(Continuing a tradition, I'm going to post the first half of an article from Salon.com. This is to encourage readership subscriptions, and forgive me Stan if it comes of spamish but I have no ties to them. I think they're a great resource and wish others to become members for $30 a year. Skip if this bores you, NTO1.)<br><br><br><br>Al Franken<br>The political satirist scripts lines the Democrats could have used to win in 2000, muses on torture and orgasms -- and remains "concerned" about Rush Limbaugh.<br><br>- - - - - - - - - - - -<br>By Douglas Cruickshank<br><br><br><br>April 20, 2002 | Political satirist and author Al Franken speaks in the flat, soothing tone of a veteran broadcaster. He also looks nerdy. This combination of voice and visage makes everything he says seem funny -- or serious, depending on your political persuasion. So, for example, when he comes out in favor of torture, as he did in a February speech at the National Press Club in Washington, not everybody gets the joke. And he was joking, he says. Mostly. <br><br>Of course, if by the time Franken made his torture joke, the audience was not prepared to laugh, it is hard to blame the messenger. There can't be many Americans left, and certainly not in the National Press Club, who aren't familiar with Franken's brand of humor -- a bent variation of straight-faced speechifying in which politicians, pundits and untouchable topics get tossed and gored like runners on the streets of Pamplona.<br><br>From his start in 1975 on "Saturday Night Live" as one of the show's original writers, Franken has distinguished himself as a funny guy with enough political savvy and command of the facts to humble even his most bellicose targets: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh among them. As the one-man mobile uplink, half of the "Franken and Davis" comedy team, and the New Age TV host Stuart Smalley, Franken has been responsible for many a spilled brewski and pot-enhanced coughing fit. His irony-clad delivery and devastating impersonations (he's better at doing Pat Robertson than Pat Robertson is) handily take over where groovy satirists of yore left off.<br><br>As befits the modern-day comedic phenom, Franken crossed over into books in 1992 by channeling the insipid feel-goodism of his Stuart Smalley character into "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!" The book was the basis for the quirky 1995 movie "Stuart Saves his Family." But it was in 1996 that Franken incurred the undying wrath of dittoheads, and the love of liberals, when he sank his fangs into a certain rotund right-wing broadcaster. The book -- "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations" -- was a bestseller.<br><br>Three years later, Franken followed "Rush" with "Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency," which did for authorized campaign biographies what "This Is Spinal Tap" did for rockumentaries.<br><br>Franken was already in demand as a political satirist and commentator (he covered the 1988 Democratic National Convention for CNN), but the success of "Rush" and "Why Not Me?" made him ubiquitous on shows such as "Politically Incorrect" and a frequent terror on the speaking circuit.<br><br>In his new book, "Oh, the Things I Know!" (coming out this month), Franken, posing as a grandiose know-it-all, offers "an easy-to-follow user's manual for human existence." It's a modest and funny effort -- all the chapter titles begin with "Oh" and end with an exclamation mark -- but there's nothing the Bush White House or even Limbaugh need fear.<br><br>"It was just sort of a fun book," Franken says. "It's geared to graduation, a gift book." And the first chapter your graduate will turn to is No. 6: "Oh, the Orgasms You'll Have!" where Franken's sagacity mates with his practicality to produce this jewel:<br><br>"Orgasm is the pinnacle of sexual accomplishment. This is not to say that the pursuit of orgasms should be the end-all and be-all of your sexual life. Because, like life itself, the best part of sex is the journey and not the destination ... Some young men arrive at their destination too early. To them I say, next time you embark on a journey, try using desensitizing gel or ointment. This will help your partner complete her journey, making it far more likely that she will go on future journeys with you."<br><br>Still, the lefty wisenheimer is never far from matters of state. In the new book, for instance, Franken somehow manages, amid prodigious tips for living, to take a few shots at his old pal Limbaugh.<br><br>"When are you going to stop picking on him?" I asked.<br><br>"I don't pick on him," Franken insisted. "I talk about how concerned I am."<br><br>The conservative radio host's welfare is just one of many concerns that Franken shared during a recent phone conversation. Al Gore in 2004, the pope's meeting with U.S. cardinals, the origins of Dick Cheney's wealth -- all are grist for Franken's opinions, which he tends to express with icy irony and a pretty good punch line.<br><br>Shortly after Sept. 11, Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, declared (in an article published in Inside.com), "It's the end of the age of irony." When you heard that did you consider your career over?<br><br>No, I knew Graydon was being ironic.<br><br>Has it been a particularly tough time to be a satirist? <br><br>For six weeks it was -- I mean it really was -- although I had to speak a week after [Sept. 11] to a human rights campaign group in Minneapolis, and they didn't call it off, and they were right not to. I flew in from New York. Thanks to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, I had funny stuff to talk about. You remember that [Falwell] blamed Sept. 11 on a lot of us.<br><br>This was on Robertson's show, "The 700 Club." But then later Falwell said he was misquoted.<br><br>He didn't say he was misquoted; he said he was taken out of context. Somewhere here I have the [transcript from "The 700 Club"] ... Here it is. He said: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"<br><br>That was Falwell speaking to Pat Robertson? <br><br>And Pat Robertson said, "I totally concur." That's what he said. And so immediately after [Falwell] said it was taken out of context, I got the quote. My biggest laugh has been that the only way [the quote] could have been taken out of context is if he immediately preceded it with, "I'd have to be a [censored] nut to say ..."<br><br>You've praised President Bush's performance in recent months, but do you really think he's doing any better than you could do? <br><br>I do believe I'd collapse under the pressure -- I really do believe I'd do that. I'm not kidding. If I had to make a decision that was really affecting the lives of millions of people, I think I'd be crushed by the pressure.<br><br>The first day [Sept. 11] he wasn't so hot; he looked a little shaky. But I thought he came back in a way that showed that he maybe had the stuff to be the guy who had to be in charge during that time. I certainly don't agree with any of his domestic policies, or the basic thrust of his domestic policies. And I do think that to some degree a lot of that has been disgraceful.<br><br>How about Dick Cheney's job? Is that a role you think you could handle?<br><br><br>Uh, probably could handle that, yeah. I could probably not be crushed ... but, goddamn, I don't know if I could sit in that meeting and go, "OK, what do we do?" I think they did what you had to do. And I think that it was a blessing that they had the freedom to do what they did, whereas I don't know if Gore would have. Because he would have had the tremendous pressure by the Republican assholes in Congress -- the Tom DeLays and those guys -- [saying] "You gotta strike back within an hour."<br><br>Bush had the luxury of waiting a little while.<br><br>Yes, he had the luxury of doing what made sense.<br><br>Do you think Clinton would have handled things any better? <br><br><br>I think he would have handled things similarly. He would have been in a much different situation. He would have been having to deal with the accusations that he had let our guard down. It would have been his CIA; it would have been his FBI. I'm not the first to say this, so in an odd way it was better that it was Bush than Gore. The country did unite behind Bush, and that's partly because the Democratic Party was willing to close ranks behind him. And I don't know that the Republican Party, ... to their disgrace, would have been able to close ranks around Gore.<br><br>Without mentioning the name Rush Limbaugh, why do right-wing pundits do so much better on TV and radio than left-wing pundits? Is it because, politics aside, right-wingers are just better theater?<br><br><br>It does help if you don't really care about what you're saying in terms of how factually accurate you are. That makes it easier to be theatrical. And Rush certainly doesn't care. Being able to really believe that you're absolutely certain of what you're saying helps. Reasonable liberals like myself -- I wrote about it in the Rush book -- have some sense of not being sure of everything that they say. And I don't know if being absolutely certain about everything is necessarily a sign of wisdom, but Bill O' Reilly seems to think so.<br><br>What's happened to the left anyway? We're hearing so little from them. Have they just given up? <br> <br><br>Everybody has a heart. Except some people.. BD
Haven't read what you posted (will do it later), but I used to read Salon a couple of years ago. Nice place and stories. Don't know why I stopped reading.<br><br>--<br>I am dangerous. I am Dyslexic of Borg. Fusistance is retile. Your a$$ will be laminated.
Hands down, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot... is one of the best books I have ever read, and only wish that he would write more political commentary. He's really quite a guy! (I'm biased - he is Ivy after all. :P)<br><br>
Sometimes I don't want to read them because they tell me truths I don't want to hear. Then, I go to ABCNews.com and see a story like: BIN LADEN MAY BE IN PAKISTAN<br><br>Then you open it, and the story says, "- then again, maybe not. Who really knows? Hey- did you hear the new Britney Spears song? It's kind of cool.."<br><br>And that's one of the few news orgs I respect!<br><br>Take care Vijay..<br><br>Everybody has a heart. Except some people.. BD
LOL. They post stories like that on ABC ? Must be to attract clicks.<br><br>I love the BBC News site. I constantly check there. They are the most unbaised source that I trust, and you gotta love the fast loading ad-free pages combined with great British Journalism.<br><br>Britney Spears? Nah. Not into today's pop crap. I like metal, rock, techno, alternative, some pop (like the guy who wrote soundtracks for Tarzan, forgot his name) and a bit of reggae.<br><br>I think I now remember why I stopped reading Salon. Took too long for the pages to load on my modem.<br><br>Thanks and you too take care! :)<br><br>--<br>I am dangerous. I am Dyslexic of Borg. Fusistance is retile. Your a$$ will be laminated.
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