There are just some stories that you never expect to be real. Stories that seem like they’re written by the staff of The Onion, or inside a TV writer’s room or something, because they couldn’t possibly have actually happened.
Stories like this, under this headline on SPIN magazine’s website: “66-Year-Old Iowa government official fired after asking 4,300 employees to celebrate Tupac’s birthday.”
I first heard about this on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and it’s fantastic. Meet Jerry Foxhoven, the 66-year-old now-former director of Iowa’s Department of Human Services. He loves the late great rapper, Tupac Shakur.
According to the story, “his appreciation for the late great rapper, it seems, is not a passing fancy, nor a begrudging acknowledgement of a few good songs or poetic lines at the behest of a grandchild, but a feeling that permeates every corner of his life. It is within the realm of possibility, in fact, that Foxhoven lost his job with the Iowa government because he loved Tupac too much, and was a little overzealous about spreading the good word.”
Foxhoven’s love for the co-star of “Poetic Justice” knew no bounds; Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds reportedly instructed Foxhoven to resign on June 17, one work day after the sexagenarian sent an email to all 4,300 employees of the agency, informing them that Tupac’s birthday was happening over the weekend, and urging them to mark the day by listening to one of his songs.
How much did Foxhoven love Tupac? He hosted weekly “Tupac Fridays” to play his music in the office. He traded lyrics with employees and he marked his own 65th birthday with Shakur-themed cookies (pictured above), including ones decorated with the words “Thug life.”
The agency released 350 pages of emails with the words “Tupac” or “2Pac” sent to and from Foxhoven during his two-year tenure in response to an AP request.
My goodness Jerry! We all have musicians we love; as I type this in my home office I’ve got an autographed picture of Barry Manilow staring down at me. But you gotta know where to draw the line, my man!
Ah, ‘Pac. Gone so long, but in the office of the Iowa Dept. of Human Services, you are definitely not forgotten.
**Next up today, meet the Kalamazoo Growlers baseball team’s 6-year-old guest coach, Drake Livingston.
Drake, the son of a front-office exec for the minor league squad, got pretty upset at the home plate umpire last week over some calls.
So Drake threw a tantrum that would make Earl Weaver proud. This is great.
**Finally today, a few words about a new Showtime mini-series I’m getting sucked into. “The Loudest Voice,” is the story of the late Roger Ailes, the mastermind behind the creation and eventual powerhouse that is Fox News Network. Ailes, who died two years ago, was a famously combative, hard-headed ratings-obsessed man who used every dirty trick in the book, and hired insane talking heads like Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, to position Fox as a major force in American politics.
Ailes was also a very famous sexual harrasser, a bully, and an all-around awful guy. Russell Crowe, almost unrecognizably, plays Ailes and four episodes in, he’s doing a hell of a job.
We see Ailes at his charming best, sweet-talking Rupert Murdoch before eventually screaming at him. We see how controlling Ailes could be, with his wife (Sienna Miller) or a young, blonde assistant who he psychologically and sexually torments for years.
The mini-series, with four episodes aired out of seven so far, is fabulously entertaining, even though we know how it ends (Ailes was finally fired by Murdoch after many, many women accused him of harrassment). We see the power of Fox grow after 9/11, and after Barack Obama is elected President as well, as they have their ultimate enemy target.
Crowe is brilliant here, as is the supporting cast. Really, really engrossing stuff, even if some of it is hard to watch. It’s on Showtime all month, with new episodes airing Sundays at 10.