Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2000 / 4 Tishrei, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- GEORGE W. BUSH surged in the polls this week in response to reports that Alec Baldwin and Elton John would leave the country if Bush is elected president. (Can you imagine the Sturm und Drang if Rush Limbaugh or Charleton Heston had made a similarly hate-filled remark about the election of a Democrat?)
On the basis of the weekly tabulation of late-night jokes compiled by The New York Times, the networks are doing their part to keep Alec in "high concept" films right here in the U.S.A. It's a good week for Bush when he has only one more joke told about him than Al Gore does -- as happened once back in early September. That required a decrease of 37 percent in Bush jokes from the previous week, and an increase of 229 percent in Gore jokes.
A surprisingly interesting article in the Sept. 24 New York Times Magazine looked at the politics of late-night humor and how it is that Gore came to be the Stiff Guy, and Bush the Dumb Guy. It turns out that a frighteningly large portion of Americans get their news from late-night comics and, as the article noted, being "called dumb is more devastating than being called stiff."
Stupidity, the article observed, "judges the man's political worth unambiguously. There is no way to interpret it charitably." Or as David Letterman said, Bush "pronounces the word 'subliminable' -- not 'subliminal,' 'subliminable.' And it makes me wonder, gosh do you think this guy is 'electimable'?"
Meanwhile, late-night comedy writers -- called "highly paid Marxists" by "Politically Incorrect" producer Jerry Nachman -- earnestly insist that they are utterly nonpartisan. Pay no attention to the fact that they all happen to be liberal Democrats who are voting for Gore. Also, funnily enough, the Republican is always the Dumb Guy.
The "dumb" tag on Bush, the writers say, is based on reality. It just wouldn't work -- no one would get the joke -- if they tried to make dumb jokes about an intellectual colossus like Al Gore. Actually, in the words of a Washington Post article on Gore's scholastic achievements, his academic record might "go some way toward subverting that notion."
In high school, Gore received all C's in French and mostly C's and B's in English and history. Indeed, his lone A in all those subjects came in a senior year history class. Only in art classes did Gore earn straight A's. And he took a lot of them.
Gore got into Harvard on the basis of his high board scores -- and the fact that his father was a prominent U.S. senator. (When George W. Bush got into Yale, his father was a comparative unknown -- a mere congressman, on the verge of losing his first race for Senate. He was a Yale alumnus, but so were a lot of other boys' parents.)
Gore continued his mediocre performance at Harvard, ranking in the bottom fifth of the class for his first two years. In his sophomore year, the Post reports: "Gore's grades were lower than any semester recorded on Bush's transcript from Yale."
Gore could not complete either divinity school or law school at Vanderbilt, failing five of the eight classes he took in his three semesters at divinity school. Exactly how many classes do you have to fail to be called dumb, if you're a Democrat?
Meanwhile, the Dumb Guy was earning his MBA from Harvard.
Gore recently told an audience that his mother-in-law takes the same arthritis medicine as his dog Shilo, but she pays three times more than the dog for the very same medicine. Then it turned out he had made the story up and his figures were wrong.
In response to questions about whether his mother-in-law took any arthritis medicine (and whether the dog's name is really "Shilo"), Gore refused to answer on the grounds that it was a "private" matter. Wait -- but he's the one who used it in a pandering political speech.
Then Gore told a union gathering that his mother used to sing lullabies to him as an infant, including, "Look for the Union Label" -- a song that was written in 1975, when Gore was 27. At first I thought -- yeah, OK, but that was a joke; he wasn't seriously claiming that his mother was singing union songs to him in his crib.
But it wasn't a joke. Rather, Gore put out the word that he had simply misidentified the lullaby his mother used to sing him. It was actually an older song -- "Don't Forget the Union Label." He really is an idiot.
At least Bill Clinton was grounded enough to know when he was caught and had to squirm out of a lie. Gore is from another dimension. But the audience probably wouldn't get
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. You may visit the Ann Coulter Fan Club by clicking here.
09/29/00: Don't do drug legalization