Salon: Giuliani's a psycho

Enjoyably vicious hit piece by Cintra Wilson on America’s mayor in today’s issue arguing that he’s a head case whose quest for militaristic power may very well plunge America into the Apocalypse. That’s also the rap on Bush, of course, and it used to be the rap on McCain. Among some crowds, if you’re a hawkish conservative you’re practically ipso facto mental.

The article’s actually a useful primer for non-New Yorkers on some of the scandals during his administration. None of this stuff will stick — if anything, his crusade against the elephant-dung painting of Mary will comfort red-staters leery of his left leanings on social issues — but it’s all part of the record so you’ll be hearing about it in the future. Might as well get acquainted with it now.

Besides, Wilson’s funny. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

On [9/11] our reptile brains looked at Rudy Giuliani and said, “We’re OK now. Daddy’s home.”

And we forgot, some for a moment, some permanently, that Daddy was psycho…

When he became mayor in 1994, his personality disorders reached full flower. As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, young Rudy was torn between the priesthood and the law, opting for the latter. Though being a prosecutor did allow him to be both censorious and powerful, which he clearly enjoyed, the job of mayor was a dreamlike fusion of his two childhood ambitions. He was like a pope with a gun.

That was the same year Giuliani officially adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward any and all criticism and satire aimed at himself. He had the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority remove an ad for New York magazine from city buses that joked that the magazine was “Possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for.” A U.S. District Court judge slapped Rudy down for his inability to take a joke or tolerate the First Amendment; the ban was lifted. But this only seemed to encourage him even further in his delusion of being Warrior Christ of the Apocalypse-elect.

During the Giuliani era, it was routine police procedure to handcuff and jail New Yorkers over minor infractions like smoking a joint in public, and then to drop charges. If you wanted to prosecute the police for misconduct after such an experience, you couldn’t do so without opening your own case back up. Job suicide, in today’s fundamentalist corporate atmosphere — still, nearly 70,000 people filed lawsuits against the New York Police Department during Giuliani’s two terms as mayor, claiming they were strip-searched for offenses as minor as jaywalking.

Martial law, anyone?

Elsewhere in New-Yorkers-going-national news: “I’m really going to go for this.”