After the 5th or 6th hearing of his commercial, one small matter about the wonders of Shami began to bug us, a little, and that was his claim to have “brought,” past tense, 1,200 jobs to Texas by moving “his factories here from China.” Which naturally gives rise to several questions, at least in our mind: Why were these jobs in China in the first place, Sr. Shami? And have all of these alleged 1,200 jobs actually been filled with paycheck-drawing Texans, as of, say, last week? Does he actually have "thousands" of Texans on his payroll? And does Farouk Systems Inc. still have overseas manufacturing locations, and if so could Shami also bring those back to Texas? These are about the only questions we would have for Shami, should we ever be in a position to interrogate him, because the job-creation bit seems to be the end-all and be-all of his campaign––that and the success one can achieve smoothing-down even the unruliest of locks with the CHI Flat Iron.
Now we know these questions may never be plumbed or even asked, since the Texas political press, such as it is these days, most likely considers Shami a trifling annoyance, a fool and his money rapidly being departed, a mere sideshow to the big Perry-Hutchison Preliminary and the much-anticipated showdown between Bill White and The Winner of Perry-Hutchison Preliminary. That’s understandable. We don’t have to ring up Rice University’s Bob Stein to state the obvious: At the present time, Texans are not disposed to electing a Palestinian-American Muslim ex-hairdresser named Farouk as their governor, even if he promises each and every one of them a lifetime $40,000-a-year job with full benefits manufacturing CHI Keratin Hair Mist. As Shunryu Suzuki might observe, were he alive, things are changing, even in small-town Texas, where the jovial Middle Eastern owner-operator of the gas station-convenience store is now a stock figure, even a beloved character, on the social-commercial landscape. But they’re not changing that fast. Some day Texans may be ready to choose as their governor a Palestinian hair-care products manufacturer, even a gay Palestinian hair-care products manufacturer. But not this day.
However, since Shami is spending so much of his CHI-derived wealth on TV and radio commercials, money that might otherwise be invested in refining new hair-care products or upping the pay and benefits of his supposed 1,200 Texas-based employees, we believe the political press has the obligation to pursue these matters of public interest. At the very least, answers to these questions would provide fodder for Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News to lob an incendiary "gotcha” inquiry at Shami should he, Shami that is, be allowed access to the public airwaves for a debate with the other Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Houston and whoever else is on the primary ballot.
We also hope someone in the political press will clear up a recently arisen question regrading the pronunciation of the candidate’s last name. On his commercials and elsewhere we’ve only heard it pronounced to rhyme with “Mammy!”, as in the Shamwow! Super Shammy® (made in Germany--they make good stuff in Germany!). The other night, though, we saw a Channel 11 report on some big money-back guarantee Shami is about to offer voters (WARNING: REPORT INCLUDES BRIEF APPEARANCE BY RICE UNIVERSITY’S BOB STEIN) and heard Shern-Min Chow, whom we think is a graduate of Yale or some other Ivy League institution, repeatedly pronounce it sha-ME. Now “SHAM-me” is a name Texans can relate to, since so many take a shammy to their pick-ups after a good Turtle-Waxing, but sha-ME sounds too effeminate, even Frenchified, for a Texas governor.
It may be too late for this, but Shami should follow the lead of another Palestinian-Texan trailblazer, perriennial Houston office-seeker Sam Fayed, who changed his name to (something like) “Texas Sam Houston Fayed” for ballot purposes. We like the sound of Farouk “Sam Houston Lamar Tom Landry Earl Campbell Jose Texas” Shami. That should do it.