Yesterday’s Tribune reports that Dan DeVaul may take his story to Good Morning America and/or Larry King Live. That’s the perfect place for a perfectly crafted David & Goliath story of The Little Guy Helping Others While The Evil Government Breaks His Knees With A Baseball Bat. Even better, this story includes going to jail and getting bailed out by a juror, who also may end up on GMA.
Lights! Camera! Fifteen minutes of fame! Of course, I’m betting that a lot of the details of this story will get conveniently lost. It’s likely no mention will be made of DeVaul’s charging rent to the homeless and recovering folks who stay at Sunny Acres. Nor will it likely be mentioned that he’s been out of county code compliance for years and years and years and had he wished to, he could have set up Sunny Acres in such a way so as to come into compliance but instead chose the old passive aggressive playbook: Up Yours AND The Horse You Rode In On.
While the county waffled and wiggled and under then over reacted and so came up as The Perfect Villain, which will play well on TV – a little divertissement for the national audience; small town saints, rubes and their misguided Barney Fife code enforcers.
Locally, Mr. Kyle Wiens of Atascadero wrote to the editor and suggested that since DeVaul needs $400,000 to bring Sunny Acres up to code, that he had just mailed in a check for $4,000 towards that end, and encouraged other business owners and the public to do the same. Excellent idea. If the whole community chipped in, a functioning, properly run homeless shelter/rehab facility could be set up there.
However, before I contributed a dime, I would have to be sure that Mr. DeVaul wasn’t involved with the project in any meaningful way because I suspect, from past behavior, that Mr. DeVaul loves monkey wrenching the County far more than he loves the down and out.
Meanwhile . . .
on the same Trib page (hint, hint, wink-nudge) is a story about a South County coalition that’s been “recently honored with a resolution by the Board of Supervisors, [and] is now officially an incorporated, nonprofit organization and will soon have a Web site,” all of which is aimed at creating a homeless service center in the South County. The group will begin fund-raising and eventually hope to find a site for a shelter and people’s kitchen type operation. The hint-hint, wink-nudge story makes clear that there are people out there working on the homeless issue but who are doing it the “right way.” Not as much fun, I’m sure, but I’m betting they’ll have a better chance of getting the money and facilities they need in the long run. And, who knows, if they’re successful, maybe they too can go on GMA and Larry King’s program.
Psssst, Listen Up!
Oh, you just knew it was gonna happen. Tiger Woods bangs up his car and himself in the wee hours of the morning and the next thing you know it’s Bimbo Eruption Time with a lady coming out of the woodwork waving emails and voice messages and photos claiming her little bit of Fame as Wood’s girlfriend/truelove/soulmate/ticket-to-Hollywood.
Memo to Famous People; If you have any kind of relationship with anybody anywhere anytime, even some vague distant relationship like serving on the same board as a “terrorist,” some guy you sat a few chairs down from during the once a quarter meetings, or some such, at some point you can be guaranteed that these folks will be dredged up to use as a political weapon or pop up themselves at an opportune time – like uninvited sari-wearing blond trophy wives at a White House dinner – to claim their bit of limelight.
Not only will all your personal, intimate doings that you actually did be paraded before an addicted public desperately needing it’s next fix of Gossip Juice by an equally addicted Cable News system, but all your personal, intimate doings that never happened with people you never met in your life will also be tossed into the mix by some total stranger just making stuff up in order to grab a bit of that fame flash.
So, be prepared and understand that what sounded sweet, lovely, and sincere when being urgently whispered into an ear by candlelight will always translate into appalling embarrassment in the cold light of an e-mail font or hissing out of an answering machine on playback on Larry King Live!
In the Good Old Days, illicit dalliers kept their yaps shut since infamy and ignominy would be heaped on their heads, not the heads of their famous co-dalliers. Nowadays, we have run out of paper bags to put over our heads and since there is absolutely no shame in bad behavior bean-spilling (“Look ! Look! Why, it’s sooooo ME!”), what used to be private has now become a valuable commodity for public sale to the highest bidder, or a tool or weapon to be used for self-promotion or to gain power. So if you’re famous in any way, it’s only a matter of time before you will be either hoist on your own petard or used falsely and cruelly and/or your life will become a joke. And if the laughter is based on fact, that’ll be bad enough. But understand also that even flat out lies will take on a complete life of their own and become part of your biography as well.
That’s the norm in a culture that has no sense of decency and, well, just no sense at all: A nation stuck on stupid.