Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kinky’s Punch Line: Soffar and Doc Farb (Melody by Billy Joe)

We’ve written on several occasions of our incremental disenchantment with Kinky Friedman’s gubernatorial bid (disenchantment sort of being our métier here at Slampo’s Place), although we’re not sure exactly what we expected from Friedman in the first place besides a little entertainment and an upraised middle finger at the status quo, neither of which has been issuing forth in abundance from the candidate (we’ve been drawing breath long enough not to hold out for a truly independent candidate with a coherent and independent critique of things-as-they-are and a willingness to pursue innovative and potentially controversial solutions to public policy questions, and so forth).

We initially figured we might save our self for Kinky and forgo voting in either next week’s Democratic or Republican primaries so we could sign the petition to get him on the ballot (although by doing so we’d miss out on some interesting primary races, including a Democratic one involving our state rep, Al Edwards, and Two Guys Who Are Not Al Edwards). Now we’re thinking we might keep it tucked in for Ma Barker, since we believe in competition and independence and whatnot and deplore the Repubocrat ballot monopoly, but only if someone promises to drop by our house with her petition, as we won’t be wasting a drop of $2.07-a-gallon gas to get her on the ballot (kind of a moral stand we’re taking there). (Harrumph … )

We’ve now thrown in the towel on Friedman after learning of his testimony on behalf of Max Soffar during the punishment phase of the twice-convicted triple murderer’s latest trial, which could end up with Soffar again being sentenced to death. Prior to his testimony, Friedman had said repeatedly that he favored the death penalty but was against the execution of the wrongly convicted (in Texas it doesn’t hurt to articulate that addendum), so his longheld interest in Soffar’s case, subject of a Friedman column in Texas Monthly that was repackaged in one of his countless books, was based on the candidate’s contention that Soffar is innocent, despite his early-on confession to the 26-year-old crimes.

Friedman apparently based his belief on the “evidence” compiled by the lawyers who unsuccessfully represented Soffar at his second trial---evidence whose narrative was about as thin and incoherent as the plot line of a Friedman book (we think there was a one-armed man in there somewhere, and, oh yeah, Soffar had rough life)---and the indisputable fact that Friedman had actually traveled to Death Row and looked Soffar in the eyes while the convict professed his innocence. Or something like that.

A second jury disagreed, but Friedman was not deterred. Not only is he now against the death penalty, but he’s posited a new standard of innocence for Soffar:
"I said he had a higher innocence, an earned innocence, an achieved innocence. Like a guy who comes back from Iraq or Vietnam, from a war. He's struggled withhis demons and has conquered them."
OK, we’ll be getting off here. We didn’t think “independent” meant “independent of reality” (and how insulting is this to a “guy” who came back from Vietnam or Iraq?).

A relative of one of the people Soffar killed accused Friedman of pursuing a “political agenda” by testifying on Soffar’s behalf, but we don’t see any political profit at all in Friedman’s court appearance. Just the opposite. In fact, it shows Friedman to be a man of conviction, albeit one who’s under the misimpression that he’s still writing fanciful songs and books instead of running for governor. It’s just not our conviction.

We realize that by abandoning Friedman we may be jeopardizing the possibility that Texas will get to see and hear lots more from Dr. Carolyn Farb, who’s apparently glued herself to the Kinky campaign like one of those pilot fish we used to see sucking on the side of the crew boats we worked on in the Gulf. We kinda envisioned Farb as first lady material for the unmarried Friedman, or perhaps as the governor’s Chief Spiritual Adviser or Assistant Deputy Looker-in-the-Eye.

Doc Farb seems to be handling some of Friedman’s media chores, as evidenced by this “A Peek Inside” column written by some anonymous wise guy for the West University Examiner, a weekly paper that is on the enclave city of West U like brown on rice. Some excerpts that bear repeating …

the Kinkster is a hard man to get a hold of these days, whereas Dr. Farb answers her voice mail personally and quite early in the morning.

“Hello, this is Carolyn Farb. Is this too early? If you’re up this early, I bet you’re at the gym.”Betting otherwise we responded, “No, actually the Laundromat.”

The doctor recognizes different delivery styles:
… Hey, what do you think of the Kinky dolls?” we inquired. Another silence ensued, but this time only after Farb had excused herself. The next voice we heard was that of a plastic Kinkster saying something we can’t print without offending, well, pretty much everyone.“It makes people smile,” Farb said. “I don’t personally prefer someone speaking like that, but everyone has a different delivery style.”

She’s got an ear for music, too:
Farb has been inspired by her candidate and knows not only his position on the issues, but also his music, likening his band “to rapping in its use of social commentary.”At a fund-raiser for Friedman at her home a couple of weeks ago, Farb chatted with a couple of the candidate’s friends, “Jerry Jeff (Walker) and Billy Joe (Shaver),” as she knows them now. They inspired her as well.“I’ve written a song,” she said. “Billy Joe is working on the melody.”
God Bless Billy Joe and Doc Farb.

God Bless Kinky.

And God Bless Texas.

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