"You left poor Behemoth, betraying him for a glass of brandy -- though it was very good brandy!"

Monday, January 29, 2007

  Historical Parallels

I've been meaning to post this little description of Nicholas II from the textbook I've assigned this semester.* It's ... uncanny.
Here it is, to save future Bush historians much time:

Nicholas's intellectual limitations and restricted social outlook might not have mattered so much had he relied on some of the talented and far-sighted nobles and bureaucrats who gained prominence during the last decades of the Russian Empire. But as often happens with weak leaders, Nicholas distrusted individuals brighter and abler than himself. Instead he dependended on relatively incompetent advisers and officials who mirrored his own conservative opinions.

Although occasionally charming and by nature gentle and kindly, [okay, it isn't an exact fit, but keep reading] Nicholas was weak-willed and stubborn. He often acted from instinct and intuition and then stuck to his position even when proven wrong, a trait that resulted in erratic decision making.

There's more, but you get the idea.

-- Stu

( * John M. Thompson, A Vision Unfulfilled [D.C. Heath, 1996])

Thursday, January 25, 2007

  Richard Cohen agrees

THIS is funny:

Little said he hasn’t yet settled on his material for the April correspondents’ dinner. He has a vast repertoire of voices. His Web site features a hundred and sixty-three impersonations, including those of eight cartoon characters, three Muppets, and a hundred and fifteen people who are dead. These include Red Skelton, Broderick Crawford, Telly Savalas, and Maurice Chevalier.

And, among all these puppets, corpses, and animation, the Clenis is definitely still funny:

Talking about the dinner, Little posed a question: “Do you think I could do a little sexual material?” He explained, “Sometimes I get a little too sexual.”
Asked for an example, he offered this joke: “Bill Clinton and his pal George Bush senior were sitting around, and Clinton says”—here he switches to Clinton’s voice—“ ‘George, have you ever tried Viagra?’
“ ‘I can’t say,’ ” Little’s George H. W. Bush answers. “ ‘I don’t even know what the hell it is.’
“ ‘Mr. President,’ Clinton says, ‘it gives you great staying power.’
“ ‘Really?’ Bush says. ‘Can I get it over the counter?’
“Clinton answers, ‘I suppose you can, if you take two or three of them.’
“That’s a funny joke,” Little said.

It shoooore is. And so is this:

He promised to use mostly political material, though, along these lines: “They said we’re going to send jets to Israel this year, but what the hell would they do with a bunch of football players?” Iraq jokes, however, are out. “I do have a funny line on that,” he said, and he began to imitate the current President: “George W. Bush here. I tell you, I’m between I-raq and a hard place.”
Little paused, and said, “That’s funny. But, believe me, you won’t hear the word ‘Iraq’ out of my mouth the whole evening. They know I’m a safe bet over there at the White House.”

Oh dear is that going to be one long night of unselfconscious self-parody ...

-- Stu
  A Revival:

For personal amusement purposes only, I will, shortly, be reviving this much-beloved and desperately missed blog.

Try to contain yourselves.

-- Stu

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