MAUITIME PUBLISHER PLEADS NOT GUILTY
My apologies for not updating the case of MauiTime’s Publisher Thomas Russo–who was arrested on Nov. 20, 2012 while attempting to film two Maui Police Officers during Operation Recon–but nothing much has happened since then. On Thursday, Jan. 24, before Wailuku District Court Judge Kelsey Kawano, Russo pleaded Not Guilty to two charges: failing to obey a police officer and disorderly conduct (a Maui News brief on the arraignment published the next day said Russo “pleads innocent,” which is not technically correct).
For those following along at home, you’ll notice that these are different charges than those slapped on Russo at the time of his arrest, which were obstructing a government operation, harassment and resisting arrest. But regardless of their wording, the charges all dance around the same issue: Russo was filming police officers on a public highway when he was arrested–an act that has been deemed legal by the United States Supreme Court.
What’s more, Judge Kawano agreed to Russo’s request to film both his arraignment and future court appearances (follow @TommyRusso on Twitter to see footage Russo has shot so far). So for now, that’s pretty much that. Russo’s next scheduled court date, a pretrial conference, is Feb. 21 at 2pm.
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SCOTT CAAN APOLOGIZES FOR WRONG THING
So I guess life in the islands can continue now that Hawaii Five-O actor Scott Caan has humbly apologized for dissing the Great State of Hawaii. For those whose televisions burned out or simply have better things to do than follow the late night talk show ramblings of a guy whose dad is a way, way better actor than he, Caan recently appeared on the E! Network’s Chelsea Lately on Jan. 24 and proceeded to not only bite the hand that feeds his employer lucrative state film tax credits, but to spray it with dismissive bullets.
Caan said Hawaii is “too relaxed” and surfing here is a matter of “survival;” he said crystal meth is too available, and–worst of all–that the food here “sucks.”
Both traditional news media and social media across the state were quick to denounce the comments as “not-so flattering” and “offensive.” Comment forums lit up with people calling for the show to kill off Caan’s Danno character without haste.
Of course, the inevitable apology arrived just a couple days later, on Sunday, Jan. 27, according to a Hawaii News Now story published that day:
“I am truly sorry for my comments made on Chelsea Lately,” Caan said, according to the story. “Jokes are always a part of late night talk shows, but I’m horrified if I hurt or offended anyone, as that was not my intention. I love Hawaii, I love the people of Hawaii and I apologize.”
Writing the whole thing off as “jokes” that misfired is, in itself, laughable, as anyone who’s viewed the full clip knows. If that bit with show host Chelsea Handler was funny, then Speaker of the House John Boehner is the funniest guy ever.
I’m still waiting for someone to explain exactly what Caan did wrong. Sure, his opinions, whether tongue-in-cheek or not, were absurdly ignorant (except the part about crystal meth). Freedom of speech anyone?
If anything, Caan, the rest of the Hawaii Five-0 cast and the CBS television network ought to be apologizing for the entire show. Talk about insulting: has anyone who’s watched at least one episode ever really thought about the message that thing is sending about Hawaii? I’m not talking the shallow storylines, dry dialogue or one-dimensional characters–I mean the show’s message.
Well, the late writer David Foster Wallace did. Guy grew up watching the original Jack Lord show (which displays the same themes as the remake) and he viciously disemboweled the show in his novella “Westword the Course of Empire Takes its Way” (which is included in the 1989 book Girl With Curious Hair). Here’s “J.D.” from the story:
“’Hawaii Five-O’ is not political? We’re talking about the same show? The show that ran from ‘65 to ‘73? That had helicopter imagery in every episode? Helicopters full of wooden-faced, purposeful white guys in the kinds of business suits capitalism’s all about? White guys flying around in helicopters restoring order to this oriental island that can’t seem to govern itself, that’s overrun with violent and bad and indigenous Orientals? The cop show where all the head guys are white and all their lieutenants are good Orientals in suits, and they all cooperate and co-prosper shooting at the bad Orientals out of helicopters? With this constant reference all the time to a ‘Mainland’ that seems close to the island and in peril from the island’s disorder and in need of what’s the word immunization, but which calls Jack Lord’s every shot, and justifies all the shooting of natives out of helicopters?”
Okay, so maybe today’s Hawaii Five-O incarnation doesn’t have so many helicopters, but it does still cherish that classic white guys bringing order to a decidedly non-white island theme, and it’s not very nice. In fact, it’s all too reminiscent of the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. But hey–whatever sells Hawaiian tourism, right?
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KIHEI FOURTH FRIDAY
And now I will consume in a small helping of crow. Back in September, when the County of Maui cancelled the Fourth Friday Town Party in Paia, I wrote that plans to set up a new monthly gathering in Kihei were “ludicrous” because Kihei “lacks an actual town core.” Since then, the county has held two town parties in Kihei–at the Azeka Mauka shopping center parking lot and a portion of Pi‘ikea Ave.–both of which I’ve attended.
Given the thousands of people who’ve shown up for both events, the huge lineup of food trucks and booths, the eclectic mishmash of musical acts on the stage over by Diamonds Ice Bar and the fact that the crowd vibe never seemed to rise above “chill,” there’s no question that the the town party concept works in Kihei.
Of course, holding these parties in Azeka isn’t exactly fair to local bars not located in the shopping center. But hey–I guess that’s the price Kihei pays for not having a town center.
Hey, I’ve got to hold some skepticism in reserve.