Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners, Masturbators and Stockholders, Fornicators and Thieves In these dark days of creeping loss of liberty and drooping market value, the Lord and the Lady have granted us a Miracle! Hallelujah (Amen and Awomen)! They have brought the Great Censor down to his knees. They have cuffed his wrists, arrested his ass, and taken it and the Fruit of his Loins, those rotten, greedy sons of his, down to the courthouse, and kept them there until they posted bail of $30 million looted from their stockholders. Yes, indeed. Beware of those who are holier than thou, for often they are fleecers of the own flock (and stock!). Now they will pay for their sins.
Rigas in Cuffs. It has a ring to it. Like Venus in Furs. And why not? He had me gagged. So why shouldn’t he handcuffed, shackled, harnessed, humiliated, helpless, disabled, unable to meddle with my show anymore? John J. Rigas can’t meddle with anybody’s shows anymore. Praise the Lord & the Lady! Praise be to the Power and Glory of Truth!
But, all preaching aside, Brothers and Sisters, I’m having a little trouble with gloating. Probably not as much trouble as most people. I was as thrilled as any media whore to be courted for two whole days by the Wall Street Journal. Actually, I was more of a media slut, since I didn’t get paid for it. Though I’m still getting calls from investors. Block stock going up! As Adelphia plummets to hellish levels. We’re not talking just genteel delisting here. We’re talking steel handcuffs that slice the tender, naked flesh of your pampered 78-year-old wrists.
My first time in The Journal ! Maybe now they’ll take my ads for telephone sex therapy.
I was practically having phone sex with Jimmy Breslin. He called just after Sally Beatty from The Journal told me not to tell anyone that The Journal was writing about how a broken, busted Rigas puts my show and other sex-oriented programming back on Adelphia Cable TV. At one point, I had Jimmy on the headset and Sally on the handheld. It was almost a ménage à trois. Jimmy was chortling with Pulitzer-Prize-winning glee over the idea of that old hypocrite John J. Rigas, having censored TV shows on bondage, now in handcuffs himself; while Sally, on the other line, was checking her figures. It all comes down to figures. The naked figures on my show that the Rigases covered up, and the figures on their balance sheets that they also covered up, figures that hovered around $2.7 billion (and that’s not counting the golf course).
Now New Times LA has chimed in, giving me the “Last Laugh” on my Rigas Nemeses. Ha ha, hee heeee! I’m on laughing gas! Did you know if you type “John J. Rigas Adelphia” into Yahoo, my website comes up FIRST out of over 1000 entries? A bit of an albatross around Johnnie’s neck on the good ship Adelphia, aren’t I?
Oh, the Markets rallied as the Rigas Boys were carried away, awaaay! Everyone loves to see a hypocrite exposed or a crook captured, and this story has both. Charged with conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud, convictions could send each of the Rigases to prison for up to 30 years and cost them millions of (stolen) dollars in fines. In a 68-page criminal complaint, Postal Inspector Thomas F.X. Feeney said that John Rigas, ”together with members of his family, has looted Adelphia on a massive scale, using the company as the Rigas family’s personal piggy bank.” Now I know it’s not exactly original, but I used the “piggy” metaphor 2 months ago on “Adelphiagate,” along with my Miss Piggy Doll (chained up like John), now a public access television classic. I’m not complaining. It’s just a little strange to hear Federal agents of the Bush Administration using the same expressions I’ve used about one of my personal adversaries.
Well, if you ask me, anyone so intent upon covering up people’s bottoms is probably covering up the bottom line.
And these days, everyone is asking me, congratulating me like I won a wrestling match. It’s great. But it’s also a little weird to thrive on another’s misfortune. Especially when I know whose purposes the internationally televised, arresting image of “Rigas in Cuffs” serves even more than mine. My fellow Yalie in the White House is so transparently using John Rigas as an old-fashioned scapegoat that it’s almost embarrassing.
It’s easy to see why. Rigas is not a member of the Club. You know, that extension of Skull and Bones, the Club that keeps Bush Buddies Dick Cheney and Kenneth Lay from getting carted off in cuffs for their crimes as the heads of Halliburton and Enron. Rigas is a freak. (and that’s just one reason I don’t want him dictating what we can watch on TV!) . He was also the worst at covering his tracks. And obviously, he didn’t contribute quite enough of his stockholders’ money to Republican coffers to earn him any respect. So, now the Great Pretzel Swallower is using the Little Censor-in-Thief as an example to take the heat off the Veep and Kenny-Boy.
So, here he is, my ancient adversary, at the center of what is, in his own words, “a Greek tragedy,” as well as an American drama. It’s not just about figures anymore. It’s about handcuffs, “perp walks,” possible prison time and the wrath of a ripped-off America down the back of a family that’s the white-collar high-speed-cable-connection equivalent of the Mafia. A family that used that old mantra of the Right, that Father-Knows-Best euphemism for Christian fundamentalism, “Family Values,” to censor public access TV, just as they illegally cooked their books. Watch: they might use it in their defense.
Family Values means family first, and the Rigases certainly did put family first. The Rigas Family, that is, and to hell with the community. Even the word “community” is dangerously close to “Communist,” isn’t it? The Rigases believed in the Value of Family, and screw the community! Screw the community of stockholders they screwed out of their life savings. Screw the community of cable subscribers they screwed out of their right to watch the TV shows of their choice. Screw the community of their fellow Americans that they and their fellow CEO-banditos at Enron, WorldCom, Halliburton, Imclone, etc. screwed out of a decent economy.
Ironically, the Rigas Boys labeled my shows “indecent.” They were big on morality and small on ethics. And morality–Family Values or Taliban Tradition– has no place in business, especially not in big business, business that is supposed to serve lots of people, many different families, many communities. Ethics has a vital place in business. But not morality, and certainly not moralizing. Fundamentalism is fundamentally bad for business.
Some might say that the Rigas Family Censors got a sexual thrill out of looting their own company. Let’s call it corporate rape. They certainly exhibited a perverse pleasure in censoring me and the other sexuality shows. That’s non-consensual sex.
“From Paragons of Virtue to Symbols of Greed” go the headlines. And as Symbols of Greed, they’re much more famous. Nobody knew who John J. Rigas was when I first gave him the Book Burner Award for Censorship. Now he’s so notorious that TV movies could be made about him. I’m thinking Goldie Hahn to play me. I’m the Harlot angle. Every TV movie has a Harlot Angle. I’m the spurned sex therapist/talk show host. Can you tell I’m excited?
And yetI have a few friends who have been on the “perp walk.” I don’t wish it on anyone. I’ve had the LAPD bust in on me at odd times of day and night. I know what it is to be unfairly targeted by the police. And maybe John Rigas didn’t do ALL the things he’s accused of. I know what it is to be unjustly investigated or to have someone you love unjustly accused. Almost makes me feel compassion for the lousy little sanctimonious skunk.
Almost, but not quite. Rigas is low as they go. Besides, it’s personal. He deprived me of my civil liberties, my right to freedom of speech, my public access to the airwaves.
Why shouldn’t he and his ravenous progeny be deprived of liberty for a while?
Besides, they were cuffed in the front, not the back (unlike Scott Sullivan and David Myers of WorldCom and most suspects, who are cuffed in back, which is much more uncomfortable). The Rigases were warned so they had time to shower and shave and put on their casual clothes before being hauled off for the perp walk, and the fact that they had their stockholders’ money in their own piggy pockets meant they could easily get together the $30 million in bail to make this whole awful ordeal end before sundown. As accused crooks go, they had it relatively easy.
So I allow myself a bit of gloating, luxuriating in my internationally broadcast Wall Street Journal-certified, Jimmy Breslin-blessed, New Times coronated triumph over my own little Evil Empire. Back on the air on Adelphia, my home cable systems, covering the fleshpots of East LA, the Valley, and West LA, including Beverly Hills, parts of Hollywood and the Beach, the Sodom and Gomorrah that the Rigas Family Censors sought to overtake in their obscenely overvalued Christian Crusade to accumulate riches, power and influence, value for one family and one family alone, the Rigas Family. And now they’ve been caught and cuffed, a family of rats in a trap.
The irony is that the Bush Family caught them! There’s Prince Dubya, declaring over shots of those other sons in cuffs that ”Today was a day of action and a day of accomplishmentthis government will investigate, will arrest, and will prosecute corporate executives who break the law.”
Well, the Resident might have added, “some corporate executives who break the law. No one that I know real well. No one I really need, like Dick. And no one who’s given me a lot of money, like Kenny-Boy. And certainly no one in my family (Thank God and the Goddess that the Rigases aren’t related to the Bushes).”
And the bombs continue to rain on Afghanistan, massacring wedding parties, murdering families, destroying whole communities, and not finding Osama. Osama who? And what about that Mullah Omar? He’s only got one-eye, but we’re blind to him. And we’re back to menacing Daddy Bush’s old nemesis Saddam, which means pelting Iraq with bombs, some smart but many exceedingly dumb.
Well, at least tits are back on Adelphia. Praise the Lord and the Lady! Amen and awomen. I remain the Irreverend Doctor Susan Block, your humble public access cable TV sex therapist. Stay tuned for more Greek tragedy, broken by bursts of Commedia Erotica.
Dr. Susan Block is a sex educator, host of The Dr. Susan Block Show and author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure. Visit her website at http://www.drsusanblock.com.
If you’d like to contact Dr. Susan Block with questions, comments or contributions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org