Hyperbole. A noun meaning "an exaggeration for effect, not meant to be taken literally" according to Webster's New Word Dictionary. It also means an overstatement or embellishment, which could imply a "lie for affect". When I try to visualize the expressiveness of word, I'm reminded of the old sayings "a tempest in a teapot" or "much ado about nothing" (thank you Baron Edward Thurlow and Mister Shakespeare respectively). Hyperbole is, in fact, one of my favorite words, though it is seldom used these days, because of its descriptiveness. Its sound also reminds me of two other similar sounding words, "hype" and "bold". "Hype" of course. means to promote or publicize through repeated exposure, while "bold" means to be brave or daring, but it can also imply insolent or impertinent. So, you might be wondering, what does this have to do with anything? Well, let's explore that question a bit shall we?
As you've no doubt heard, Jose Ines Zarate, the illegal immigrant charged with the death of Kate Steinle two years ago, was acquitted of all charges yesterday by a San Francisco jury. Technically, he's a free man. But before we go any further, let's revisit events for a moment. Approximately two years, 32 year old Kate Steinle was walking along Pier 14 in the touristy Embarcadero District late one night in San Francisco with her father, sharing a little "father-daughter" time (I used to spend a lot of time there, often staying at the Hyatt Regency). Nearby, sat Jose Ines Zarate, a seven time felon and five time (some sources say six time) deported and self-returned illegal alien (the jury was not allowed to hear Zarate's criminal record or immigration status).
According to Mr. Zarate, age 43 at the time, as he sat on the pier he noticed an object wrapped in a towel or shirt laying under a nearby metal chair. Mr. Zarate picked up the object which turned out to be a semi-automatic pistol. While looking at the gun (and perhaps his new found good fortune), the pistol "accidentally" went off (I presume it never occurred to him to check to see if it was loaded, the safety was on, or at the very least, not to pull the trigger). The bullet evidentially hit a metal pole embedded in the concrete next to where Mate Steinle and her father were standing while taking in the sights of the San Francisco Bay, ricocheting and slamming into Ms. Steinle's lower back and ripping open her abdominal aorta. She died in her father's arms a few minutes later.
Mr. Zarate attempted to run but was caught and eventually booked on manslaughter charges along with possession of what turned out to be a stolen gun (it had been stolen from a federal Bureau of Land Management officer the prior week). Despite being a five time deported illegal immigrant, Mr. Zarate crossed back into the United States before the ink on his deportation papers had even dried. However, this time he was aided by a bit of additional good fortune. The city he decided to hole up in was San Francisco, which had only recently before the murder, declared itself a "Sanctuary City" which meant that illegal aliens were welcome. The residents of San Francisco would gladly pick up the tab to support these individuals (though still expecting federal dollars to keep rolling in) and by declaring themselves a "Sanctuary City", meant that city authorities would not cooperate with Federal immigration officials or abide by any federal immigration laws. This meant individuals like Mr. Zarate had free run of the city without any worries; assuming he could stay clear of the law for any minor offenses he might commit.
Fast forward to November 30, 2017, where Mr. Zarate was---somehow---found innocent, except for possession of a stolen handgun, though he will unlikely be sentenced for it, at least as a felony based on his federal criminal status as illegal immigrant and repeat offender (he can be charged up to three years for possession of the stolen gun, less time already served). The jury was asked to consider first degree murder, second degree murder and/or manslaughter charges, obviously lacking key information. In what appears to be an attempt at some form of court apology to the shocked family of Ms. Steinle, Jose Zarate will be turned over to ICE officials in order to face his latest round of deportation. Personally, I think Mr. Zarate should be turned over to Ms. Steinle's family for about 15 minutes while the cops go on one of their numerous donut breaks. Then again, maybe the jury and the judge should have to face her family in private and explain how they could allow their daughter's murder go free, knowing full well that had immigration laws been enforced, there was a strong likelihood that Kate Steinle would still be alive.
Of course, this tragic death is a direct result of the Mayor's and city legislature's declaration to make San Francisco an "open city". However, I think that is something of a cop-out to blame solely City Hall since the residents of San Francisco willingly went along with their decision, which in some respect, is little different from the residents living adjacent to the Nazi death camps and said or did nothing. Perhaps that's too strong of a charge. Perhaps it's not. Nevertheless, this verdict is an indictment of them and their sanctimonious claims of a "Sanctuary City" makes them at least morally guilty of contributing to Ms. Steinle's death by turning their back on their civic responsibility. As an aside, the entire State of California is now a "Sanctuary State". Shame on them.
Two Peas in a Pod: Hollywood's and Washington's Sexual Shenanigans
The next issue I bring before you as an example of "Hyperbole" is the current outpouring of claims of sexual misconduct, mostly by Hollywood types, Wallstreet and business executives, and---naturally---by politicians, especially those in Washington. Ever since the casting couch of Harvey Weinstein has come under the microscope, it seems like women are stepping forward from the Left and Right to level a claim of sexual harassment on some current or former big shot, be it a newscaster, talk show jock, a former comedian and current Congressman, a business executive, actor or some chubby Hollywood power broker. I'm not saying their accusations are false or that their pain and possible embarrassment isn't real, but there isn't anything new here folks. The faces and names may be new, but the news is old; old as civilization itself. Men (and women) in positions of power have always sought ways to use that power, especially for personal gain. Power is a tool. It's meant to be used, whether it be for good or bad. This is especially true when it comes to politics and fame; both of which being closely tied to wealth which equates to power.
Since I mentioned the latest sleaze on the block, Harvey Weinstein, the "casting couch" is hardly new. Many would say it's part and parcel of the Hollywood culture. so let's briefly take a look at Hollywood. Hollywood has been rife with stories of casting couches, groping, even murder going back to the era of Silent Pictures (anyone remember the story of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle who allegedly raped a very drunk actress named Virginia Rappe in 1921? He was twice acquitted of manslaughter charges after suffocating Ms. Rappe due to his weight. How about the first "It Girl", Clara Bow and her orgies?). There were countless stories involving almost literally every celebrity and wannabe celebrity, from Errol Flynn (who was acquitted of statutory rape charges in 1943), to Mae West, Rock Hudson, big studio bosses Jack Warner, Louis B. Mayer, and Darryl Zanuck (talk about your "casting couch"!), Marlene Dietrich's rumored numerous lesbian love affairs (such as with Greta Garbo) or her trysts with the leading men of her time and even a "star struck" Jack Kennedy, the forced abortions of Judy Garland, Jean Harlow, or "Mommy Dearest" Joan Crawford---not to mention her porn movies, and countless others. So, while the likes of the Harvey Weinstein's of Hollywood might be vulgar and reprehensible, it's hardly a new story.
As for politics, and in particular Washington politics and sexual misconduct, I hardly know where to start or whether I have enough space to do it justice! There is no doubting that places like Washington are "good ole boy" clubs, where inappropriate language, butt slaps, and so forth are common to the point they are almost ignored; the price one pays to be near power (just as in Hollywood or your local city hall). Even those elected to office; the elected peers to the other, male, members of Congress, feel that they have to accept a certain amount of "boys being boys" type of behavior, and perhaps they do. After all, the majority of these male members are egotistical to the max. They come from wealthy and privileged backgrounds where their money ensured they could get anything they wanted or when necessary, buy their way out of any jam. These individuals tend to believe they are somehow "special" and above not just the law, but even common moral standards and even polite behavior (unless the media is there, and that's still no guarantee).
Of course, there has been more than enough women who could hold their own against any of her male counterparts. I've personally know several female legislators who could out drink or out swear any man they came in contact with, Kentucky's former Governor Martha Layne Collins and State Senator Georgia Powers, the first black female legislator and mistress of MLK Jr. Historically, there has always been women of power. Take Ancient Egypt's Pharaohs Hatshepsut or Cleopatra VII, the Celt's Queen Boudicca, Russia's Czarina Katherine the Great, or England's Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. More recently, UK's "Iron Lady) Margaret Thatcher, Israel's Golda Meir, India's Indra Gandhi, or Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto.
Here in the US, we've politicians like Sarah Palin, Diane Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, or in the world of business individuals like Mary Barra who is Chairman and CEO of GM, the Executive Vice President of Home Depot, Anne Marie Campbell or Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook to name just a few. However, trying to "out macho" macho males does come at price. Politics is tough sport where the weak are often eaten alive and emotions like compassion and empathy are often seen as chinks in the armor. But too, there has been just as many women calling the shots behind their higher profile husbands...or lovers ( Ancient Greece's Queen Olympias (wife of King Phillip II and mother of Alexander the Great comes to mind along with Empress Theodora who was the wife of Justinian I (Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire), as well as the wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt or Ladybird Johnson, the wife of President LBJ). So, power is, or can be, a two way street.
I would like too make to final points. If you want to avoid unwanted sexual advances, wearing revealing deeply clothing (or lack thereof) would be a good first place to start. Yes, women should feel free to wear what they please. But human nature being what it is, they must also be willing to accept the consequences,and no amount of legislation will change that. Secondly, while women (or men) should report unwanted sexual harassment or assault, waiting 20 or 40 years later is a bit much don't you think? If it is an issue now, all these years later, then it was an issue then too. People will forget. Memories will become foggy. Evidence will fade or disappear. Hell, if there is a statute of limitations for bank robbery of seven years, there should be a statute of limitations on this too. Waiting years or decades, and then trying to make a big deal out of something which may or may not have happened, smells of dirty money. Lastly, power, wealth, and politics is pack mentality. If you're going to run with wolves, you're either going to need to become a wolf or you will become its meal. Now, that's hyperbole.
The Shooting of Kathryn Steinle: San Francisco Pier killing suspect found not guilty of murder
14 Old Hollywood Scandals That History Forgot
Old Hollywood Murders, Scandals, Secrets, and Crimes
Casting Couch Tales From Hollywood
Hollywood's Heinous 'Casting Couch' Culture That Enabled Harvey Weinstein
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