The pono police are at it again, and this time they’ve got badges.
“We cannot let such distortions go unchecked,” Lt. Gov. James Aiona intoned.
“I find it very offensive,” State Tourism Liason Marsha Weinert said. “That’s just not pono.”
The source of the outrage? A skit featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (eh, he wen’ McKinley!) on Saturday Night Live. In the bit, The Rock prances around doing a kooky hula for guests at a fictional Kauai resort, insulting them and complaining about his hard-luck status all the while. At one point he talks about dropping out of high school and being forced to “dance like a monkey for you people.” When two guys make the “got lei’d” joke, Johnson spills their drinks into their laps. There’s discussion of crystal meth, economic hardship and the wide gap between resort life and the lives the workers return to when their shifts are pau.
Leaving aside the question of whether a comedy skit ought to be judged on how pono it is, are SNL viewers really canceling their Hawaii vacations over class and (gasp!) race-based resentment involved in the process of working-class people treating the rich like royalty? And even if they were, would angry remarks from corporate and political leaders change their minds?
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Speaking of politicians and anger, there’s still no word at press time on the fate of House Bill 444, the civil unions legislation. Late last week, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said that bringing the bill to a full floor vote had to be balanced against the need for senators to make nice. “We need to ensure that the Senate does not damage itself,” she told the Honolulu Advertiser.
Hawaii’s Constitution demands that all people be treated equally under the law. Maybe we should start by ensuring that.
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“I think the really wonderful thing is the outpouring of support from the community,” says organizer Ephrosine Daniggelis of Saturday’s “Rays of Hope for Gaza” event. “We got a generous grant from Hawaii People’s Fund, and many restaurants have chipped in with food. People keep saying ‘we’re so glad you’re doing something.’”
What they’re doing is an evening of poetry (the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish read by UH ethnic studies chair Ibrahim Aoude), eminent LA-based percussionist Souhail Kaspar, local Palestinian musicians and a silent auction, as well as food and, presumably, a lot of politics.