Well... right off the bat... make that O'Rourke and Coulter and Beck, if'n ya would. And please excuse me, Dorothy. I had to get that out o' the way.
A short time ago one of my Daily Reads put up a post about Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck, to the effect that one of the authors of this two-person blog... Naked Writing... likes these two (excuse the term) asshats. The other author(ess) does not. A difference of opinion, which is always good blog-fodder, especially among those who favor civil discourse and can disagree without being disagreeable. Old Iron and KC make it work, which is a rare thing on the inner-tubes.
We digress. Anyhoo... to set our stage... I happened to remark on that post that I don't like these two right wing pundits either. I could have sworn I mentioned P.J. O'Rourke in my comment as the ultimate purveyor of scathing, eviscerating, wickedly humorous right-wing snark, but my memory is apparently shorter than my breath these days. I did not mention Mr. O'Rourke; instead I called up the spirit of William F. Buckley, Jr. who was no slouch when it comes to skewering the Left in an erudite and civil manner. That said, I know I invoked P.J. somewhere of late... I just can't remember exactly where. And this, Gentle Reader, is how too-clever-by-half introductions go all to Hell in an instant.
What we mean to do is point our friends to a recent piece by Mr. O'Rourke in the Weekly Standard, to wit: Not Dead Yet -Introducing the pre-obituary: a few choice words before you go. A couple of excerpts:
I have an idea for a brand new type of newspaper feature. And gosh do newspapers need one. No industry in living memory has collapsed faster than daily print journalism. You can still buy a buggy whip, which is more than can be said for a copy of the Rocky Mountain News, Cincinnati Post, or Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
One bright idea isn’t going to solve the problems of the American newspaper industry, but it’s one bright idea more than the American newspaper industry has had in 40 years. What I propose is “Pre-Obituaries”—official notices that certain people aren’t dead yet accompanied by brief summaries of their lives indicating why we wish they were.
Jimmy Carter is 85. We must hasten to throw the Camp David Accord in his face before he heads to his eternal camp-out with Anwar el-Sadat. Gore Vidal is 84. There’s no chance he’ll end up in the same place as Bill Buckley. We ought to take up Buckley’s gauntlet and slap Gore’s face here and now. Noam Chomsky is 81. Why should Satan have all the fun? We own pitchforks of fact aplenty with which to prod his living flesh. Norman Lear is 87 and will be married to Maude forever any minute now. (Although Lear may find himself forgiven. He never meant to make Archie Bunker a hero and a role model, but perhaps the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions.) Ed Asner is 80. Put him together with Ben Bradlee (88) and Alan J. Pakula, director of All the President’s Men (died in 1998, darn it), and you have the villains in the tragic tale of the American newspaper’s self-congratulatory ossification. Ross Perot also will be 80 soon. We owe him one Bill Clinton-sized philippic. Ralph Nader is 76. High time that someone, metaphorically, flipped him in a Corvair. And Paul Ehrlich is 78. In these days of the graying workforce, baby bust, and demographic decline, surely he needs a population bomb in his underpants.
That, folks, is how it's DONE. Coulter and Beck may have flashes of occasional brilliance (I'm being kind here) but they are mostly purveyors of lowest common denominator sarcasm at best, and... at worst... viciously insulting invective that demeans their targets while pandering to the cheap seats for laughs. Red meat, in other words. O'Rourke, on the other hand, is genuinely funny and entertaining. He's also adept at the language - a serious writer who uses wit to make deadly serious points. And he does so by rarely employing the words "communist" or "socialist," unless he's talking about REAL commies or socialists... like Castro, Mao, Stalin, or Che Guevara. He does use "leftist" and its variants a lot, though. A spade IS a spade.
Read the whole linked article and see if you agree... or not. It's marvelously entertaining and the premise he puts forward is a great idea... although I sincerely doubt any of our broadsheets will grab Mr. O'Rourke's suggestion and run with it. They should. Maybe they'd survive for a little while longer and give Jon Stewart some serious competition in the process, aside from what he already gets from The Onion.