Petty And Major Annoyances

by Burt Prelutsky [scriptwriter]

Members of the Mafia have to take a vow of silence, and if they break it, they face the very real possibility of winding up dead. Liberals have their own version of the vow. However, instead of having to keep quiet about murder, drug deals and extortion, they must promise not to ridicule their own kind.

The price of breaking the code isn’t death, it’s something far more serious; namely, exile from their social circle. Dare to make fun of Joe Biden’s statement that in 1929, President Roosevelt went on TV to reassure his fellow Americans about the Depression, and don’t expect to be invited to write for the Huffington Post. Dare to laugh at Nancy Pelosi’s contention that 500 million Americans are losing their jobs every month, and you can forget about being invited to brunch at Streisand’s or to pitch a movie idea to Tom Hanks or Steven Spielberg. Believe me, for some people, that’s a far worse fate than swimming with the fishes.

When you remember what a big deal the press and the late night jokesters made out of Dan Quayle’s merely misspelling “potato,” you get some idea of what partisan hypocrites these people are.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll let you in on a few other things that annoy the heck out of me.

To begin with, there’s Alex Rodriguez. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit I’m a fan of the New York Yankees. Let me add that I had hoped ARod would break Barry Bonds’ home run record. Now I can no longer root for him. What I would like to see is for all the cheats — Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Giambi — to have their records stricken from the book. So far as I’m concerned, Roger Maris still holds the single season home run mark and Hank Aaron, the career record. For good measure, I would make Commissioner Bud Selig walk the plank. They pay this bum, who can’t run, hit or throw, over $18 million bucks a year to oversee the national pastime, and he’s overseen it right into the toilet.

Getting back to politics, I’d like to see them get rid of all those people who are always standing on the back of the stage every time someone gives a speech. I know the reasons they’re there, but that doesn’t make it any better. One, when the speaker is a creep like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, it’s supposed to con us into thinking that the speaker represents someone and something besides himself and his own self-interests. Two, when it’s the president or a senator who’s speaking, it’s supposed to give those bystanders some reflected glory. Well, let me break the news to them that it doesn’t work quite that way. If the guy giving the speech is the least bit important, standing behind him and staring at the back of his head makes you look like dress extras or, worse yet, like a painted backdrop.

Unlike liberals, I found the first few weeks of the new administration endlessly amusing. For one thing, even I wouldn’t have guessed how quickly Barack Obama would doff his halo as he worked to push through the Pelosi and Reid pork package and get a bunch of tax cheats and lobbyists on his team. That being said, I almost felt sorry for Tom Daschle. I, for one, believed him when he said he hadn’t realized he had to pay taxes on his car and driver as a private citizen. After all, he’d had a tax-free car and driver when he was a senator. What I would really like to know is why my tax money is going to pay for cars and chauffeurs for our public servants. After all, the more isolated these weasels are from normal life, the more they see themselves as royalty. Here in L.A., we used to have a mayor who lived on a hilltop in the San Fernando Valley. He commuted downtown to City Hall by helicopter. Do you think he spent a lot of time worrying about potholes on the street and traffic on the freeway?

The argument, of course, is that these people get a lot of work done going to and from the job. But why would anyone buy that malarkey when we know how little work they actually do when they reach the office? Most of the actual work is done by their staff, while they, themselves, concentrate on raising campaign funds so they can continue living like King Louis XIV.

Finally, I’m starting to wonder if President Obama is now telling the kids that they’ll get their dog, but only if he’s re-elected in 2012.

One thing for certain is that the First Dog is being vetted a lot better than was his Secretary of the Treasury. ExileStreet

copyright 2009 Burt Prelutsky

Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.

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