Michael Horne
The Roundup

Belling’s Blunders

By - Nov 8th, 2004 12:00 pm

The immortal Mark Belling could hardly believe he was expected to be held to the same standard of mutual respect that prevails among civilized mortals, as you can tell by his mocking “apologies” for using the term “wetback” during a pre-election radio broadcast. Eventually, after a week of protests, Belling finally issued a non-snide apology for his comments, with the admission that he was – wrong!

Belling, of course, has never been wrong before, since in his non-fact based world of popular entertainment he has no obligation to be right in the first place. He need only be opinionated, the facts will delude themselves into place eventually.

Yet here he was caught, and called to account.

At first the news media mentioned that Hispanic groups were going to picket Belling to protest his comments. By Friday, the picketers included a much wider range of groups, including seniors, peace activists, gays, Hispanics, union workers, blacks, women and others who have at one time or another (or at all times) been ridiculed by the popular radio host who has even filled in for Rush Limbaugh.

I recall my first intimation that Belling was, in addition to being opinionated, utterly without concern for the truth.

It was about 14 years ago, and the great entertainer was new to his career. The issue of the day was AIDS, and Belling made some absurd and inflammatory charges about AIDS activists.

He said, in short, that all AIDS activists were also Gay activists. This, of course, was preposterous, since many non-gays were interested in controlling the scourge of AIDS. I called his radio show to say as much. Belling denied ever having said such a thing, and promised me, on the air, $1,000 if I could prove he had ever claimed that all AIDS activists were Gay activists, and figured that would be the end of it. He also ridiculed my wardrobe and my appearance, for good measure.

As it turns out, AIDS activists Dan and Chris Fons had saved a copy of the Belling show in which he claimed that all AIDS activists were gay activists, and they gave it to me.

It was a simple matter to quote what Belling said and to compare it with his denials. I wrote the story up in the Shepherd Express, and awaited my $1,000.

Of course, I’m still waiting.

Eventually, Belling realized that I had trapped him in his lies, and he said he’d pay off the $1,000 – a penny at a time.

Just another Belling lie.

Naturally, the matter left me with even less respect for Belling and his genre. Sure, I’d see him from time to time at Victors, or squiring Moira Fitzgerald to Mo’s opening, or buying his groceries at the Pick ‘N’ Save, but I couldn’t be bothered talking to him or acknowledging his odious presence – still can’t.

As a former neighbor mentioned to me, “if Belling says ‘wetback’ on the air, then what do you think he says when he talks to his buddies?”

I thought, “what buddies?”

Then, I remembered Belling’s passion for horses. He has encouraged illegal betting on horses by giving his picks on the Kentucky Derby and other horse races. Guess what – the Thoroughbred Horse industry relies on tremendous amount of low-paid labor to see the horses are groomed, bred, fed and exercised. Much of that work, I am confident to say, is done by Mexican immigrants. I don’t know if Belling would call his support staff “undocumented aliens.”

He might have another term for them.

One Form of Gay Marriage OK Here

The “Value Voters” have won the election, we have learned. We used to call them the “Christian Right Wing,” but that term seems quite pejorative for a group that likes to pejorate others like gays, and women who believe in reproductive choice.

So, we have learned that the real issues that determined the election were not the economy or the war – things that affect each and every one of us – no, the real issues were:

  • Gay marriage and
  • Abortion –

That is, things that don’t necessarily affect us; things we can absolutely avoid should we chose to do so; things that are none of our business.

Now, I can make as many arguments against Gay Marriage as could a Baptist preacher, (or a republican legislator.) The problem is, my arguments would tend to disfavor heterosexual marriage as well.

For all the preachin’, mopin’, and stereotypin’, marriage, in the eyes of the law is an economic contract between a man and a woman. It has nothing to do with love, holiness, devotion – or sexual orientation, for that matter.

You see, it is perfectly legal for two homosexuals to marry, or for a homosexual to marry a heterosexual. It happens all the time, provided the couple that marries consists of “a man and a woman,” which is what the value voters tell us it should be.

There are many, many instances in which gay men choose to marry a heterosexual woman to provide a cover or a front. Maybe their community won’t accept gays – maybe their community would even try to pass a law outlawing gays.

So the poor fellows, who should have just moved away, wind up offering a loveless life to an innocent heterosexual woman who doesn’t know what she is getting into because her faith prohibits premarital sex (and divorce, for that matter.)

The instances of gay men marrying straight women for whatever reason are not limited to small-town America. Just ask Mrs. Cole Porter, Mrs. John Cheever, Mrs. Michael Jackson, Mrs. Elton John – just ask Ms. Lisa Minelli about their happy marriages.

Or, ask the abashed and frustrated woman who must raise her children alone because her spouse couldn’t handle the denial of his personal life. Or ask the woman at home tonight – this evening, there will be hundreds of them – who discovers gay pornography on her husband’s computer. Ask them if gay marriage exists.

Yep, gay people get married. They just can’t do it for love.

Fishy Auction

About 300 people went to the Pfister Hotel Sunday, November 7th to attend what was called in  a newspaper advertisement “the Largest Liquidation of High End Merchandise Auction.”

The auctioneers, “United States Liquidators, Inc.” claimed to have “original works of art by Pablo Picasso,” although an expert who went to take a look said the Picassos were not original, nor were their certificates of authenticity. This is a serious charge, and one the company has not responded to after I called them about it.

The auction company moves from town to town, releasing very little information about its peregrinations on its website, www.uslauction.com. For example, the Picassos advertised in the website are noted to include a certificate of authenticity, and vetting by Picasso’s daughter. However, Picasso’s catalogue raisonne is silent on the claimed works of art on crayon that were included in the exhibition.

Picasso is a well-documented artist, and new works of his do not appear out of the sky – well, original ones do not, that is for sure. As we remember, a dealer by the name of James Kennedy is on trial here in Milwaukee for trying to peddle fake Picassos. They, too had certificates of authenticity.

The auctioneer of record for the event was Wayne Wheat – a Texan, who also holds a license in this state. I have asked for his comment about the peripatetic salespeople who have attempted to unload these goods on our citizens.

Did you purchase anything at the Pfister? There are experts who would like to take a look at your purchases.

Orlando’s Deli Shut

Milwaukeeworld.com reported some time ago that Orlando’s Deli, 932 E. Pleasant Street, was at war with its landlord. It looks like the war is over, but whether the battle was won remains to be seen. A sign in the window of the now-closed delicatessen says it hopes to reopen at 1664 N. Van Buren by about now. That address corresponds to the current site of Aveni’s Deli, which looked open last time I checked. Orlando’s deli was also one of the rarities of the neighborhood market genre in Milwaukee – it carried a full liquor license, and had some nice wines, in addition to a comfortable seating area.

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