Friday, April 3, 2015

Vanity & Venality

Recently, there was an event held in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of honoring excellence in American journalism. (Stop laughing, I’m being serious.) And what’s more, the keynote address was delivered by Hillary Clinton, who was clearly looking to curry favor by saying – with a straight face, apparently – “We need more than ever smart, fair-minded journalists to challenge our assumptions, push us towards new solutions, and hold all of us accountable.”

Then, in spite of the fact that she refused to answer any questions, the assemblage gave her a standing ovation. Only in Washington could a candidate for president pretend to mean such utter hogwash and a group of 300 left-wing propagandists pretend to believe she meant it.

On her way out the door, Mrs. Clinton rubbed their little pink bellies and handed out doggy treats.

Although I am quick to criticize Mrs. Clinton, I am only too happy to acknowledge that she possesses more testosterone in her little finger than the GOP’s congressional leaders have in their entire bodies.

One thing I would like to point out, however, is that when polls pit Mrs. Clinton against various potential 2016 opponents and shows her leading them by anywhere from 10-15%, it would be wise to keep in mind that whereas she has her party’s nomination all but sewn up, most of the Republicans haven’t even tossed their hats in the ring. Therefore, most Republican voters aren’t even sure at this point whether they favor Walker or Bush, Cruz or Paul, Rubio or Fiorina. The party is still more than a year away from selecting a nominee, but I can assure you that once that’s been decided, Hillary Clinton is unlikely to lead in the polls.

For one thing, Obama will leave the White House under a far darker cloud than did George W. Bush. That means Hillary will have to run against his policies, which will turn off Obama’s greatest admirers, especially among blacks. On the other hand, if she adopts his anti-Israel policies, she will turn off a sizable number of wealthy Jews. If she veers in the opposite direction, she will antagonize an even larger number of liberal Jews.

As a woman pushing 70, she will hardly be attractive to young voters. As someone who has already spent eight years in the White House, she won’t have the advantage of running as either a newcomer or a Washington outsider. And with all of that, she will also be toting more baggage than a team of bellhops.

Speaking of Jewish voters, if there is one question readers ask me more than any other, it’s why do so many Jews insist on voting almost exactly like those with whom they seemingly have so little in common; namely blacks and Hispanics. The answer is both simple and complicated.

Being secular myself, I feel a little strange casting stones at those who are Jews in Name Only (JINOs), although it might be more appropriate to say in names only. After all, if they didn’t have names like Goldstein, Rosenberg and, well, Prelutsky, you’d have no other way of knowing they’re Jewish. A great many of them don’t even side with Israel in its endless conflict with those dedicated to completing the job begun 80 years ago by Adolf Hitler.

The sad fact is that a large percentage of these schmucks, particularly those to be found in the ranks of students or professors on our college campuses, regard Israel as a greater threat to world peace than Russia, China, North Korea or Iran.

Frankly, it would help clarify things if those who are JINOs only because their great-grandparents were religiously observant and refused to change the family name to Green, Perry or Burns, when they landed at Ellis Island, would simply call themselves liberals and stop modifying it with “Jewish.”

Speaking of related matters, when Bernard Goldberg dumped me from his blog because he felt I sometimes went too far when being critical of gays, urban blacks and Muslims, I felt he was entirely within his rights. I still do. However, replacing me with a guy like Pat Buchanan, who hates Jews and Israel nearly as much as Barack Obama, really cuts me to the quick. I guess this must be how it feels to be a loyal wife of many years who wakes up one day to find she’s been abandoned for a gum-popping bimbo.

Finally, I understand that vanity is supposed to be something of a character flaw, but if it is, it is obviously one that is shared by nearly every member of the human race. That is particularly true for those involved in the visual arts, the men and women whose faces and bodies are their key to fame and fortune.

That is why I am always so delighted when any of those who earn their keep in front of a camera can candidly and wittily sum up their own shortcomings. Two such that come to mind are Martin Clunes (star of the English TV series “Doc Martin”), who described himself as possessing “jug ears and child-bearing lips;” and the inimitable Joyce Grenfell, a toothy English actress and monologist, who owned up to being “about eight feet tall with a face that looks like a reflection in a spoon.”

For my part, I recently received a photo of myself from a friend, and complained, “It’s a terrible picture…it looks just like me!”

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?