This article appears in the new May 2007 issue of The American Spectator. To subscribe to our monthly print edition, click here.
THEY TELL YOU TO WRITE what you know. And officially, I now know nothing. This is what happens, I imagine, to anyone who ends up on television. Television is like becoming a drunk, except that you throw up a little less on your shoes.
Doing television requires a rewiring of your brain: The immediacy of the genre tells you to think in only three to four minute blocks, and during those blocks you can only speak in sentences that begin with phrases like “the fact of the matter is” or “at the end of the day” or “the rash appears red at first,” and so you end up pretty much saying things that come from part of your brain disconnected to things you actually know. I believe, in scientific communities, this is known as stupidity.
I said it’s like being drunk — I did say that, right (burp)?
I can’t remember. Anyway, I will say it again anyway, because while you’re drunk you are convinced you are the smartest person in the room. And when the booze wears off, you can’t remember anything you said (and for the most part, neither can anyone else) — and this is exactly like television. This is why many times you find guests bragging afterward about how great they were on O’Reilly or Hannity, and then you ask them why — and they go blank. Suddenly it occurs to them that all they said was “exactly,” “excellent question, Bill,” and “thank you for having me.”
And the more you do television, the dumber you get. I don’t care if you’re George Will, Charles Krauthammer, or an adorable polar bear cub making its debut in a Berlin Zoo — the more TV you do, the less likely you will remember how to use a hairbrush. This is why, for example, we have “hair” people. “Hair” people are the people at networks who do the hair for people on television. Without them, we would all look like road kill. Or worse, a contributing editor to the Nation.
That’s a dumb joke. And, as my wife likes to say to me, “Your stupidity knows no boundaries.” But I am smart enough to agree with her on this point.
Quick example: on Hannity & Colmes the other night, I tried to say “Pakistan.” I have said this word before ten, twenty — maybe even thirty times. (I have a pet nutria, which is a large, semi-aquatic rodent, named Pakistan. He’s basically a cross between a mouse and a beaver. He wears an activity cobbler apron around the house.) But on the show, which was live — or as live as Alan Colmes can actually attempt to be — I tried to say, “the mountains of Pakistan,” and it came out as the “mountains of Puh… puh… puh… puh… that country over there.”
Another highlight: I pointed out on my show Red Eye that General David Petraeus had every vowel in his name, except for “zero.” I actually meant to say, “O.” Zero is a number, not a vowel. I am not explaining it to you because I think you’re stupid. I am explaining it to you because….
I AM STUPID. I WASN’T STUPID a few months ago — but I find myself becoming more and more moronic with each passing day.
And this, friends — is a great thing. When I say that I am stupid — I really mean that I am simple. And, being simple — or simple-minded — is quite possibly the only way to make any sense of life. People (or rather, phonies) wax on about shades of gray, and life’s many complexities — but “the fact of the matter is” they need to get punched in the face. There are no shades of gray when it comes to pain — that’s why it’s called a “black” eye and not a “shades of gray” eye. The act of twisting a man’s nipple until he screams is called a “purple nurple.” There is no gray there either… believe me.
I also know that, when it comes to terrorism, one must always avoid any “nuanced” conversations — because “nuanced” means “liberal.” “The war on terror is just not that simple,” they will say. And anyone who disagrees — or rather — anyone who believes that the people who want to kill us need to be killed — is just “stupid.” At some point a solution involving the word “dialogue” will come up — and probably as a verb!
The only issue where the left believes “nuance” is not needed is in the realm of global warming. If you actually question the basic obviousness behind climate change hysteria — you will be beaten to death with carbon offsets. Every day another cretin becomes a media expert on global warming — because in our media being an expert only requires that you know “it’s getting warmer and it’s our fault.” Or, “it’s getting colder, and it’s our fault.” But the real reason why the media, politicians, elitists, and the left that permeates all three can be so simple-minded about global warming is that they are too scared to face the truth about terror. Better that we consider a fantasy war between humans and our planet than a real war between civilizations.
Right before he died of a heart ailment, I interviewed Joe Strummer, former lead singer of the greatest band ever, the Clash. He was a well-known lefty, who stupidly named one of their albums (a three-record monstrosity) “Sandinista.” Over the phone, I asked him what he thinks we Americans should do about the people behind 9/11. He said simply, and if I remember correctly, “Kill them. Get them before they get you.”
That’s about as smart as you need to get, and for a lefty I’m sure it sounds awfully stupid. Really, where is the complexity — you know, about the real definition of terrorism, the idea that one man’s terrorist is just another one’s revolutionary — and that our nation’s armies and missiles are just terror on a bigger, more sophisticated scale?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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