Price, Hooser don't see eye to blue eye
I WAS CALLED a lot of things in high school, mostly "haole" preceded by one of a number of colorful copulatory adjectives, but no one ever commented on the color of my eyes.
So it was pretty funny that when KSSK radio personality Larry Price wanted to make a point about state Sen. Gary Hooser's haoleness during a radio interview last week, he basically accused Hooser of having -- block the ears of little children in the room -- blue eyes.
Hooser boldly confessed that his eyes were indeed blue, but didn't see what that had to do with the discussion about what the state Legislature had been up to recently. Price pressed on to what I consider firmer ground, the fact that Hooser was using the word "honestly" a lot in his remarks. It is a bit unnerving to hear a politician say "honestly," sort of like being poked with a sharp stick in the small of your back. But then Price veered into Don Imus territory by suggesting that "when local people hear somebody from the mainland talk about how honest everything is, that means that something's wrong."
WELL, DON'T that make your brown eyes blue? It made my hazel eyes blue. And made Hooser's blue eyes blue. He was basically being told that since he was a haole from the mainland, his opinion was not important. Hooser naturally resented the racially offensive insinuation and, in another age, would have struck Price across the face with a glove and demanded satisfaction at sunrise, choice of weapons to be decided later.
But this not being another age, the Kauai senator simply told Price he didn't like being accused of being from California (who would?) and didn't like the blue-eyes crack much, either. Price graciously failed to retreat, adding, "I don't care what you think."
A radio host telling an invited guest that he doesn't care what the guest thinks must be relying on some part of the Professional Radio Host Interviewer Handbook I'm not familiar with, but it does make for lively listening. I didn't get to hear the actual Price-Blue Eyes exchange, but I'm sure it was an eye-opener for Price's co-host, Michael W. Perry. Perry and Price have been the top radio team in Hawaii since the passing of Aku (aka J. Akuhead Pupule, aka Hal Lewis) a million years ago. In all that time, I don't recall Price accusing Perry of being born in Michigan (which he was) or alleging his eyes are of some nonlocal primary color.
But this really isn't a Don Imus "nappy-headed ho" type of controversy. The incident might have made Hooser feel he was back at Radford High School having his haoleness thrown in his face, but Price really is a gentleman and not a racist. He clearly just got up on the wrong side of the microphone that morning. The radio station and Price have officially apologized, thus taking all the fun out it. I mean, epees at dawn in Kapiolani Park would have been GREAT radio.
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