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Friday, January 14, 2005

And, Meanwhile, I Have to Work for Living.



It's funny the things that will set you off. For example, I was just reading this article on Yahoo! News, and was semi-fine with the whole thing, until I got to this bit:

In addition to the music acts, former Frasier star Kelsey Grammer (news), comedian Ben Stein and New York Giant football player Jason Sehorn will make appearances at inaugural-related events on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (emphasis added)


"Comedian" Ben Stein? Now he's a comedian? I knew he was a washed-up Nixon speechwriter. (Let's face it, Nixon can go light on the speechwriters these days. Where he is now, he's probably being forced to listen to his old speeches, not create new ones.) He's also a failed actor and out-of-work game show host. But comedian? You mean like Chris Rock or Morty Gunty?

I just can't imagine Ben Stein standing up someplace and delivery 40 minutes of snappy patter. First of all, he lacks snap. Second, he lacks patter. When you come right down to it, he's less of a monologist and more of a monotonist. He's somehow combined whining and drawling into some sort of distinct vocal emission, but listening to him plaintively telling the one about the guy with the Brooks Brothers suit would be an experience akin to having your tonsils removed sans anathesia with ice tongs.

If you don't believe me, just watch one of his commentaries on CBS Sunday Morning. It's like watching a slow-motion video of a below-average life insurance salesman. I've had chest pains that I enjoyed more.

I guess he'll probably drone on about his favorite platitudes, like "Our Troops Are Swell" and "Nice Is Good," and the celebrating crowd of high-end campaign contributors will confuse pablum for wisdom. That's fine. They've got a right.

But for the love of Groucho, don't call this mook a comedian.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As an anonymous person who loves Sunday Morning, I too am apalled that they have chosen Stein to represent the right. His whole "it's all so simple and I get it and you are an idiot so I'll put it very slowly and simply for you" attitude makes me want to throw eggs at the TV. And I would except it is my TV. Did you hear his last piece on why WalMart is great for the towns where they open stores? He actually said that the prices are so low, it is like the whole town got a raise! Not to mention all the great jobs. Hooooo... see, he is funny.
I guess we should be writing to CBS.

M.C. Hammer Stein

C.Potts said...

Some would say (a cynical some, I would admit, who have a particularly twisted sense of humor) qualifies any Nixon speechwriter as a comedian.

Len said...

MT—er, I mean, Anonymous—I wrote to CBS. (See my previous post, http://nextintheseries.blogspot.com/2004/10/letter-cbs-sunday-morning-dared-not.html#comments.) The blockheads didn’t even have the good sense to read my screed on the air. They don’t seem to read anybody’s letters anymore, except, of course, for forgeries concerning the President’s military record authored by Karl Rove and passed along through a series of chumps instead of the US Postal Service. (Rove reminds me of Donald Segretti—remember him? Only Rove is new and improved, superior in every way except morally and ethically.)

Cindy—It’s true. I can think of three Nixon speechwriters off the top of my head: Stein, William Saffire, and Pat Buchanan. Stein does have the distinction of being the only one who is not certifiably insane. (I’ll bet you didn’t think I could say anything nice about the guy.)

Anonymous said...

I guess what I meant is, I should be writing to CBS. I'm trying to guilt/flog myself into doing something meaningful with my life. Although, based on the way you've been getting ignored, maybe I should just write to my mother. She is always so very complimentary.

Chico de Madre

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, maybe you should write to my mother and outside of the improvement, she'll never know the difference.

Gow Cho