Not to diss Alanis Morisette – of whom I’m a huge fan - but when it comes to spotting irony, I’m as good as it gets. Like in today’s L.A. Times, President Bush says he plans to take a mountain bike ride in Texas “if I can survive the near-hundred degree central Texas temperatures.”
“Nu, where’s the irony?”, as my aunt Ethel would say. (Once a Stalinist, then a Zionist, then a Reconstructionist, she’s now a hard-core believer in skepticism.)
The irony lies in a story in yesterdays’ L.A. Times, bally-hooing Governor Schwarzenegger’s emergency order to provide relief for California’s farmworkers. Hard on the heels of the deaths of four farmworkers by heat- stroke – hardly surprising, given that they work 10 hours a day in 120 degree heat - the new rules mandate that any farm worker showing signs of impending heat stroke be given five minutes to rest in the shade.
Five minutes! Whoa, do they really need that much? That’s more time than it takes to order “Cesar Chavez: A Struggle for Justice” from Amazon.com. More time than it takes to vote for the President of the United States (provided you’re not a felon or a person of color living in Florida). Certainly more time than it would take the Secret Service to have a helicopter swoop President Bush to a hospital should he show signs of impending heat stroke during his bike ride - in a mere “near-hundred” degree heat.
But wait, there’s more irony to come. President Bush made this remark at an event where he advocated for his “guest worker program.” First of all, you gotta love the name. Like when I have guests, I always turn off the AC and make them clean the house and do yardwork. It’s what I call a BYOL party – bring your own labor.
And by the way, I don’t even know that the guest worker program is a bad idea. I’m all for decriminalizing the determination to find a way to feed yourself and your family – what’s that called? Oh, yeah, the survival instinct. But somehow, I don’t think Bush’s “guest worker program” was conceived out of concern for Mexican immigrants. I think it has more to do with concern for the growers and other industries that depend on cheap immigrant labor. Hey, wait, where his ranch is, in West Texas, don’t they depend on cheap labor? And according to the L.A. Times, the rules in Texas regarding the welfare of migrant workers are even “less strong” – they don’t even get five minutes. So isn’t that ironic?
Oh, and one final irony. Somewhere amidst all these other ironies, I – an actual comedian – seem to have lost my sense of humor. Now I’m wondering, what temperature does blood boil at? Cause if it’s 120 degrees I’m putting it down to impending heat stroke.