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Pundit Patrol

Editor's Note: The next installment of this feature will appear on Monday, not on Friday as originally planned.


Continuing this week's wacky tour through the local commentariot.

Rick Telander: "Both [Derrick] Rose and Blackhawks star Patrick Kane are only 21 years old, and that's something to think about right there," Telander wrote recently.

"They've both had some slip-ups in their lime-lit lives, but I think back to my own self at 21, a second-semester junior in college. Oh, my God.

"Think back to yourself at 21. Or if you're not yet 21, ponder the idiot you are right now.

"It is one of our eternal blessings that most of us get to grow out of our youth without the rest of the world much noticing or caring. My personal blessings were that I didn't have any money and that cell-phone cameras didn't exist."

Or what, you would've been caught cheating on your college admissions test or punching a cab driver over a 20 cents?

No wonder professional athletes feel like they can get away with anything. Oh, the hardships they face!

Richard Roeper: "Andrea Fay Friedman, 39, who has Down syndrome, provided the voice for the character of Ellen on the controversial Family Guy episode," Roeper wrote on Monday.

"In an e-mail to the New York Times, Friedman said, 'I guess former Gov. Palin does not have a sense of humor,' and added, 'My mother did not carry me around like a loaf of bread the way former Gov. Palin carries her son Trig around, looking for sympathy and votes.'

"In a subsequent interview, Friedman told the Times, 'I was making fun of Sarah Palin, not her son.'

"Well said."

Yes, bravo for such an articulate sentence!

But it's bunk.

If the show depicted a dim-witted kid to show that Palin was an idiot, that might be one thing. But Palin has a child with Down syndrome in real life!

You can't make fun of the mother without making fun of the child.

Why doesn't everybody just be honest? When the other side does it, it's an outrage. When your side does it, you go into contortions to defend it.

Conservatives have suddenly discovered the virtues of "political correctness" while liberals are telling everyone to just lighten up. All they've done is exchange scripts.

Public financing of presidential campaigns? A sturdy Democratic principle until candidate Obama's greedy little eyes get big. Suddenly Democrats start sounding like Republicans and Republicans take up the Democrats' old talking points.

George W. Bush speaking at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University? Blasphemy! Obama's personal pastor is Jeremiah Wright? What's the big deal?

Oppose gay marriage on religious grounds? Right-wing nuts!

Obama opposing gay marriage on religious grounds? Strategic!

Family Guy - one of the most brilliant shows to ever appear on TV - stepped over the line. Admitting it doesn't give aid and comfort to your enemies.


Bonus Roeper!

"Jersey Shore features the reality show staple of the on-camera interview, in which cast members recap the latest storyline or confess their darkest fears or share their feelings about a colleague," he writes.

"In the history of television, you have never seen a more inarticulate collection of human beings. It's as if they're all working from a vocabulary playbook that maxes out at 250 words."

Memo to Rich: You shouldn't be so hard on the demographic of your readers.


Jersey Shore, by the way, was tremendous television. I watched every episode, with glee. As a movie "critic", Roeper should know that it's a lot tougher to produce commercially successful art using unlikable characters than cute babies and girls next door. The secret ingredient to a lot of reality TV is the casting of subjects whom viewers will loathe even as we get caught up in their ridiculous dramas.

Neil Steinberg: In an otherwise thoughtful column, Steinberg writes that the Family Guy episode "provok[ed] Sarah Palin's well-exercised sense of victimization."

Well, I mean, she was accused of carrying her Down syndrome child around "like a loaf of bread" in order to win votes and sympathy. I mean, besides having her child used as a comic prop on one of America's most popular TV shows.

See, if you think Family Guy erred, you have to make sure you blame Palin too. It's what media critic extraordinaire Bob Somerby would call a Pundit Rule. Just to make sure no one thinks you've strayed from the club.

So Steinberg writes:

"Isn't it the worst kind of paternalism to, in effect, try to get her fired because Sarah Palin is uncomfortable with seeing the subject she milks for sympathy being treated as a source of humor? People are either full adults out in the real world, or they're a special victim class who need coddling, and it's disingenuous to push for one and then, when they do something you don't like, invoke the other."

See, Palin isn't an advocate for special needs children, she's a special needs children-milker for sympathy! She probably had a special needs child on purpose!


Wait, I was just distracted by the chatter of failed congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth running for lieutenant governor.


Wait, I was just distracted by the memory of Sen. Barack Obama calling for the firing of Don Imus. He should really lighten up, don't you think?

Steve Huntley: "It was a moment of exquisite scientific clarity," Huntley wrote in "Climate Turning Against Kooky Alarmists" last week. "The investigation of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster was mired in contentious debate over whether rubberlike O-rings that were supposed to expand under pressure and seal in hot gases on a booster rocket had failed in uncharacteristically cold Florida weather. At a televised hearing, Nobel Physics Prize winner Richard Feynman dropped a miniature O-ring into a glass of ice water and plucked it out to show - voila! - that it had lost its elasticity. Case closed."

As if!

I mean, they didn't even have to continue the investigation after that moment or write a report! But they did. Why?

Feynman's voila moment was but a simple scientific experiment. It showed what ice water did to an O-ring. It didn't prove anything on its own. After all, NASA officials originally claimed they had provided for the effects of cold weather. Huntley is engaging in intellectual sophistry to advance a predetermined agenda.

"One problem for advocates of the human-caused global warming is that they don't have that undeniable clarity, that eureka moment when the scales fall from their eyes and the case is closed."

Neither do advocates of gravity or birthers in the Arizona legislature.

Now, Huntley is being a little clever here. He is sure to write "human-caused global warming." Some global warming believers are less sure of the cause. But that doesn't make the danger any less real, and if changing our behavior can save the planet - even if it's not our fault - then what are we really arguing about?


Bonus Huntley!

"No Winners In Obama's Health-Care Overhaul."

I beg to differ. The health insurance industry comes up huge.


More Bonus Huntley!

"These are some examples of wasteful spending in the state budget as identified by the 2010 Illinois Piglet Book from the conservative Illinois Policy Institute and the national Citizens Against Government Waste . . .

"* $6,500 to fill a 4,000-gallon tank with live bass for a fishing seminar.

"* $1 million for the Classroom Cubed Initiative to promote 'the use of 3D applications to enhance the learning experience.'

"* Grants of $3,807, $2,500 and $2,973 to schools of barbering, hair design and massage therapy.

"* $13,775 for the National Wild Turkey Foundation.

"* $72,750 to further wine production in Illinois.

"* $350,000 for auto racing.

"* $33.6 million for reduced fares on public transit - such as the free rides for seniors foisted on the taxpayers by Blagojevich."

Okay, the senior fares we know about. But if the rest is the best the pig people could com e up with, the state budget is pretty frickin' lean and mean. $9,000 to barber schools, I'm appalled!


Stay tuned for tomorrow's final Monday's installment of this week's special Pundit Patrol series. See also:
* Pundit Patrol: Warren, Ponce & Washington


Comments welcome.


Posted on February 25, 2010

MUSIC - 🚨 Michael McDonald Alert.
TV - Comic-Con 2020: Fans vs. Critics.
POLITICS - When Bigotry Masquerades As Choice.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: The Bears' Bad Day.

BOOKS - Searching For The World's Largest Owl.


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