Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Gentle Wit of Robert Benchley

 The Gentle Wit of Robert Benchley; American Heritage

A founder of the Algonquin Round Table and frequent writer for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, Benchley influenced generations of humorists from James Thurber to Dave Barry

Comedians yammer on and on, but humorists are a somber bunch. Though funny in print, their party personas tend to brooding.  Their lives are often a mess.  You don’t have to be Freud to see that sorrow is the soul of wit.  But then, meet Robert Benchley.

"During the Depression, as one of America’s most beloved humorists, Benchley was asked for a brief bio. Here is his response:

BORN: Isle of Wight, September 15, 1807. Shipped as a cabin boy on the Florence J. Marble, 1815.  Arrested for bigamy and murder in Port Said, 1817. Released 1820. Wrote A Tale of Two Cities.  Married Princess Anastasia of Portugal, 1831…Wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1850… Began Les Miserables, 1870, finished by Victor Hugo…Died 1871.  Buried in Westminster Abbey. 

"Benchley’s mock bio hid an upbringing so ordinary it does not bear repeating. Still, here goes. Born in very unfunny Worcester, Massachusetts, he grew up sadly lacking the pathos that demands joke after joke. Benchley was the pampered son of prosperous parents, groomed for corporate board rooms. He declined such a fate, however, preferring to mock it. The mocking began early.

While touring Europe, Benchley cabled an editor from Venice: “Streets full of water. Please advise.”

"While at Philips Exeter, where prep school students studied Milton and Shakespeare, Benchley wrote his senior thesis on “How to Embalm a Corpse.” Thus began a lifelong penchant for laughing at death. But death would not have the last laugh.

"At Harvard, Benchley’s impromptu after dinner speeches amused fellow frat boys with pseudo-serious nonsense, ala Monty Python’s John Cleese.  One night he might be a government official telling Harvard “what we are doing down there in Washington!”  Another saw him a returning explorer ad-libbing “Through the Alimentary Canal with Gun and Camera.”  When he graduated, with World War I underway, he was urged to grow up.  He refused.

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing,” he recalled, “but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”  While working as an ad copywriter, Benchley submitted humorous essays to magazines.  In an America already glutted by expertise, his touch was deft and delightful.  One essay reviewed “The Social Life of the Newt.”  In “The Most Popular Book of the Month,” he wrote a review — of the phone book.  “It is the opinion of the reviewer that the weakness of plot is due to the great number of characters which clutter up the pages…”

Idiot Leftist Of The Year Nominees: The Honorable Mentions

These are but a few of the “progressive” leftists who’ve distinguished themselves as a special kind of stupid this year. I’m sure I’ve missed some, it’s impossible to keep up – supply easily out-strips demand. The scary thing is these are the top of the list. The scarier thing is Democrats haven’t even come close to the bottom they’re apparently capable of with these people and their nominees. Merry Christmas.

 Townhall   (The last in a series of nominees, the winner will be announced in a December 27th column. The firstsecondthirdfourth and fifth nominees can be found here and here and here and here and here.)

"First off, Merry Christmas. I know it’s not very Christmas-y to write out a list of leftist losers who’ve been so awful throughout 2022 that they could qualify as the worst. Then again, it is truly very Christmas-y to write out a list of people who’ve been, shall we say, “less than good.” Therefore, it is in that spirit I run this today, of all days. 

"There are a lot of leftist idiots in our country, with each seemingly seeking to out-crazy the other on a regular basis. How can you just pick five to represent all of them without acknowledging the many, many others who, for whatever reason, just fell short of the expanded podium? The fact is, you can’t. So these are the honorable (or dishonorable) mentions for idiot leftist of the year.

"Yoel Roth. Twitter’s former head of “Trust and Safety” has proven himself to be unworthy of trust and rather “safely” stupid. While meeting regularly with the FBI, Roth was fed a line of BS about Russian hackers and the prospect of a fake story involving Hunter Biden. Shortly thereafter, those FBI contacts had Roth gleefully preventing the very real Hunter Biden story from being disseminated. Roth was a fiddle, played to perfection by the FBI and he never once appears to have questioned his handlers. While his stupidity didn’t occur this year, it was exposed and he was the person who proudly announced it to the world. Well deserving of an honorable mention.". . .

The Most American Christmas Ever

No Antifa in this man.

Don Surber

"The old farmer was there with Washington when he crossed a frozen Delaware River in blizzard-like conditions on Christmas 1776. And so the photographer took a daguerreotype photo of Conrad Heyer in 1852, who 103 years early was the first European child born in Waldoboro, Maine. At 24, he had enlisted in the Continental Army and spent 1776 with Washington, whose rag-tag army went from victory in Boston to defeat in New York to a daring raid and stunning victory in the Battle of Trenton, New Jersey.

"The New Market Press reported on July 25, 2013, “According to the Maine Historical Society, Heyer may be the earliest born human being ever photographed. He is also the only U.S. veteran to be photographed who crossed the Delaware River alongside George Washington in December 1776.”

"There is some dispute as to whether he was the earliest born person to be photographed. Three claims of earlier birth have been made, including a slave who would have been 115 when photographed.

"But there is no dispute about Heyer’s service to our country. He was a farm boy who became one of thousands of patriots who took up arms to force the best army in the world to leave the colonies so that Founding Fathers could set up a government that protected our rights.". . .

The victory was not particularly significant from a strategic point of view, but news of Washington’s initiative raised the spirits of the American colonists, who previously feared that the Continental Army was incapable of victory.”The morale boost continues today. People use the Internet to boast about a victory by others nearly a quarter of a millennium ago.

Is Trump now forced to run third-party?

Why do third-party candidates have to be conservatives, thereby guaranteeing a Democrat win? 

 The Hill  At a certain point, all decisions and election chances in politics come down to basic math. No matter how some consultants, pollsters or campaign managers may attempt to complicate the process to justify their fees or salaries paid by a candidate or company, it still comes down to this: Does the math finish on the “plus side” for him or her to run, and does it finish on the plus side for the candidate to win?

"My mother used to say, “If you can read, you can cook.” In the arena of political elections, if you can do basic addition and subtraction, you can honestly advise a candidate whether to run. Former President Donald Trump has some of that basic math working against him — but also, for him. 

"What he and his mercurial ego really will do becomes the political question of the 2024 presidential cycle.

"With each passing week, there are reports of more and more Republicans suffering from “Trump fatigue.” Although many still strongly approve of most of Trump’s policies from his four years in the White House, they have grown increasingly tired of his perceived juvenile antics and insults. Worse for Trump, many now blame him for the GOP losing the chance to take control of the Senate — not only in the November midterms, when he forced marginal candidates on the party with his endorsements, but also back in 2021 when he suppressed GOP voter turnout with negative comments and attacks in Georgia’s runoff election.  

"On top of that, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis comfortably leads Trump in the latest polls among Republicans. Given all this, does it spell the end for Trump as a viable GOP presidential candidate?

"Not necessarily. It all comes down to those fairly simple addition and subtraction equations. 

"In this case, the relevant question becomes: If Trump decides to run as a third-party candidate, could he somehow manage to win enough significant states to beat the GOP nominee (whether it’s DeSantis or someone else) and the Democratic nominee (whether it’s President Biden or someone else)? Even a high school student who’s truly proficient in math might be able to give Trump that answer.. . .

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray lectures on ‘moral imperative’ to support Ukraine and Twitter was NOT having it

 BPR   "The disconnect between Washington, D.C., the leftist cultural elite, and real America couldn’t be more clear when it comes to Ukraine and the blind support of politicians continuing to pour money into the war-torn country at a time when many in their own nation are in desperate need.

"While the preening of elected leaders during their orgy of worship for the diminutive, military fatigue-clad Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before a joint session of Congress this week left many feeling nauseous, it was the virtue signaling of celebrity chef Rachael Ray that really triggered a gag reflex.

"In a USA Today column, the Food Network star and entrepreneur lectured Americans that it was their “moral imperative” to unwaveringly support Ukraine through the “bitter winter” even as this week’s frigid temperatures have combined with economic misery to inflict a devastating one-two punch on those in need right here in the homeland.". . .

I will take this seriously when the border is truly secure, when homeless have been housed, when drug addicts are in treatment, when there are no more people living in makeshift “tent cities” in the middle of towns. Curious why nobody feels a “moral imperative” for US citizens?

Adam Schiff Picks A Fight With Elon Musk …OUCH! That Was A Mistake

 Yid With Lid

"You’d be hard-pressed to find a more shameless and dishonest political opportunist than the bug-eyed bull-sh**ting bloviating barrister of Burbank, also known as Adam Schiff (D-CA). For Schiff, every issue is little more than an opportunity for wielding political power.

"Adam Schiff tried to play his power games with Elon Musk. Musk wasn’t having any of it, and Schiff went home bruised,

"The little tyrant is mad that his party has been exposed in a massive conspiracy to deprive the public of free and fair elections. So Schiff is planning to weaponize the powers of government against a private citizen and the corporation he now owns.

"Here’s his excuse for weaponizing the government against a corporation that has gone from carrying water for the DNC and punishing their enemies to threatening the DNC by publishing the truth about backchannel meetings.

"Let’s have at Shift’s snark that inspired mocking memes like this:

"That had to hurt

"Musk wasn’t having any of it.

"The little tyrant is mad that his party has been exposed in a massive conspiracy to deprive the public of free and fair elections. So Schiff is planning to weaponize the powers of government against a private citizen and the corporation he now owns.

"Here’s his excuse for weaponizing the government against a corporation that has gone from carrying water for the DNC and punishing their enemies to threatening the DNC by publishing the truth about backchannel meetings.

"Let’s have at Shift’s snark that inspired mocking memes like this:". . .