they also must GO. There is no place in this world for the hate that emanates from the Wahhabi Sect of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and discriminates against everyone who is not a Wahhabi Muslim. Just to digress, you have been on quite a roll since you moved to Jersey, is it the water?

Griff Sir, I believe you are missing the point on the Palestinian plight completely. These are people who are terrorized daily by the might of the IDF, as you ironically mention in your column. What recourse do these people have, when they are negotiating from a stacked deck? American money by the billions (also mentioned in the column) is bankrolling the subjugation of a rightful nation, ignored not only by the world, but their Arab brethren throughout the region.

If you have been to Israel, as you claim, you would know that Arafat's continued battle to control Hamas and deal with the indifference of the US government, which believes it can throw money at something because sixty years ago it decided whom a stretch of land in the Middle East would belong to, is hampering his ability to broker a fair and politically motivated peace. Irresponsible efforts of journalists, like yourself continue to misrepresent a cornered nation, denied the right to even express or defend itself on the world stage. BENDER

James, Thanks and G-d bless you for telling it straight in this week's Reality Check ("Israel Under Siege"). In the world of alternative journalism where opinions-disguised0-as-facts often lean toward the loony-Chomskyite, your straight shooting is a breath of fresh air. Of course, those of us who lived in Israel could tell you that this slimey, double-talking, mayhem-dispatching, cheesy Ringo-lookalike never was a "peace partner" to begin with. It's only now that the rest of the world is finally opening its eyes. Once again, I salute you for shouting this from the rooftops. Keep on rockin' in the free world, Heshy a/k/a THE HESH INC.

Campion, I am sick of Georgetown. Get a new character to display your right wing vitriol. No one can be that disgusting, except you and this infuriating crap you pummel me with weekly.
You suck. I love you. Will you have my children? Jennifer

jc, Very entertaining. Who wants to kill your cat?

Steborama Greetings, When you said the "GOP snitch" I thought you meant Linda Trip. Why is the press so interested in reporting what "useful" information this John Walker is giving us? The only "useful" information I want from John Walker is that he's 8 or twelve years old.
Baby Bush's best bet to save the US economy is to put on the war paint. Shit, depleting your war stock is the new "economic stimulus plan". Besides, all the people who want to stamp out terrorism can line up to buy our weapons. And hell, I can get two balloons of heroin now for what it previously cost to buy one. Ain't war great? The longer bin Laden is on the run,(i.e. we allow him to skedadle), the longer we have an enemy to chase. When he's gone, we'll have to demonize Carson Daly, Ellen Degeneres, or the kid who played "Corky" from that show Life Goes On. I don't know what was accomplished by the events of Sept. 11, but I do know that Carrot Top and global warming are government plots to drive down the price of oil. The former is a guarantee to keep people from wanting to visit here, and the latter has reduced the need for heat oil.
Have a good one... bf

Campion, It is always good to hear from Georgetown. He is ugly and petulant and the funniest friggin' guy you know. More of his rants, please. Debra D.

Previous articles by J.C.on Hackwriters




ISRAEL - Blinded by the light?


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