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February 2008 Archives

February 18, 2008

My Excellent Website Adventure

Since I don’t have a computer of my own I had to go over to my friends Jimmy and Cathy’s house and view my website there, on their computer. As we walked into the den, and I saw the sleek shiny machine, I felt like I was in an episode of Star Trek. Or, back visiting Tomorrowland at The World’s Fair in Queens, in 1964. It was the new Apple iMac with a 24” screen and it looked like it could very easily go to Jupiter and beyond. Cathy could sense I was a little nervous.

“You want me to turn it on?”

“Not yet.”

“Take your time.”

They had prepared some soothing green tea for me and I sipped slowly staring at the monster.

“It’s on there, huh?”

“Yeah. GaryDavidGoldberg.com.”

“Wow, that sounds pretentious.”

Jimmy assured me this was common. And, there was nothing vain about using your own name on your own website.

“That’s more or less the point,” he assured me.

There was brief silence then Cathy put her hand gently on my knee.

“You want me to turn it on, now?”

“Not yet.”

I sipped some more green tea and stared some more at the iMac 24 and I was instantly transported to my grandma’s living room back in Brooklyn. It was 1948 and she had the first TV in the neighborhood. I was only 4 and my brother Stan was 9 and all the kids on the block had come over to watch The Howdy Doody Show with us on our 10” black and white Crosley.

We sat silently, almost afraid to move, and stared at this incredible machine. Harvey Jacobowitz, who was fragile in the best of times, actually gasped when Buffalo Bob looked directly into the camera and asked us if we knew what time it was?

“It’s Howdy Doody time,” Jacobowitz screamed and then started to spontaneously cry, either from excitement or fear or just too much emotion. Or, maybe all three. I was hoping that wouldn’t happen to me when we finally turned on this computer.

I stared at the screen for another minute. Cathy’s screensaver a soothing sunset scene. Nice step up from the test patterns that were the 1948 equivalent. I took a deep breath.

“OK, let ‘er rip,” I told Cathy, and she clicked, and there it was. My picture. A lot of stuff about my life, about my family, about my book. One small step for mankind. One giant step for me. I gasped. Jacobowitz, I know how you felt.

February 29, 2008

WWAKD (What Would Alex Keaton Do)

It’s been almost twenty years since Family Ties went off the air. And, Alex P. Keaton’s political idols Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan have each gone off to their deserved places in history. Yet I still get asked a lot, well okay maybe not a lot but more than twice, whether Alex P. Keaton would be a Republican today. And, if so, who would be his candidate in the 2008 presidential election?

Before I go any further I should point out that I’m a registered Independent. I vote Democratic most of the time but not always. And, I am part of the 75% of Americans who strongly disapprove of the job George Bush has done as President of our United States.

I should also point out that in order to properly represent Alex and his political point of view I, as well as the rest of the Family Ties writers, did a great deal of research on this subject. And during that time I developed a very healthy respect for the true conservative point of view. A powerful and proud strain of American political thought. And, even today I bow to no one in my desire to see the capital gains tax eliminated.

Alex Keaton was a true conservative Republican. He was for limited government. He was strongly against government involvement in the personal lives of its citizens. He was competent and capable. The ultimate over-achiever. But, above all Alex Keaton was a firm believer in the power of ideas. The true conservative belief in the competitive marketplace of intellectual discourse. Where the best ideas win – usually Alex’s. And, so it’s difficult to recognize in this current incarnation of the Republican party, a party whose legacy will include Terri Schiavo and Hurricane Katrina, a place where Alex Keaton might feel the least bit comfortable.

Alex was smart. Real smart. And, proud of it. He also believed deeply in the power of science. And, the free exchange of scientific ideas. Uncensored. Unfettered by excessive government regulation. Not stifled by religious orthodoxy. Not re-written by political hacks with no academic or scientific credentials. So, it’s hard to picture Alex in a party which seems to be waging war against science. And, where their presidential candidates seem comfortable debating whether or not the earth is round.

On the other hand, I can’t see Alex easily voting for a Democrat. Alex was loyal. I think his natural inclination would have been to go for John McCain. But, that would have been John McCain in 2000, when he was still talking straight: Jerry Falwell was an agent of intolerance. And, waterboarding is torture. McCain going back on those two key points would have certainly kept Alex from pulling the lever for him now.

I think Ron Paul’s message is one that would resonate with Alex. And, he would appreciate Paul’s intellectual power, and his willingness to state his positions unequivocally and without regard to which way the political winds were blowing. I think he’d really like Huckabee’s ideas of getting rid of the IRS. (I know I do.) But, ultimately Alex likes to win and I think that would have kept him from fully committing to either of those guys.

Hillary Clinton? I have to disclose that I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 20+ years. I think she’s a warm, funny and caring person of formidable intelligence. And, I admire her greatly. And, I would love to be able to say that Alex would vote for her. But, I don’t think I believe that it could happen. If he did vote for her it would have to be a “very special” episode of Family Ties, indeed.

So, what about Barack Obama then? I honestly don’t know. I think Alex is an Independent now. And, certainly as deeply engaged in politics as ever. He would be intrigued by Obama. Impressed with his eloquence and his intelligence. Unhappy with his plan to tax the wealthy at a higher rate. But, keenly aware that eight years of neglect and corruption and no-bid contracts have to somehow be overturned. And, I think Obama’s slogan is very similar to Alex’s own personal mantra – “Of Course I Can.”

I think that Alex might just be ready to take a chance. Might just. I can picture him stepping into the voting booth, closing the curtain behind him, taking a very deep breath and then for the first time in his life putting his hand up to the Democratic party lever. He touches it tentatively, trying to get comfortable. Takes his hand off. Puts it back. He grasps the lever firmly now. Squeezes it. And, as he’s about to pull we FADE OUT. And, there’s your ACT BREAK.

For what it’s worth Michael Fox and I have differing opinions about just where Alex Keaton is today. I believe he does pro bono legal work for The Children’s Defense Fund.

Mike thinks he’s just now getting out of prison.

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Gary Goldberg in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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