Saturday, August 07, 2004


the metaphor writes itself

When Hua sent over this story, I initially thought this had to be a joke of some kind: a Spanish-language television station in L.A. has a game show, molded after Fear Factor, but instead of a monetary prize, the winners gain access to an immigration attorney who will try to help them get a green card. (Wait, wasn't this a Cheech Marin comedy back in the 1980s or something? If not, it should have been.)

No cars, no cash, no house in the hills but Gana la Verde ("win the green") promises the most American of American dreams: possibility. People will surely (and rightfully) find the show to be an exploitationist, cynical affair - in all fairness though, what reality game show isn't these days? - but you almost have to admire how it strips off the facade on our national mythology and distills it down to its essence. The American Dream is just that: a dream, a fantasy, a promise made with no guarantee to keep. Gana la Verde lays it out: do something crazy, disgusting, life-threatening, etc. and we might, we just might let you into our little national club but if it doesn't happen: hey, we gave you the shot, that's all we said we would do.

The question is, how does Gana la Verde really differ from all the other crazy, disgusting, life-threatening work that people without legal residency (and even those who do) take it upon themselves to do everyday already - just minus the televison face time and a well-tanned host to orchestrate everything along?

Just to make this fair though, not only should they expand it to other undocumented immigrants - for example, all those illegal Canadians amongst us - but imagine if they expanded this? How about:
  • Early Admission: 16 year olds are put through a battery of physical challenging and emotionally humiliating Scantron-based tests in order to score entry into an Ivy League college.
  • Right Flight: 30-something professionals and their young children have to sprint through an obstacle course of aggressive realtors and greedy mortgage lenders to win a house in the suburbs with good schools and no colored people.
  • Crossover - 20 beautiful women of color a ruthlessly pitted against each other in a mansion, competing for the opportunity to date a dorky white guy. In the next season, 20 men of color under go the same process in hopes of being noticed by a blonde.
  • Las Vegas - Oops, sorry, this has already been in syndication for over 50 years.
  • Of course, all of these have to bow down to the OG in the field: Let's Make a Dope Deal.


  • Jazzbo resurrects an amazing article that might otherwise have been lost to that digital dustbin created in the wake of failed WWW ventures: Dave Thompkins on the life history of a man and a drum break.

  • Rick James' last interview, part one. Here's part two.
    (credit: Can't Stop, Won't Stop)

  • I am sure there is some small, sub-section within a concentric ring of Hell where there's placemarkers already set up for Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter.

  • Sharon muses on Miss Digital World. The geeks come out at night, for real.

  • Awesome: Baseball intro songs. Personally, I'd probably either go with Eddie Bo's "Hook and Sling" or else the instrumental to Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement. Or maybe Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man" (better known amongst my peeps as "Secret Asian Man").
    (credit: SF/J)

  • For those X-Clan fans out there: you can place a bid to hang out with Professor X for a day. I'd rather bid on having the Grand Verbalizer drop science on my mixtapes...
    (credt: Hua Sulu)