From the Archives: Laughter as Medicine - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
From the Archives: Laughter as Medicine
Former Vice President Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale at a fundraising rally, February 15, 1984 (mark reinstein/

At a time of much national anxiety, we could all use a little levity. For our readers’ amusement, here’s a leap back 35 years ago, to R. Emmett Tyrrell’s legendary column “The Continuing Crisis.” This selection from Tyrrell’s column in the Jan. 1985 issue of The American Spectator includes much-deserved shots at a notable cast of characters: Walter Mondale, the Catholic bishops, Stalin’s daughter, feminists, a curious California congressional candidate who heard “voices,” Andrew Young, black millionaires headed to hell for supporting Reagan, a meowing Englishman, the Iranians, and a bizarre lost item from yesteryear about a rising Nevada politician named Harry Reid (you’ll find it hard to believe). All were exposed to Tyrrell’s pen and guffaws. It was funny then, and it’s even funnier now, when we all really need a good laugh. Enjoy.


From January 1985: “The Continuing Crisis,” by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

American Spectator magazine cover, Jan. 1985

  • November is over…. Walter Mondale says he will never run again. How will he spend his sunshine years? Possibly he will become a Roman Catholic bishop. He is sanctimonious enough. He is economically illiterate enough. And he is pampered enough….
  • Five days after the electorate buried him in a stupendous landslide the American bishops presented the first draft of their pastoral letter on economics, demonstrating once again that the modern Roman Catholic Church’s pastoral letters are left-wing Democratic politics by other means. At least Bishop Mondale has been honorable enough to admit his politics and promise not to run again. The holy bishops will not submit their campaign to the same democratic discipline, nor to logic nor to economic analysis. Hence we shall be exposed to their unctuous sophistries for years to come, but they will be exposed to our guffaws.
  • November 6 concluded a commendably charming campaign season during which Representative Harry Reid (D-Nev.) nearly lost his life when Mr. Vito D’Antoni crashed through the ceiling of a hotel room where the Hon. Reid was eating his way through a fund-raising breakfast. Mr. Antoni’s fall began from the ledge of a hotel room twenty-three floors up, and whether he was pushed or leaped remains a mystery, for Mr. Antoni cannot be reached for comment, even by one of those American bishops whose lines to the Deity are so clear.

Read more selections from our archives here!

  • The congressional race perpetrated in California’s fourteenth district was even more stirring. There the Democrats put up a candidate hounded by cranial “voices.” The candidate, Miss Ruth Carlson, won her chance to campaign for Republican Norman Shumway’s seat by beating two other Democrats in the June primary, but those “voices” would not relent even during debates when, according to the redoubtable Los Angeles Times, they made it very difficult for the New Age Liberal to hear the questions. “I think they’re trying to kill me,” she declared during one debate. “They might want to do it publicly. I don’t know. But I call them lunatics myself.” When asked her thoughts on a local dam she startled the assembled candidates and reporters alike by shouting, “Shoo. Shoo. They’re trying to blank my mind. They want to get me into court, where I’ll spend a lot of money.” On the national debt she was equally eloquent: “Shoo. Well, I have a lot of good ideas. Shoo.” It is a response both presidential candidates could have resorted to.
  • The cisatlantic friends of Svetlana Stalin and those in Europe too were given much to rejoice over when she lit out for her Soviet homeland. She was the Soviet Union’s first feminist, and over here she was a woman’s libber of the first canto. While in her infamous father’s house she grumbled. In the United States she grumbled. One of her suitors, Mr. Brijesh Singh — an Indian and probably a pacifist — expired during their engagement. Her next, the American architect Mr. William Wesley Peters, was not so fortunate and married her. Naturally they were divorced, and she took her heaving bosom to Princeton, New Jersey. From there she went to Cambridge, England, thence to chill Russia where she will be locked securely away until the KGB finds proper occasions to put her bilious disposition on display. It is a fitting ending for her and for all feminists, most of whom have shown that, though they repine for personal liberty, personal liberty is precisely what they cannot endure, not for themselves nor for anyone else. Good riddance!
  • Those who scruple over mixing religion and politics pointed to India where Prime Minister Indira Gandhi fell victim to religious hostilities, but did they notice the campaign outburst of the Rev. Andy Young who late in the race declared that black supporters of the President were millionaires who “are probably going to hell?” The historically minded will find his judgment in the October 27 New York Times, unaccompanied by any reproach from the likes of Mr. Norman Lear or Herblock….
  • In York, England, a $125 fine was levied against Mr. Larry O’Dowd who, upon being told to move along by the police, had turned and addressed the officer’s German shepherd with a “meow” that the officer adjudged “abusive, threatening and insulting.” Consequently the cop bashed him and sent him off to the hoosegow.
  • In religious news, the sacred government of Iran celebrated the fifth anniversary of its takeover of the American embassy by declaring the United States a “demonic creature,” despite Walter Mondale’s repeated campaign claim that ours is the “most religious nation on earth.” …
Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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