Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Here and Now

Thanks for clearing that up, Gov

November 13, 2003|Paul Brownfield | Times Staff Writer

Last month in Sacramento, Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from a budget meeting with State Treasurer Phil Angelides and said of the state's fiscal crisis: "The problem was created over the last five years, and so you can't expect that -- even though I've played very, very heroic characters in the movies, but you can't expect me to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

If you clean up his grammar, Schwarzenegger said: "Even though I've played very, very heroic characters in the movies, you can't expect me to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

Now that the grammar is relatively clean, let's repeat together: "Even though I've played very, very heroic characters in the movies, you can't expect me to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

OK. Now let's substitute two of those heroic characters for the "very, very heroic characters in the movies" part of the statement. How about Gordy Brewer in "Collateral Damage" and Harry Tasker (Jewish? Sorry, never mind) in "True Lies." Now let's read again.

"Even though I've played Gordy Brewer in 'Collateral Damage' and Harry Tasker in 'True Lies,' you can't expect me to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

Good. Now let's take a look at another part of the statement, the "you can't expect me to walk into his office" part. The "you" clearly means you, the voters, and the "me" is clearly the governor-elect who, we've already established, played Gordy Brewer in "Collateral Damage" and the possibly Jewish Harry Tasker in "True Lies."

Ready? Here we go: "Even though I've played Gordy Brewer in 'Collateral Damage' and Harry Tasker in 'True Lies,' the voters can't expect Gordy or Harry to walk into his office and all of a sudden come out with the answers."

The final piece of the statement, "all of a sudden come out with the answers," pretty much seems to mean what it means. "All of a sudden" could be shortened to "suddenly," and "come out with the answers" could, without prejudice, I think, be changed to "fix the economy."

And so we arrive at the statement: "Even though I've played Gordy Brewer in 'Collateral Damage' and Harry Tasker in 'True Lies,' the voters can't expect Gordy or Harry to walk into his office and suddenly fix the economy."

To which I wondered: Did the governor-elect feel he needed to clear this up for the voters, that he wasn't actually Gordy Brewer or the lapsed Jew Harry Tasker? Am I late in realizing this?

I called his press office and got a call back from a spokesman, H.D. Palmer. I read him the quote. "You've seen him use a similar type of construct in the fires," Palmer said. He noted that when Schwarzenegger met with firefighters on the line, he pointed out that "in my movies I play heroes, but these firefighters, they are the true heroes."

Again, however, I'm confused. Didn't we already know this, that there's a difference between a firefighter risking his life and a person not actually risking his life because he's risking it in a movie, which in fact is not the same as real life -- it's just risky movie behavior?

Palmer said it was a rhetorical issue, the Schwarzenegger statement, not a literal one. "He ran on a very strong agenda for change, and that's why people sent him to Sacramento," Palmer said. I felt a little better and resisted the urge to ask, "Who he? Arnold he or Tasker he? Because if it's Tasker he, I've seen 'True Lies.' "

That dude's can-do.

Paul Brownfield can be contacted at paul.brownfield@latimes.com.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|