Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He was a greatly interesting man


     I’m attempting to spark a dialogue between me ‘n’ the curious Mr. Howard Ahmanson, Jr.—on his blog: here. I’ll let you know how it goes. The more I read about Ahmanson, the more intriguing he becomes.
     I’m actually somewhat serious about my comparison of the late Tom Fuentes with Charles Foster Kane, the fictional enigmatic publisher in the film Citizen Kane. Almost all that I know about Fuentes concerns “the external.” The real man, it seems, was hidden from view, at least to those who did not know him well.
     In a similar way, Fuentes might also be compared with Richard Nixon, Fuentes’ hero, a highly unusual and driven man whose inner nature seemed forever hidden from view.
     But these “externals” are pretty damn fascinating, in my view. Especially in the case of Tom Fuentes, I do think the portrait they paint is underestimated or unappreciated. It is striking, an incredible and bewildering saga.
     I recall a conversation years ago with a colleague in which we both noted the odd circumstance that “we” (denizens of IVC or perhaps denizens of the SOCCCD) seem destined to operate on a stage dominated by spectacularly curious and unique people. As I recall, we were thinking of both Raghu Mathur and Tom Fuentes.
     Unless he gets that County Superintendent gig, Raghu now is merely pathetic, a public failure with an unjustly large bank account and some purloined poinsettias.
     Fuentes, meanwhile, must be seen as an important and influential man, though a defeated one, in important respects. He was a real mover and shaker. He was also a giant (in some spheres) who was brought down.
     It seems that some of our readers fail to understand this about him.
     And he is utterly fascinating. He died leaving several intriguing questions unanswered.
     It shall be my aim in the coming days to present the unappreciated and stunning fact-based portrait of Thomas Alexander Fuentes—from my inevitably external perspective.
     Was he a great man? He was, in my view, a greatly interesting man and, I think, a very strange man.
Hospitals have made him cry,
But there's always a freeway in his eye,
Though his beach just got
too crowded for his stroll.
Roads stretch out like healthy veins,
And wild gift horses strain the reins,
Where even Richard Nixon has got soul.
Even Richard Nixon has got soul.
—From Young's "Campaigner"

4 comments:

  1. Wasn't there a sculpture in the A-quad that referenced this Neil Young song? The rusty thing with yellow paint? The artist used George Bush's name instead of Nixon's. It's been replaced.

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  2. 7:06, yes, the name of the piece alluded to this song, which I noted here on DtB. LDA totally freaked, claiming that I was endangering her programs or something, cuz Fuentes might read it. Loony, man.

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  3. Is that why the sculpture was replaced?

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  4. 10:23, I doubt it. It was replaced much later, I think. It was among those that weren't secured for permanent display. Likely LDA made that decision.

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