January 30, 2008

Recently America has suffered through a writer’s strike. This will go down in history with the great industrial battles of our past such as the Homestead Strike, where Carnegie Steel broke the steelworkers union. Seven guards and eleven strikers were killed in a battle during that strike. Or the Pullman Strike, where thousands of federal troops (aided by federal marshals) killed 13 workers and wounded 57 more.People stay up late, watching Letterman or Leno, desperate for a good joke to put them to bed in a good mood. Without writers, not a guffaw, no a chortle, not a laugh, not a grin, not even a slight twist at the corner of the mouth do the scriptless comedians inspire in the languishing audience. After the television has been turned off, husbands and wives lie next to each other in silence, as stiff and cold as the comedians while the television was on.

Of course, they could read my blog, where laughs abound, but as the poet didn’t say,

Laughter, canned laughter, every where,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Ho ho, ho ho, every where,
Nor any smile or even a wink.

Yes, the political candidates’ speechwriters are also on strike. (Apparently, nobody besides me has noticed the labor stoppage.)

Now, each candidate for President (not to mention the current President) has to write his or her own speeches.  Without their speech writers, politicians’ speeches are full of clichés, generalities, and empty platitudes.
When will the public notice that political speeches are no longer as full of inspiration as they once were? Maybe we need Abe’s speech writer back again.

Or Demosthenes’ ghost writer. Though after the war he supported didn’t go that well, Demosthenes offed himself. That’s another old idea we might consider bringing back.


7 Responses to “Scriptless”

  1. Pete Says:

    That was a riot! And so true about the president and candidates. At least the candidates are dropping like flies these days. Sadly though, I’m afrais too many Americans do not notice the hollow speeches. Maybe it’s because of the hollow commedy on late at night? I feel bad for the many people who are out of work, but personally I would like to see hollywood, or what it has become, implode! Maybe start all over freah and new. If not for my wife I would shoot my TV…

  2. modestypress Says:

    When we moved to the island, my wife and I gave up live television, though we occasionally check a DVD out of the library. As I mentioned not long ago, Random Granddaughter watched her first video at Christmas time: the Grinch.

    Apparently, she was shocked and appalled by the Grinch’s bad behavior. (I presume she doesn’t want the competition.)

    Though I think she could be the star of her own television show: Random Granddaughter’s guide to good table manners for preschoolers. The table manners of her generation would be set back for decades, I’m afraid.

  3. pandemonic Says:

    It’s a tragedy, to be sure. I’m positive that America may never recover, damn it.

  4. trured73 Says:

    As my great-grandmother used to say, “Hell in a handbasket, I tell ya. Hell in a handbasket.”

  5. Moongirl Says:

    This was great! I’ve missed your brightness. I’m fairly active in local politics; in a no-more-taxing-be-more-responsible-and-accountable kind of way… I really dislike they bait and switch crud folks do with “Measures”. I really dislike television save Discovery and the 8,000 jazz channels we have because my TV hubby bought the big bozo package. Sorry, an uncontrolled rant, I meant to keep writing about how brilliant YOU are. FTL, jen

  6. Hilarious as always, Mr. R.

    I don’t understand why comedians have writers. Aren’t they supposed to be funny on their own?

  7. modestypress Says:

    Pete and Moongirl, in regard to television:

    I once worked with a very attractive woman who demonstrated more interest in me than was perhaps seemly. During that time period, she got a divorce. To celebrate her divorce, she threw her television set out of her apartment window. Her apartment was several stories up. Although I flirted with her more than I should have, my unseemliness never extended more than flirtation; the episode of the television was one (of several clues) not to get more involved. I don’t know how she explained the many parts of her ex-television’s body. For that matter, I only had her word for it that she had divorced her husband.


    Nobody knows where the expression “Hell in a handbasket” comes from. Perhaps it originated with your great grandmother.


    Real comedians appear in night clubs where they have to respond to real hecklers. The comedians who appear on television don’t have any hecklers to deal with. Comedy writers are sort of like “falsies” for comedians.

    When I was younger I hung out in comedy clubs and thought about going up on stage and trying to do comedy during “open mike” nights. However, I am a slow thinker. If somebody in the audience heckled me, I would have had to say, “Come back in an hour, and I will have a witty retort.”

    My wife is small-bosomed, which has always tormented her. I am slow-thoughted, which has always tormented me.

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