Just the tip of the iceberg

Las Vegas, N.M. — where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

Well, maybe that’s not the perfect description of our Meadow City. But the shock waves are as palpable as if they originated here.

That topic ­— and others of that ilk ­— took up part of the time we news personnel devoted to the increasingly frequent reports of various sexual improprieties around the country.

It’s not solely the province of athletes and other superstars; the names that emerge include celebrities and politicians.

A recent report involves Garrison Keillor, he of an enormously popular program, “Prairie Home Companion.” That avuncular, 75-year-old purveyor of clean, wholesome wit and wisdom, is now gone from his Saturday afternoon PBS radio broadcast. Keillor called the reasons for his dismissal “all kind of bewildering.” Most snippets on the firing are sketchy at best, the most common reason given as “improper behavior.”

It saddens a slew of people who’ve set their radio dial on Saturdays to NPR and laughed at some of the comments of the well-known wordsmith.

I joined with fellow members of the Optic’s editorial board to discuss this strange phenomenon in which so many people in the news suddenly face charges of inappropriate conduct.

This isn’t an attempt to be comprehensive but merely to ask whether the plethora of scandals is merely the tip of the iceberg.

And we needn’t go all the way back to the Bill Cosby matter ­— an issue which needs no further explaining.

There’s the recent Alabama matter in which U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is determined to stay in the race despite some damning allegations that he molested girls in their teens, when he was in his 30s.

Of course Moore denies the allegations. The almost-even split between those who plan to vote for him, as opposed to his Democrat opponent says much about party loyalty as opposed to doing what’s morally right.

And there’s Matt Lauer, who was fired from his position as host of the “Today” show, amid accusations of sexual harassment.

And also Bill O’Reilly, the erstwhile promotor of whatever is extreme right in our country.
Reports reveal Fox News gave O’Reilly a big contract after he was sued for $32 million by a colleague who threatened to sue him for alleged sexual misconduct.

That amount went to Lis Wiehl, as reported by the New York Times.

O’Reilly’s reaction: “I never mistreated anyone” and “this is crap.” After reading O’Reilly’s crapulence, I froze. My head spun at the mere thought of a $32 million award, provided so willingly to an aggrieved colleague.

My two granddaughters, both in high school, pondered over the size of the award. How much will 32 million “big ones” buy? Will the recipient of such chump change ever need all of it?

Maybe the determination of the amount of money to be transferred was based on pure punishment: “Let’s get that right-wing extremist.” or “He can earn back the $32 million in a week.”

But, not likely: “Maybe most of it should go to charity.” Or, consider also that Trump’s new tax “reform” initiative, in which the rich get richer and the poor get penalized, will likely give a little boost to the millionaires.

I worked for 32 years at Highlands University, starting in 1971 at $7,000 a year. By the time I retired, the salary had increased — somewhat.

The similarity between O’Reilly’s $32 million and my 32 years of hard labor is purely coincidental.

Never did people like me ever dream of raking in the amounts of money people like O’Reilly earned.

I retired from the teaching job that finally paid adequately.

And given the median range of Las Vegas salaries, I estimate ­­— even factoring in inflation and raises we used to call pittances ­— that I’d have to outlive several Rip Van Winkels and a host of Methasulas to earn a fraction of what O’Reilley paid to silence the woman who claimed he sexually harassed her.

• • •

Go ahead: Ask him anything.

I refer to Carlos Lopez, son of Rosalie and the late Jose Lopez. A postal carrier, Carlos must spend all his time reading and analyzing sports. Many times I’ve told him that if I were a betting man, I’d want Carlos in my corner.

I saw him on his route and asked him what was up with the Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, quarterbacks in the NFL.

Without hesitation, Carlos recited facts and figures that dazzled me. Is there a sporting magazine Carlos hasn’t subscribed to?
Or memorized?

Sometimes I’ve asked him a sports-related question whose answer I already knew, “just to keep him honest.” Carlos and my youngest son, Benjie, used to hang around together as pre-teens.

A New York Giants fan, Ben would often criticize my beloved Oakland (onetime Los Angeles, future Las Vegas, Nev.) Raiders.

One Sunday, when the teams were about to meet, Ben and I asked Carlos for his take on the final score. But Ben had gotten to Carlos earlier.
Guess whose prediction was closest.

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