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Arnold Schwarzenegger

A name to be reckoned with

On August 6th, 2003, the audience attending the Tonight Show recieved a direct witnessing of an historic, jaw-dropping occasion: the announcement of candidacy for the California governorship by former bodybuilder and current movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. Schwarzenegger ("Arnie" as the media likes to call him) smiled for the camera, waved a massive American flag, and gave what amounted to a full-on political speech, peppering it with catchphrases from his blockbuster hits.

Of course, it would only be fitting that Schwarzenegger throw his Loden Huete into what history will likely call "That Electoral Orgy of Whackjobs and Maniacs". But unlike some of the other quasi-candidates like Gary Coleman and Gallagher, "Ah-nold" has had his eye on political office for a significant period of time.

Born in 1947 in Austria, Arnold was the son of Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger. Gustav was.... well, here we run into a problem. Gustav was a commandant in what most people usually call "The Nazis". But aside from the fact that Arnold could probably track us down and beat the living shit out of us (even in his 60's), it's not exactly clear how much of a "Nazi" Gustav really was. As most people scurrying up the tree to escape Unpleasant Truth will point out, you really couldn't be working in any authoritative capacity in Germany in the 1940's and not be affiliated with the Nazis. Whether Gustav considered his job an opportunity for some world-class oppression or a paycheck to pay for his two boys Arnold and Meinhard is lost to time.

At 15, Arnold was disenchanted by soccer and describes a sense of "power" when looking at bodybuilders, a vision that inspired him to begin weight training. By all accounts (and Jesus Christ, look at him) he took on this task of self-improvement with zeal and consistency, winning awards as "Junior Mister Europe" (which required he go AWOL from his army post to compete) and the non-junior "Mr. Europe." These awards started coming into his resume while he was still in his teens.

It was during this formative period that Schwarzenegger began to discover the joys of sex. As he recounts in his 1983 autobiography Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, the teenager's love-'em-and-leave-'em attitude received the enthusiastic approval of his father (although not his mother):

I used to feel that women were here for one reason. Sex was simply another kind of exercise, another body function. I was convinced a girl and I couldn't communicate on equal footing because she wouldn't understand what I was doing. I didn't have time to take one girl out regularly and go through a normal high-school romance with all its phone calls and notes and squabbles. That took too much time. I needed to be in the gym. For me it was a simple matter of picking them up at the lake, and then never seeing them again.

[...]

Eventually there was a split between my parents about me. My mother obviously knew what was going on with me and the girls my friends lined up. She never came out and said anything directly, but she let me know she was concerned. Things were different between me and my father. He assumed that when I was eighteen, I would just go into the Army and they would straighten me out. He accepted some of the things my mother condemned. He felt it was perfectly all right to make out with all the girls I could. In fact, he was proud I was dating the fast girls. He bragged about them to his friends. "Jesus Christ, you should see some of the women my son's coming up with." He was showing off, of course. But still, our whole relationship had changed because I'd established myself by winning a few trophies and now had some girls. He was particularly excited about the girls. And he liked the idea that I didn't get involved. "That's right, Arnold," he'd say, as though he'd had endless experience, "never be fooled by them." That continued to be an avenue of communication between us for a couple of years. In fact, the few nights I took girls home when I was on leave from the Army, my father was always very pleasant and would bring out a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses.

His name first shows up on the pop culture radar with his title of "Mr. Universe" at the age of 20. Considered one of the world's top bodybuilders, he soon found himself appearing in a number of films and documentaries related to the gentle art of holding big things aloft.

Calling himself "Arnold Strong", he started to get small parts in Hollywood films, including Stay Hungry and The Villain. If we were feeling particularly ungenerous, we might mention his first starring role in the weightsploitation flick Hercules in New York (also released as Hercules Goes Bananas). In most of his film appearances, he used his significantly stunning physique to project a sense of menace or childlike innocence brought forth to a hulk-like rage.

And "film appearances" are the key words here, because if there's one thing that everyone agrees on, it's that Arnold has issues with the language of English. His distinctive pronunciation of lines in his movies and his general penchant for short catchphrases has been a great route to stardom, but it does not mean that listening to him speak for a sustained period of time is quite as entertaining. Luckily for Arnold, he has had a number of film directors who have had the talent to work with this issue. As a result, his breakthrough hit as a strong, mostly silent robot in The Terminator (1984) and his just-on-the-cusp-of-success Conan films (1982 and 1984) relied on an extreme lack of dialogue. In the case of Terminator, thespian Schwarzenegger speaks a mere 17 lines of dialogue (sixteen different phrases, one twice) and imitates the voice of two other actors. The rest of the film relies on the skill of the director and the ability of the other actors to skitter around Arnold's considerable presence. For extra fun, be sure that when you rent and listen to his early movies, you get the dubbed versions, where it wasn't considered box office candy to let Arnie speak with his regular voice.

From these relatively humble beginnings, Schwarzenegger's star continued to climb to breathtaking heights, and he became one of Hollywood's most bankable leading actors. Along the way, he also recieved a bit of a reputation as someone that was very easy to piss off if your media product presented him in a less than stellar light. While the Rotten Library isn't concerned about losing that big interview with the Mogul of Muscle, many others wavered in reporting non-positive stories. Report something bad about Arnie, and you'd have a similar amount of difficulty getting his smiling face on your cover and an actual, in-person interview with him. As a result, Arnold has more than the usual "scuttlebutt" surrounding him, either out of spite on the part of reporters, or because it's all true. We won't go into those sorts of rumors here; we hate wearing ties in court.

It hasn't always been about stardom, movies and press blackouts, of course... since the 1970's, Arnie had fallen in love with and consistently dated reporter Maria Shriver, finally marrying her in 1986. This made him a Kennedy-in-Law, since Maria was the daughter of Eunice Kennedy, sister of Kennedys Robert and John. The match was considered pretty bizzare, since Maria was a member of one of the classic Democrat families, and Arnie a staunch Republican, but who are we to judge. At the Wedding.... oh, damn, there we are with the Nazis again.

See, Arnold invited Kurt Waldheim to the wedding, who had been a friend of Gustav's (Arnold's father, remember?), and who also happened to be a Nazi. No beating around the bush here; the man was a war criminal, and in fact was banned the year after Schwarzenegger's wedding from entering the United States. Waldheim was unable to attend the wedding, but instead did the right thing and sent along a sculpture of the newlyweds, depicting Arnold hoisting Maria on his shoulders, him dressed in lederhosen and she in a dirndl skirt and laced-up blouse. This spectacularly taste-variant gift inspired Arnold to raise a glass to Waldheim in his absence and propose a toast to him. His support for Waldheim has not diminished with time.

With this whole Nazi thing lying on him like an ugly golf shirt, Schwarzenegger has taken a number of steps in the ensuing years to make up for it in the eyes of those who would not be fond of Nazis. He has donated millions to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and has, in his words, "begun learning Hebrew". The Wiesenthal Center thinks the world of him now and has given him awards for his generosity.

Anyway, speaking of sudden and unwarranted rises to power.... Arnold started visiting the White House as something other than a highly noticed movie star when he signed on as chairman of the President's Council of Physical Fitness in the 1990 Bush White House. This august body, which had been first chaired by Richard M. Nixon in 1956, turned out to be a nice way for Arnie to spend an awful lot of time in the corridors of power. Between urging America's astoundingly fat children to do the occasional push-up, he must have smelled those plants in the Rose Garden a bit too much, because here and there in the press were mentions by him about interest in politics.

A 1990 profile in U.S. News and World Report noted Arnold's intensity as Locker Room Czar, and predicted that he would someday run for office. After noting a longstanding desire for political clout ("My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it."), the article quotes the actor as saying:

"People need somebody to watch over them. . . . Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave."

And hey, if Clint Eastwood can run Carmel, Sonny Bono can run Palm Springs and become a Congressman, and Ronald Reagan can do... whatever the hell he did, who's to say some Austrian with world-class biceps couldn't become Governor, and maybe even President? Oh, that's right, the Constitution.

There's no constitutional law against foreign-born nationals becoming Governor of California, of course, but there is certainly one against them becoming President of the United States. Article II, Section 1: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States." This presents a problem for any presidential aspirations for Arnold.

But don't worry! Our fine lawmakers have made the occasional stab to remove this limitation out from under us.

In July of 2003, Senator Orrin Hatch introduced a proposed amendment to the constitution to allow anyone foreign born and a resident for twenty years to be eligible for the office of President. Hatch and Schwarzenegger are old friends, and it is widely held that this amendment was a favor, should the governorship turn out to be a potential stepping stone as it was for the previous actor.

Interestingly enough, Congressman Barney Frank introduced similar legislation in 2000 to remove the natural-born requirement from the presidental rules as well, citing the lack of opportunity given to people who have joined the country and shown throughout their lives to be fine citizens. And even more interesting are the following words between Representative Frank and one of the witnesses during the Judiciary Committee meeting in which the bill was killed, which we'll leave you thinking about:

Mr. MCDONALD: All right. I could give what I consider the definitive argument against the proposed amendment in two words: Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I have been allotted 5 minutes, so I will take the 5. I will explain the reference, if it does not follow.

our
next
President

[Later in the testimony...]
Mr. FRANK: Thank you. First, I would ask, Professor McDonald, I assume the reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger was to hold out the terrible prospect that he might get elected President.
Mr. MCDONALD: Yes.
Mr. FRANK: I think what I find is that that shows -- the assumption is that there is no great discretion on the part of the public.
Mr. MCDONALD: They have elected a number of actors before to high office.
Mr. FRANK: Yes, they have, and I think they did a reasonable job, given their values. And I think that I am glad you brought it up, because it seems to me what we have here is, in the guise of a defense of the American citizens, a denigration of them; the notion that they somehow cannot be trusted to make these decisions.

timeline

17 Aug 1907 Father, Gustav Schwarzenegger, born.
1 Mar 1938 Gustav Schwarzenegger joins the Nazi Party, two weeks before Anschluss. At the time, he sported a "Hitler-style moustache." During the war, he fought in France and on the Eastern Front.
1 May 1939 Gustav Schwarzenegger joins the Sturmabteilung, or S.A. Brownshirts. It should be noted this occurred six months after Kristallnacht. However, Gustav does not appear to have actually held strong anti-Semitic views, and certainly did not participate in any war crimes. He joined primarily because he was a member of civil law enforcement in his town.
20 Oct 1945 Gustav Schwarzenegger marries Aurelia Jadrny, in Mursteg, Austria.
17 Jul 1946 Brother, Meinhard Schwarzenegger, born in Austria.
30 Jul 1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger born in Thal, Austria.
6 Nov 1955 Maria Shriver, future wife, born, Chicago IL.
1963 According to an account by Alfred Gerstl, Schwarzenegger helped chase neo-Nazis out of Graz, Austria: "There was a clash and Arnold along with some bodybuilders chased the Nazis down Herrengasse Street," he recalled in the interview published in German last month." (Nu Magazine, a Jewish publication, as reported by the BBC)
1970 Appears in Hercules in New York, as Hercules. Credited as Arnold Strong.
20 May 1971 Brother, Meinhard Schwarzenegger, dies in an automobile accident.
1 Dec 1972 Arnold's father, Gustav, dies in Austria. Buried in Weiz Cemetery, Weiz, Austria.
1974 "At that point, I didn't think about money. I thought about the fame, about just being the greatest. I was dreaming about being some dictator of a country or some savior like Jesus. Just to be recognized." Rolling Stone
1975 When author and producer George Butler asked who he admired most, Schwarzenegger replied, "I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education up to power. And I admire him for being such a good public speaker." Butler also makes claims the actor "frequently clicked his heels and pretended to be an S.S. officer" and that he enjoyed playing "Nazi marching songs from long-playing records from his collection at home." New York Times.
1976 Poses nude for Robert Mapplethorpe at least twice.
Feb 1977 Arnold Schwarzenegger poses naked in gay magazine After Dark, appearing in 22 photographs shot by Jack Mitchell including the full cover color. The photos selected "combined the very exhibitionist photos for maximum sex appeal to its gay demographic" (Jack Fritscher)
Aug 1977 Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a candid interview to Oui magazine. "On the exploitation of women: If a girl comes on strong and says, 'I really dig your body and I want to fuck the shit out of you,' I just decide whether or not I like her. If I do take her home, I try to make sure I get just as much out of it as she does. The word exploited therefore wouldn't apply... On getting his knob polished: We had girls backstage giving head, then all of us went out and I won. It didn't bother me at all; in fact, I went out there feeling like King Kong... On homosexuality and bodybuilding: Men shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies. Gay people are fighting the same kind of stereotyping that bodybuilders are: People have certain misconceptions about them just as they do about us. Well, I have absolutely no hang-ups about the fag business."
1977 Appears in Pumping Iron as himself.
1978 Receives a painful bikini wax (Reference: Tonight Show with Jay Leno).
1978 Arnold Schwarzenegger poses naked for talented homosexual photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
1982 Appears in Conan the Barbarian as Conan.
1982 Appears in The Terminator as a robot from the future.
1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger tells People magazine: "It's so easy to make money here. You know, Franco and I were always laughing at the American people, because they never knew how to use the system - they complain and complain. I'm always seeing Europeans coming over making money and investing."
Oct 1983 Schwarzenegger's autobiography is released, entitled Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder.
25 Apr 1986 Marries a Kennedy, Maria Owings Shriver, Hyannisport Maine. Kurt Waldheim was invited, but unable to attend because he is forbidden to enter the United States; a toast was raised to him instead. Waldheim's gift was a supersize sculpture of the bridge and groom, with Arnold in leiderhosen. A reception was held at the Kennedy Compound. Clam chowder permeated the festivities, which was billed as an "Austrian clambake" (note: Austria is a landlocked country.) Mugs created for the occasion state proudly, "Maria and Arnold, April 25, 1986, Chowderheads."
1987 Future Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Predator, which features future Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura.
1988 Appears in Twins as the unlikely twin of Danny DeVito.
1988 Joins advisory board of U.S. English, a pro-English language organization.
18 Apr 1989 Arnold Schwarzenegger appears on the cover of the Sun (U.S. tabloid, not the U.K. newspaper), half naked, with a sword. He talks about his dreams.
1989 President George HW Bush names Arnold Schwarzenegger chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness.
1990 Appears in Kindergarten Cop, where he informs us that, indeed, it is not a tumor.
1991 Appears in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
1991 Receives the National Leadership Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
1994 Travels to Utah to campaign for Senator Orrin Hatch.
1996 "Karen, I can't believe your boyfriend stayed with you. My husband wouldn't go near me again. He would leave me, because I would be damaged goods." (Maria Shriver, Arnold's wife, to rape victim Karen Pomer after a Dateline NBC interview. Schwarzenegger's staff denies this, but a witness corroborated Pomer's recollection.) New York Daily News.
1996 Estimated income: $74M. Forbes
16 Apr 1997 Arnold Schwarzenegger undergoes elective heart surgery, to replace a damaged aortic valve. While some suggested steroid use as the cause of the defect, it is actually congenital.
Aug 1998 Arnold Schwarzenegger's mother, Aurelia Jadrny Schwarzenegger, dies in Weiz, Austria.
1 Oct 1999 In an interview for Talk magazine, Arnold Schwarzenegger admits wanting to run for Governor of California in 2002. "Oh yeah, I think about it many times. ... The possibility is there because I feel it inside. I feel there are a lot of people standing still and not doing enough. And there's a vacuum."
Apr 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with Bush political advisers to discuss whether the actor should run for Governor of California in 2002. Karl Rove says "That would be really nice. That would be really, really nice."
24 Apr 2001 Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly declares he will not run for Governor of California in 2002.
17 May 2001 Enron CEO Ken Lay meets with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Milken, and 12 other California Republicans at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. There they share (according to Enron emails) "an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation." Later, during his campaign for governor, Schwarzenegger claims he is unable to remember anything about the meeting, including whether he even met Ken Lay.
27 Nov 2001 American Media acquires ownership of Weider Publications from Joe Weider for $350M. Joe Weider is one of Schwarzenegger's (former?) business partners, with his company currently publishing seven high-circulation fitness magazines. Why is this interesting? According to Weider, David Pecker, head of American Media, told him over dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in January 2002, "Joe, we've done enough on Arnold. We're going to lay off of him. We're not going to pull up any dirt on him." And he has kept his word. (Pecker denies this story, but there is no denying the business interest: Arnold still retains much influence in the bodybuilding world.)
18 Mar 2002 In response to a query that Schwarzenegger received a facelift to look so good in his 50's, he answers, "You are confusing me with Cher." (People Magazine.) It is readily apparent to anyone examining "before and after" pictures that Arnold has received plastic surgery on his eyes, on his chin, and received a facelift.
14 Nov 2002 During the re-release of the documentary Pumping Iron, Arnold Schwarzenegger tells a reporter: "I did smoke a joint and I did inhale... The bottom line is that's what it was in the '70s, that's what I did. I have never touched it since."
10 Apr 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with White House political adviser Karl Rove to discuss anything other than whether the actor should run for Governor of California in 2006.
10 Jul 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger's friend Senator Orrin Hatch introduces Senate Joint Resolution 15, a constitutional amendment which would allow foreign born citizens of the United States the opportunity to run for President. He calls it the "Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment".
4 Aug 2003 Appears in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Arnold's crow's feet are digitally blurred out.
6 Aug 2003 Schwarznenegger uses Jay Leno's Tonight Show to announce his candidacy for Governor of California, and to tell the world about his painful bikini wax.
3 Sep 2003 At a campaign rally, a man "eggs" Arnold and is body-tackled by security.
17 Sep 2003 When asked at a press conference which gubernatorial candidate she would most like to have sex with, porn actress Mary Carey tells reporters: "I think Arnold is hot; I wish I'd been in that group sex thing he talked about in Oui."
24 Sep 2003 During the only televised gubernatorial debate that Schwarzenegger agreed to appear in, he curtly informs accentually-challenged candidate Arianna Huffington that she could use "more decaf".
30 Sep 2003 "These two guys come up and they just start questioning me, with very intrusive questions about Arnold Schwarzenegger. They look like FBI agents, but they’re from the Los Angeles Times." Heidi Fleiss, convicted Hollywood Madam. (Celebrity Justice magazine, a Time/Warner publication)
1 Oct 2003 The Los Angeles Times reports that six women have come forward with allegations of sexual impropriety against Arnold Schwarzenegger. The allegations range from unexpected groping of breasts to unexpected groping of buttocks. More interesting are the pick-up lines Arnold allegedly used on one of the women, "We could have a lot of fun in half an hour." An encounter days later, same woman, the line had evolved to "Now you will come to my apartment."
2 Oct 2003 At a campaign stop in San Diego, Arnold Schwarzenegger admits to charges of womanizing: "So I want to say to you: yes, that I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful, but now I recognize that I have offended people. And to those people that I have offended, I want to say to them: I am deeply sorry about that, and I apologize because this is not what I'm trying to do. When I am governor, I will prove to women that I will be a champion for women. I hope you will give me the chance to prove this."
3 Oct 2003 Addressing the National Press Club in Washington, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch once again tries to drum up support for his proposed Constitutional amendment to permit foreign-born citizens to run for President. "If Arnold Schwarzenegger turns out to be the greatest governor of California, which I hope he will, if he turns out to be a tremendous leader and he proves to everybody in this country that he's totally dedicated to this country as an American... we would be wrong not to give him that opportunity."
5 Oct 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger assures Tom Brokaw that he will respond to the allegations of sexual misconduct at the earliest possible opportunity: "As soon as the campaign is over I will -- I can get into all of the specifics and find out what is really going on. But right now I'm just really occupied with the campaign."
7 Oct 2003 Governator: In a special recall election, voters elect Arnold Schwarzenegger Governor of California by a wide margin. Arnold's victory speech, carefully timed to interrupt fellow candidate Bustamante's concession speech, was brilliantly executed with a rather odd backdrop of Democratic Kennedies backing this new moderate Republican governor.
14 Oct 2003 At the company's annual shareholder's meeting, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison declares: "Commando is one of my favorite movies... I think [Schwarzenegger] is a very smart guy and his policies are a substantial improvement over the former governor."
31 Oct 2003 Regarding recently-elected California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Fidel Castro declares: "To judge from the photographs, he has a lot of muscle, but they have not tested him to see how much muscle he has in the brain... He may well have more force in the arms than in the brain."
17 Nov 2003 In a ceremony commencing with the National Anthem sung by dethroned Miss America Vanessa Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger is inaugurated as Governor of California.


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