I'm worried about George Ray. Call me paranoid, but I believe that George—the huggable, white-haired patriarch of every KCTS pledge drive—has been overtaken by a pod person.
Let me apologize, first, for returning to the subject of KCTS, my favorite whipping boy; I realize that I've made KCTS my bitch. We have a sick, passionate, co-dependent relationship. I tried to stay away from it, to stop hurting it for my kicks. I had a fling with network TV, and found some cheap fantasies: I now want to deflower Jason, that virginal, goody-goody Alabaman from Big Brother 3, and then I'd like Simon Baker from The Guardian to come over and tell me what a bad boy I was for doing it. But that's another story.
In the meantime, I've returned to channel 9, and find myself vexed by George's possession. Sure, I've long suspected KCTS as the victim of a furtive alien coup—it's the only reasonable explanation for its pledge drive, which happens so frequently I believe it's now an official series. And then there's the airing of things like the recent Liberace bio, which I watched for half an hour until I realized it had yet to mention the fact that the man was the biggest flaming homosexual who ever walked the planet (we were led to think he was just a boy who really loved his mother). But I believed, for a time, that George was a stalwart, if befuddled, holdout.
I was wrong. His silent human form is lying still in a cave somewhere, while a sneaky form of space vegetable has commandeered his likeness. I knew something was fishy when, as I've mentioned in earlier columns, Ray began to heap insane praise on the station's programming—exhorting the joys of crooning Belgian devil-child Michael Jr. and claiming that a documentary on the pope had more veracity because it was made with the cooperation of the Vatican (that hallowed hall of truth tellers).
Nothing, however, prepared me for last week. In another blatant move against all common sense, the station aired the concert of one Daniel Rodriguez, a tenor and Irish NYPD officer who's making money off the 9/11 tragedies by singing Danny Boy to grieving New Yorkers (Amazon.com's straight-faced bio of the vocalist says that "while his colleagues toiled around the clock in rescue efforts, Rodriguez delivered renditions of 'God Bless America' that rallied his city and his country." Yeah, I bet those toiling colleagues were thrilled ). Cutting back to the pledge drive from Rodriguez's Spirit of America special, we were treated to George looking right into the camera telling us with crinkled eyes that this was what public television was for: "faith, hope, and patriotism," and if you couldn't enjoy it, "you're not on the same page with us." I nearly spit out my Ho Ho.
People, George needs our help. These aliens must be stopped; this is only the beginning. If you're watching Sesame Street and a glassy-eyed Ernie begins to speak of his special friend Patrick Buchanan, don't say I didn't warn you.