Of Will Ferrell and Bullying and Bush

By Jack Engelhard

I don’t get to New York that often so I never caught Will Ferrell’s Broadway show on George W. Bush – an hour or so of “comedy.” But the one-man extravaganza – a big hit during its Broadway run – was given time on HBO and I was urged to watch it, which I did, for about 10 minutes. That was enough.

It wasn’t even funny, except that it lampooned Bush and that seems to delight so many of us.

I speak not as a Republican, nor as a Democrat, but rather as someone who knows the difference between humor and bullying. We all know about bullying in the schoolyard and that’s what this was, especially with the audience joining in with cheers and jeers. I know what it’s like when a mob sets itself upon a particular individual and begins to chase this individual with curses, taunts, derision and laughter. I call this mobism.

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Chayefsky Rebukes Obama – Jack Engelhard

Dramatist and novelist Paddy Chayefsky (who died in 1981) wrote some terrific plays and novels. He may best be remembered for the 1955 film “Marty,” which won him the Oscar for Best Screenplay. He should also be remembered for an incident during the Academy Awards telecast of 1978.

That’s when Vanessa Redgrave (who accepted an award for something or other) used the occasion to bash supporters of Israel. None of the men in tuxes or women in gowns had the guts to answer back — except for Chayefsky. Clearly repelled by Redgrave, he used his moment at the podium to say that this was not the place for politics and that “thank you would have sufficed.” (This was Chayefsky’s polite way of saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” — quoting that famous line from his own movie, “Network.”)

Chayefsky, a World War II Army war hero, wrote the screenplay for the (underrated) movie “The Americanization of Emily,” from the novel by William Bradford Huie. It’s here that Chayefsky’s brilliance as a writer shines brightly – in his defense of America.

America needs defending, now more than ever, during this, the Europeanization of our president, Barack Obama.

There’s no need to unravel the entire plot of “The Americanization of Emily” except to note that it takes place in London at the onset of D-Day. James Garner plays Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison. He falls in love with British war widow Emily Barham, played by Julie Andrews. This is what he says:

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How The Mighty Keep Falling (Like Phelps)

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Is this payback for ingratitude?

 

As we all know, the hero of the recent Olympics is (was!) Michael Phelps, and he did it all in the water. He won eight gold medals at the 2008 Games, finally surpassing the previous record of seven held by Mark Spitz. Those were the headlines of a short time ago. Today’s headlines remind us that no one is perfect.

 

Phelps was caught smoking marijuana. Give him credit. He doesn’t deny. But he’s already been tarnished, first by reputation, and now by finance. Kellog just announced that it will not renew its endorsement contract with him, other sponsors are on the verge, and the Olympic Committee has suspended him for three months. He will lose millions.

 

Yes, how the mighty have fallen – and so fast!

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Obama: No More Mr. Nice Guy

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

We can all agree (for once) that President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was no thriller. If anything, it was a downer.

 

It had to be. One minute he was president-elect; next minute, My Gawd! he was President! The real deal. The gloves had to come off. The truth had to be told. What an awakening this must have been, to realize that the party is over, the work begins. That is sobering! It’s doubtful that any time soon he’ll be showing up on TV with Oprah Winfrey, or sharing dance steps with Ellen DeGeneres.

 

From now on those photo-ops will show him in the company of world leaders, some who wish us well, many who wish us harm.

 

There’s a new sheriff in town and he won’t be smiling.

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Is Richard Gere Responsible?

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

First let me say that I do not watch Hollywood award shows strictly for the cleavage. No, I’m in it for the Art — and the Cleavage.

 

Salma Hayek is the best actor in the world though I have never seen any of her movies. That one eye-candy moment at the Golden Globes was persuasive enough.

 

For me, the awards season began with the National Book Awards on C-Span, where I learned that there are agents, editors and publishers who actually support writers. This amazed me. One writer after another – the winners – got up and gushed over these people who were so “helpful” and “devoted.” In what universe is this happening?

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Expel The Media

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

The major news organizations, all across the firmament of newspapers, radio and TV, are complaining that Israel won’t let them into Gaza.

 

Ain’t that a shame.

 

A newscaster named Smith spoke for his fellow foreign correspondents when he said that reporters have a “right” to gain access to the conflict.

 

Israel has an “obligation” so that the “truth” can be told.

 

The last big “truth” I remember was the Muhammad al-Durra hoax that was staged in cahoots between Palestinian and French “journalists.” This blood-libel provoked a killing spree against Israelis even after the facts came out to reveal that 1.the boy was killed by Arab gunfire, not Israeli; 2, the boy wasn’t killed at all. He walked off the set with his father after the director yelled “cut” (and you thought only Hollywood made movies).

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Spare the Pieties on Gaza

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Frankly, given a choice, I prefer the skinheads and other brutes who express their anti-Semitism openly. In such places, we know the enemy.

 

But please spare me the pieties and the righteous indignation of those “good people” protesting throughout Europe against Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza. True, thousands have taken up banners in support of Israel. At the same time, however, the streets of Europe (and even some in America) are in an uproar. These are the “humanitarians” – the good, the noble, the refined who chant “Peace.”

 

Now you’re up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout the years, thousands of Jihadist bombs fell on Israel? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it “peace” as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.

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Caroline Kennedy? Yes!

 

Jack Engelhard

 

Caroline Kennedy never grew up, not for me. She will always be that beautiful child who, carefree and happy, went romping around the While House along with her brother John John back when her father was president. Now there’s talk about naming her senator, representing New York. Then there’s talk that she’s not up to the task for lack of experience.

 

People say she’s never been in politics. So? All the more reason to give her that seat. We know about people “in politics.” Check out Illinois, for starters. New York itself had a governor who was booted out of office for bad behavior. It’s about time we put someone in office, senator or otherwise, who’s unaffiliated with this or that political machine. (“If you ever inject truth into politics you have no politics” – Will Rogers.)

 

Tell me she’s a Democrat which IS a political machine and I say, so what – we all have to be something. But as far as I know, she owes no favors, she’s untainted by “friends” and “cronies,” which means, again, as far as I know, that she’s clean. That’s rare for a politician – but here’s the charm. She is no politician.

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Dirty Talk, Dirty People, Dirty Politics

By Jack Engelhard

 

First time I saw him on TV, I thought this must be some foul-mouthed rap artist. But no, this SOB is governor of Illinois. (See? It’s catching.)

 

We can’t seem to stop ourselves from electing the lowest among us to the highest offices. Or maybe that’s the best the pool has to offer; this dirt bag over another dirt-bag.

 

What I said some time ago still stands – the way we speak reflects our character. No wonder our culture is in decline – from dastardly language to dastardly deeds. If it’s true that we’re falling apart economically, politically and culturally, that only makes my point that everything begins with language.

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