The Body goes south: A City Pages contest!
class=img_thumbleft>The days when Jesse Ventura could claim an opening slot on Jay Leno's couch are surely in the past. But only a true perverse streak could explain what the former governor was doing at midnight on CNBC,a network
whose viewers can frequently be counted on the fingers of an amputee.
And yet there he was last night, dressed in Johnny Cash black, trailing a long fringe of implausibly black hair ("I've dyed it since I was in my twenties," Ventura said--the old Jesse shamelessness in full effect). The signature piece to Ventura's new look is a braided, six-inch beard, which splits into a devil's fork, and wobbles like a turkey's wattle when he speaks. (The tremor that Ventura has displayed--and which some observers attribute to the legacy of steroid use--has become more pronounced.)
Following standard practice, Ventura was alternately compelling, comical, and strange. Host Donny Deutsch, a stupendously wealthy ad-exec who nonetheless comes off as a poor man's Charlie Rose, asked the usual questions about the former gov's presidential ambitions. Ventura answered smartly that a Hillary 2008 win would mean that only Bushes and Clintons had been seated in the Oval Office for 24 years, a set-up he identified as "dueling monarchies."
In a loonier moment, Ventura claimed that with nine of his SEAL buddies, he could form five roaming sniper squads that would paralyze the nation. He had a point here--something about John Mohammed and our vulnerability to terrorism--but Ventura also seemed to take pleasure from the scenario on its own merits.
At least one Minnesota viewer--and perhaps there only was one--found himself wishing that Ventura would return to the governorship. There, his out-of-control egotism ("I'm the most dangerous man in the country," he told Deutsch) and his core loathing for two-party politics could set the state right.
But Ventura is done with Minnesota--and done with America, it would seem. Ventura's big announcement, if anyone was listening, is that he plans to leave the country in search of a place with a greater respect for freedom and civil liberties. After a couple of commercial breaks, Ventura returned to the topic, while refusing to divulge where he'd be bringing his bigtop. People would try to find him, he said--the old Jesse paranoia. It would be someplace with sand and sun, he elaborated. (Perhaps reporters should start scanning the Sun Country flight manifest.)
Though Ventura couldn't muster a charitable word for former mat foe Hulk Hogan, who followed him on the program, he left us feeling generous. And so we're happy to announce a contest in Jesse's honor. Email us with your guess where Ventura will be dropping his cabana; add a comment if you'd like to publicize your opinion (you know Jesse would!). Whenever the actual location emerges--perhaps during a 3:00 a.m. slot on the Weather Channel--we'll award the winner some piece of City Pages swag that we find sitting around the office. In addition to listing the country, please add a city, which will be used to break any ties.
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