When news anchors get pissed, it’s art

Je suis KUSI’s Dan Plante

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about a news clip and I don’t want to stop. It’s amazing, and I’ve found myself replaying it in my head. It’s been causing some sort of an existential...what’s the opposite of crisis? Validation? Maybe. It makes me happy to be alive, and it also saddens me that no one is as obsessed with it. This cannot stand. You leave me no choice to do a deep dive. Leave it to ol’ Bradford, watcher of the watchers, to cover the real news around here. 

Before watching, a bit of backstory:  

A few weeks ago, a woman filmed Peter Carzis—owner of Peter's Men's Apparel and walking coke nail—as he kissed, groped and sucked on the breasts of a woman in front of his store in broad daylight

Watch the clip [R.L Stine voice] if you dare... 

People, naturally, had questions. The first that comes immediately to mind is: uh, what’s wrong with you? 

I guess I wasn’t the only one with inquiries, because it didn’t take long before a flock of journalists descended on Carzis’s store. Carzis, to his credit, doesn’t seem to know how the world works and could thusly be forgiven for his surprise when people were curious as to exactly what he was doing, but there’s no excuse for the violence that followed: 

Yikes. 

However, despite the faith in humanity we lose after watching that clip, we quickly gain it back thanks to KUSI’s follow-up coverage. It’s this video that has been replaying in my head for the past few weeks. It’s like a salve for me, soothing the burns of everyday living. KUSI’s website won’t let me embed the video, so please click the following link:

https://www.kusi.com/la-mesa-business-owner-gets-in-physical-altercation-with-reporters/

Nine minutes. The segment is nine fucking minutes long. Even those with the most basic knowledge of local news formatting know that that’s a gargantuan amount of time for an evening show, especially for San Diego’s most light-on-its-feet, right-wing propagandist station. Hell, even KUSI’s exclusive interview with disgraced former congressman Duncan Hunter (for which he only allowed staff-suggested questions) only clocks in at 4:30 minutes.   

Of course, when a news station has that much disregard for decorum or objectivity, magic is bound to happen, and few things are more magical than KUSI news anchor Dan Plante, a victim of Cerzis’s assault. 

Watching Plante’s report is like watching a therapy session in real time. If there is a Stages of Grief-like protocol for being assaulted on TV, Plante would be its nicely-tanned poster child. 

He goes through the gamut of emotions—from outrage, to concern, and ultimately acceptance. 

At the beginning of the segment, Plante makes no secret of his feelings. “Yeah the guy went after me,” he says. “He started trying to kick me and punch me. Fortunately, he’s a slow, old man and he didn’t connect. So that was good.” 

These are the words of a man who doesn’t know if he won or lost a fight. Plante makes it clear that there was no physical connection, but I sense some deep-seated regret on Plante’s part that he wasn’t able to return any punches for obvious professional reasons. Perhaps that’s a little embarrassing, hence the “slow, old man” bit—a nice, venomous touch. 

Plante continues, breathless, coming down from adrenaline: 

“He tried to go not only at me but my photographer. All the other reporters from the other stations. I mean this guy came out blazing with his fists andhis feet.” 

I love Plante’s description of “fists and feet,” as if he were doing battle with a multi-limbed monster. He then points out Carzis’s business, explicitly framed for clarity. Plante wants no confusion as to what store Carzis owns. 

“He threw a couple of punches at me, tried to kick me a couple of times. Actually his watchband got me in the nose, little cut right there, but [throws hands up] I’ll get over it.”

Ah, there it is. The little cut. Not a noteworthy injury, but an affront to Plante’s pride. I can see in his eyes that he is, in fact,  not “over it.” 

Unfortunately, Plante then falls into gender stereotyping, damsel-ing a professional colleague to make his case: 

“Clearly there is something going on here that is not right. Particularly, when the first person he attacked—you guys—the first person he went after when he came out blazing, was a young woman [takes deep breath] from Univision, and he pushed her up against the wall, and he took her camera and threw it into the street [mimes throwing camera] and broke it into 100 pieces. She’s not going to be on TV tonight because the camera’s broken. And that poor woman was shaking. It was just unbelievable.” 

I mean, given KUSI’s conservative foundation, it’s not very surprising that Plante does this, but it’s still disappointing. I’m not going to rule out that It also could just be him projecting his own masculine insecurities. I’m sure that a “young woman from Univision” needs advocacy from local KUSI anchor like Shakira needs a legion of Twitter men defending her Super Bowl halftime performance. 

At 6:19, we think the segment is over. “That’s what’s happening in La Mesa,” Plante says. Then the in-studio anchor asks what was going through Plante’s head, and thank god that he does, because we get a serious lesson in self defense and the epitome of “I’m not mad, I’m laughing, actually”:  

“When he was throwing punches at me, I was kind of laughing a little bit because I’m not afraid of a guy like that. So what was going through my mind was block the punches [mimes blocking punches] block the kicks [mimes blocking kicks], get it all on videotape and expose the guy for who he is. Picture’s worth a thousand words and all that kind of stuff.” 

Surely Plante’s teeth-sucking “Yeaahh” is the end of the segment. In what world could it not be the end of this perfect encapsulation of local news media? Not Plante’s world, that’s for sure. He wants one more opportunity to convey how not scared, not angry and rational he is: 

“But I wasn’t scared or anything like that, I was afraid for some of the other folk that you know... and quite honestly, when he went back in the front door, when he finally had enough of us... a lot of us decided to move across the street just in case he came out with a different sort of approach to us, if you know what I’m say-ing.”

When I die, please somehow play the two hard syllables Dan Plante injects into “saying” as if he’s spitting out two chewed-up pieces of vitriol. 

As the onscreen anchor wraps it up (finally), Plante begins doing faux kung-fu moves, and voila! His Pulitzer has undoubtedly already been shipped. 

It may seem that I’m making fun of Plante—okay not gonna lie, I kind of am—but the main reason that I keep coming back to this (apart from the kung-fu moves) is because I also find his not-so-restrained show of emotion inspiring. He absolutely has the right to be pissed, and righteous anger is not something we see very often. Our culture is in a state right now that it feels like any strong emotion is eventually punished, at least online. Anger often gets ridiculed as “tantrums” and “meltdowns.” Happiness is mocked. Humor is actually’d. Streamlined detachment, casual cruelty and innocuous didacticism seem to be the acceptable tones for online discourse. 

Rage dominates conservative news, but this feels different. It feels righteous and, for once, honest.  

Je suis Dan Plante.

 


THE ONLY CONCERT CALENDAR THAT MATTERS™

Adeumazel

Wednesday, Feb. 5

OPTION 1: Blu Anxxiety, New Skeletal Faces, The Passengers, Gritos, DJDisorder @ SPACE. Blue Anxxiety is grimy and I dig it. Their music is a mix of goth, old school industrial and a little bit of post punk. It’s like the soundtrack to a Gaspar Noe film

Thursday, Feb. 6

OPTION 1: Mortiis, Tomb, Francis Roberts @ Brick By Brick. Man, Mortiis really dodged a bullet. As one of the founding members of Emperor, he’s responsible for pioneering black metal, but left the band before it fell into the church burning and murder that rocked that Norwegian scene in the early ‘90s. Now, Mortiis crafts goth, cinematic orchestrations and on his synths while dressing up as a goblin. Some people want to watch the world burn, but most of us just want to nerd out in our goblin costumes. 

OPTION 2: Spirit in the Room, Elephant, Rifle, Batwings, Larrikin, Psychopop @ SPACE. I apologize for being heavy on the goth this week, but politics got me in a bad way and all I have is retreating into darkness. Spirit in the Room crafts an eclectic mix of doom, punk and experimental electro. Check out “Sunset Nightmare” (featuring Keith Morris of Black Flag) for a very tight, very cool audio assault.  

Friday, Feb. 7

OPTION 1: DR3AMBRO5, Secret Fun Club, Nathan Hubbard, Carrie Feller @ Til-Two Club. I don’t recommend this show if you’re at all insecure about your own musical prowess, because all of these people are some of the most technically skilled musicians in San Diego. I’m of the basic mindset that when I think of math rock, I imagine a band throwing in an occasional 5/4 time signature, but watching this video of DR3AMBRO5 on Halfway Home Sessions is like slamming your face against a white board of quantum physics equations.

OPTION 2: The English Beat, Warsaw Poland Brothers @ The Music Box. There are a few guitar tones that give me an immediate rush of dopamine. The two that immediately come to mind are the opening riff in New Order’s “Ceremony” and The English Beat’s “Save it for Later.” One of my all time favorite songs. 

Saturday, Feb. 8

OPTION 2: Fresh Pots! Music Festival @ Che Café. This is a super cool festival showcasing music from both sides of the border, and I’m sorry I slept on last weekend’s edition. I don’t know a lot of these bands, but I saw Adeumazel at Whistle Stop a few months ago and they blew me away—an example of a technically thrilling band who don’t let their complexity get in the way of the groove. Other bands include: San Pedro El Cortez, Parque de Cometas, Sociedad Secreta del Vacio and Fractal, Incognito, Aldente, Junipero and FRNCE. 

OPTION 2: The 69 Eyes, Wednesday 13, Sumo Cyco, The Crowned @ Brick By Brick. There’s something really satisfying about sleazy, Sunset Strip goth-rock to me and The 69 Eyes remind me a little of The Cult, for whom I have a dark soft spot. Like, anybody who can stroll into a place wearing a black leather cowboy hat and fringe hanging off their sleeves is okay in my book. 

Sunday, Feb. 9

OPTION 1: Begonia, Wsprgrl, Ingonoir, Snapghost @ Soda Bar. It’s hard to describe Begonia without just listing all the genres, but she’s got the pipes of Fiona Apple, and her music is a mix of Radiohead, Billy Eilish, and Portishead. Maybe that’s not accurate. I don’t know... I tried. But she rules. 

OPTION 2: Scraper, Stalins of Sound, Batlords, Good Time Girl @ Tower Bar. Taking cues from the likes of Jay Reatard, Scraper carries the torch of lo-fi, pummeling punk and throws gasoline on it. Dystopian lyrics and misanthropy never sounded this fun.  

Monday, Feb. 10

OPTION 1: The Drowns, Rat City Riot, The Petty Saints @ Soda Bar. I miss the band One Man Army, and The Drowns kind of fill that hole. They play old school street punk and oi! Gal blimey! It gives you the boot! 

Tuesday, Feb. 11

OPTION 1: Samhears, Desert Lotus, Slum Summer @ The Merrow. Usually,the idea of a lone dude playing guitar to prerecorded tracks off a laptop is a huge turn off for me, but Samhears is a wild man. I had the fortune to see him a few weeks ago, and not only does he bring a frantic, unhinged showmanship to the genre, but I’m pretty sure he has perfect pitch. All in all, it’s a strange delight to watch him perform, and it’ll make you feel weird in the best possible way.  

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ONE LAST BIT OF GOOD NEWS

After last week’s soapbox about Tim Lambesis and the San Diego Music Awards, I got an email from Nina Garin, my editor over at PACIFIC Magazine, and she had this to say...

I’m incredibly humbled by this gesture. One of the main points of this newsletter—besides making me disgustingly rich!—is convincing people to love San Diego as much as I do, and this kind of stuff lets me know that people are listening. 

Thank you.

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