August 8, 2014

The Stupidest Thing Ever Ever Written About Watergate

By Paul Slansky

It has, of course, been widely reported that August 9 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation. What has received considerably less attention is that the date also marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of what may well be the stupidest thing ever written about Watergate: an op-ed column for The Washington Post by one Benjamin J. Stein. This was a screed so cretinous that even its author seems to have recognized what an embarrassment it was, if asserting his right as a freelancer to keep the column out of the Post and Nexis archives Read More ›

April 24, 2014

Mr. Mike’s America: A Comic’s Trek with SNL’s First Head Writer

By Paul Slansky

It was a time when people walked the nation’s streets with orange-foam pads clamped to their ears and antennae bouncing above their heads. The newspapers of the day told of several thousand men and women who had allowed themselves to be paired off and married by the leader of a religious cult, while on television there was a show that featured actual couples discussing their actual sexual problems with an actual therapist. Hundreds of consumers mistook a dishwashing liquid for lemon juice and squirted it into their drinks.Read More ›

February 25, 2013

Serious About Dancing: In honor of David Gregory’s new NBC contract, take our quiz

By Paul Slansky

Who is Irvin B. Nathan?

a) The head of the Republican advocacy group at whose conference David Gregory was the keynote speaker.

b) The blogger who wrote, “As a White House correspondent, Gregory had a way of confronting the president and his mouthpieces that was sometimes the welcome yap of a tough watchdog but more often the toot-toot of a showboat practicing the pure art of careerism.”

c) The NBC spokesperson who denied that David Gregory was drunk when he called into Don Imus’s show (while in India with George W. Bush) and burst into giggles.

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August 3, 2011

A sorry lot, indeed

By Paul Slansky

After death and taxes, the next surest thing is that the discovery of sexual misbehavior by a public figure will be instantly followed — as New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is merely the latest to confirm — by a public apology: ” … so sorry … deeply sorry … profoundly sorry. … ”

Of course they’re sorry! They’re sorry they got caught, and now the fun has to stop, and they’re being publicly humiliated, and their spouses have to stand up there grimacing — think about how hard it must be to be forgiven for that — and on top of that they might even lose their jobs. Who wouldn’t experience pangs of regret?

But how sorry would they be if they hadn’t been caught? Remorse, one feels certain, would be the furthest thing from their minds. So the apology extorted by such circumstances is by definition meaningless, a perfunctory bleat of contrition designed to buy some time while the damage is assessed. It is never eloquent and never as memorable as the acts being repented. But for apology aficionados, it is that very combination of trite mea culpas for often lurid deeds that makes it all so satisfying .

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February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday with Ronald Reagan, 1985

By Paul Slansky

To provide an antidote to the poisonous bath of Reagan Love that the nation is currently drowning in, I’ve revised my 1989 book The Clothes Have No Emperor – which Wonkette just called “the only honest history of the Ronald Reagan 1980s” (italics theirs) – and re-issued it as an eBook, available here on a name-your price basis.Read More ›