W is Gilligan; Al is Mr. Howell

I’ve gotta say, there is an interesting and (largely) thoughtful conversation going on between the political extremes via comments on this post.

I should say though, "bud," going by objective standards of comedy, Al (and I call him that because, Goretuxway back in 1984 when he was running for the Senate, he kept telling me to call him that) is doomed to be funnier than W. W may be infuriating, he may seem dumb, he may mangle the language — and the latter two are good comedy fodder, no question — but you just can’t beat a pompous smart guy. Al’s funnier just out of the block. He gets a head start, and W can’t catch up.

Let’s use the Gilligan’s Island standard (which I just made up). I never found Gilligan to be that funny — average guy, although stupider. Infuriating in the way he kept throwing away opportunities to get off the island. "Infuriating," to me, isn’t funny.

But Mr. and Mrs. Howell were a complete hoot. Why? Because they were so upper-class and pompous and impervious. You couldn’t hurt them by laughing at them; it didn’t matter. (Mr. Howell would dismiss W. with his ultimate expression of derision: "A YALE man!!!")

Al is Thurston Howell, with a good dollop of the Professor thrown in (the pedantic manner; having to be the guy who knows it all, etc.). By himself, of course, the Professor isn’t funny; but combine him with Mr. Howell and you’ve got something special.

Sure, reasonable people can disagree. Some will find Gilligan funnier. (And yes, I know W is just as blue-blooded as Al, but he doesn’t seem to know it, and he doesn’t act like it. He’s a Gilligan. And Cheney is the Skipper, as played by Brian Dennehy.) I just think they’re wrong.

Note that none of this is to be confused with the eternal argument over whether Ginger or Maryanne is hotter. (Obviously, it’s Maryanne.)

27 thoughts on “W is Gilligan; Al is Mr. Howell

  1. bud

    It’s becoming clear that Al Gore cannot ever be president. His reputation as a serious candidate is finished. It’s sad to me because I do think the guy is brilliant. He’s the professor on this Gilligan’s Island nation of ours. Perhaps Secretary of Interior would be a nice retirement job for Al.
    Here’s my version of the Gilligan’s Island Analogy:
    Gilligan – George W. Bush
    Skipper – Dick Cheney (or Karl Rove)
    Mr. Howell – George H. W. Bush (or John Kerry)
    Mrs. Howell – Barbara Bush (or Teresa Kerry)
    Ginger – Condi Rice
    Mary Anne – Hillary Clinton
    Professor – Al Gore

  2. Mary Rosh

    The truth is, of course, that Warthen resents Gore not because of Gore’s “having to be the guy who knows it all”, but because Gore really does know a lot and has sound ideas about many issues, and has made measureless contributions to America and the world, while Warthen has no ideas beyond repetition of Republican talking points, and has never made a positive difference in anyone’s life. Warthen hates Gore because Gore is better than Warthen. The fact that Gore is industrious and knowledgeable, while Warthen is lazy and ignorant, is WARTHEN’S fault, NOT GORE’S. In attacking Gore as “pompous,” Warthen is simply reverse-projecting his own deficiencies onto Gore. To Warthen, who is now old enough that his life can be judged as an irrecoverable failure, Gore’s success is not something to be admired, but instead is a failing.
    Warthen and the rest of the press relentlessly attacked Gore with false and trivial criticisms. He was accused of having falsely claimed to have been a model of one of the characters in “Love Story”. What he said was, he’d read some newspaper article saying that. In addition, he WAS a model of one of the characters in “Love Story.” So what was the problem with that? And whose problem was it?
    He was falsely accused of claiming to have invented the Internet. He made no such claim. However, if he HAD claimed to have invented the Internet, such a claim would have been true. Without Al Gore, what is now the Internet would have been a bunch of walled-off onine services, with Prodigy over here, AOL over there, some other thing over there, none of them communicating with one another. It is because of Al Gore’s vision, and tireless promotion, of an intercommunicating, publicly accessible information superhighway that we have today’s Internet.
    So Al Gore didn’t claim to have invented the Internet, but basically, he did invent the Internet. So what was the problem with that? And whose problem was it?
    The press relentlessly attacked Gore, but the public didn’t fall for it. It was only due to the intervention of a concerted, racist effort to keep black people from voting, one that Warthen and his sheet-wearing friends all applauded, that Bush was awarded Florida’s electoral votes.
    The press made up false stories and wallowed in trivia. How is that Gore’s fault? How is that not the press’s fault?
    Gore is a success and Warthen is a failure. How is that Gore’s fault? How is that not Warthen’s fault?
    Now, here is commentary on Gore from the Rude Pundit, at rudepundit.blogspot.com. He is giving his impressions arising from actual observation of Gore, not, as Warthen would prefer,
    Last night, Gore was as you’ve heard, loose, funny, and smart. G—–n, so f—-n’ smart. Every time he opened his mouth to discuss some aspect of melting ice caps or fuel efficiency, you just wanted to weep, thinking, “Jesus Christ, he won. Motherf—-r won. He should be our president right now, not that inarticulate, s—-tossing baboon hunched in the ditch next to Tony Blair right now.” What Gore does better than anyone in the Democratic Party right now, from Hillary Clinton to Russ Feingold, is articulate liberal issues as moral callings. Not squishy, feel-good sentiments, but deep in the soul, religious, even, moral purposes. Like, you know, Christians are supposed to do.
    Now, I can’t help observing that this analysis, based on observations of Gore that took place on May 25, 2006, is different from Warthen’s generalized deprecation of Gore as “pompous”
    I also can’t help noticing that all through Warthen’s screed, he doesn’t tell us ANYTHING about anything Gore said or did.
    Warthen is (unintentionally) telling us not too much about Gore, but everything we need to know about Warthen.

  3. VietVet

    Off Topic but still within the borders of political discussion.

    I wrote our Senators and Congressmen asking the to reject any immigration bill allowing for amnesty regardless of what they chose to call it.

    I received replies from all those sharing my view. I was ignored by Senator Graham who voted for it.

    I am not anti-immigrant, but I’m definitely anti illegal alien. The oppositions chant that they aren’t criminals is not true. Identify theft (using others SSNs)is a felony.

    Sorry to slide off topic, but I’m sitting here in a rage over this.

  4. Dave

    Mary, the only presidency Gore won was President of Chad, and he was just a few chads short in 2000. Bush let everyone vote who wanted to, and did not try to block military voters like Gore did. Even the liberal papers agreed Bush won, and he won by even more in 04. Too bad he cant run again but that is OK. Please convince Algore to run, as victory would be automatic for the GOP. By the way, is that you, the rude pundit. Certainly fits your rudeness.

  5. Dave

    Vietvet – I contributed to Graham to help get him elected. He had better get off this Democrat lite agenda or he is toast in the next election. Guaranteed.

  6. Brad Warthen

    There we go again with the “Warthen hates Gore” thing. As I’ve explained before, I’ve always like the guy. He’s a geek, and I was sad to see the vice presidency diminish him (the same way it did the first George Bush), but appreciate his intelligence.
    And Dave, you’re wrong about Graham. Here’s my prediction: He gets more votes being re-elected than your doctrinaire boy DeMint does.

  7. Ready to Hurl

    Hmmm, a “pompous” smart guy or a dry drunk on a mission from God– which would you choose to be the world’s most powerful head of state with the power to start nuclear devastation or stop ecological disasters?
    Brad chose the dry drunk because… well, because he didn’t make Brad feel inadequate.
    Bravo, Brad! Dead Iraqi civilians, wounded-for-life American vets, and those who return in coffins salute you.

  8. Dave

    Well, Bud must be drinking some happy hour moonshine if he thinks Hillary would be Mary Anne. Perish the thought. Mary Anne was Miss Nevada before becoming an actress and was obviously a looker.

    Mary would have been one of the kooky visitors to the island. She could have been the commander of the little Japanese submarine that arrived at the island thinking that WW2 was still underway the way Mary is still battling the 2000 election. haaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Brad, unless the House prevails and brings some sanity to the immigration legislation, Graham is going to get burnt for supporting these lunatic ideas:
    1. Earned amnesty for illegals.
    2. Ability to bring in all immediate family including grandparents and siblings etc once a citizen.
    3. Put them on SS benefits immediately.
    4. Instate tuition for any illegal.
    5. Police cannot check for legality if they are stopped for speeding, DUI, etc.
    6. Application of Davis-Bacon act to them but NOT US citizens so illegals get protection of higher pay than US citizens.
    7 The list is endless.

    RTH – That is a cheap shot to Brad. This memorial day, take some time and think about the blood shed by American citizens to win freedom from the British, in fact the blood shed in all the wars, up to and including Iraq and Afghanistan. That blood is being shed so people like you and I can raise families and live in a peaceful nation. Be grateful for all of that.

  9. Brad Warthen

    Geeks don’t make me feel inadequate. They make me feel — well, to paraphrase Nick Hornby — like one of them.
    Who makes me feel inadequate? Well, yesterday I met the new post command sergeant major at Fort Jackson. He was only back a week from serving with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. His second tour.
    I’m almost positive the sergeant major could whup me without really trying.
    By contrast, I used to fight my corner pretty well back in my Tennessee days, when Al and I would talk esoteric policy one-on-one. He’s not so tough.
    Of course, I generally agreed with him.

  10. Lee

    Al Gore’s policy when you talked with him was probably different than what it was when he talked to the next news jockey. He’s a fake.

  11. Dave

    Algore was a C student majoring in Government policy. His knowledge of science is limited to “briefings” from various govt. departments back when he was in office. For this guy to be pontificating on climate shifts and the ozone layer is hilarious. He flunked out of divinity school – what did he fail there? Praying maybe? What a doofus. Al is probably predicting there will be hurricanes this year, and some earthquakes, and some droughts too. Would anyone buy a used car from a government major who flunked out of divinity school and is despised in his own home state? Liberals would.

  12. Phillip

    Very interesting piece here by Andrew Sullivan for the Sunday Times of London on Gore, drawing parallels between this ex-Veep and another 2-term Veep who lost the ensuing Presidential election but came back 8 years later to finally win it–Nixon.
    But, please, Brad—Cheney as the Skipper is an insult to Alan Hale AND Brian Dennehy. The Skip was a genial guy. Cheney?
    There are parallels between G’s Island and this administration however. This war was supposed to be something like a “three-hour tour” but they got hopelessly marooned. Eventually the show got canceled.

  13. Dave

    Phillip – Cheney is a very polite and respectful person. He even kept his cool in the debate when Edwards tried to use a cheap and insulting ploy to publicise that Cheney’s daughter is gay. I will agree he doesnt smile that often, only when he shoots a lawyer friend..

  14. bud

    Hillary and Mary Anne have much in common. Both come from rural areas of the country. Both have to deal with morons (Hillary – W.; Mary Anne – Gilligan). Both are constantly put upon by the rich in their respective societies. Both are attractive in their own way. And both have potential for accomplishing great things.
    By the way Dave, does asking a United States Senator to go “hurt” himself (as Cheney did) qualify as polite and respectful.

  15. Dave

    Bud, sometimes in a mano a mano situation, blunt honesty will prevail. That is what happened between Cheney and the treasonous Leahy. Remember Leahy HAD to resign from the intelligency committee for blabbing classified data, and also tipped off Bin Laden as to how we were tracking him. Leahy’s mouth has cost American lives.

  16. bud

    Dave, Cheney is a shameless coward that dodged the Vietnam draft (with 5 deferements). He hides out in bunkers out of fear for his life. He calls Senators obsene name (some family values man), holds secret meetings with oil executives to craft an energy policy designed to further enrich the super rich. Brad brought up the whole secret meetings issue in another blog. As I recall many on the right were in favor of open-to-the public meetings. Cheney’s “blunt honesty” remark is really nothing more than an unbecoming and shameful insult. Please don’t try to call this 16%-approval-rating bully polite and respectful. He’s nothing more than another rich scumbag sucking off the public teet. And frankly after some reflection I made a mistake comparing the skipper to Cheney. To paraphrase a great American who we recently lost: I knew the Skipper, the Skipper was a friend of mine. And Mr. Cheney, you are no Skipper!

  17. Dave

    Bud, Cheney never faked a medical problem, he was born with them. It’s amazing that nothing is off limits with the left anymore? Now a person’s health is a reason to call one a coward. The left has become so hateful and vicious that Congress had to pass a law making it illegal to harass and taunt families of soldiers killed in action. Yes, nice people on the left, and from the left sewer. But back to Cheney, this guy could make billions but served this country as an elected official for a pittance of what he could make. He should be honored. His ratings, who cares. 80% of the illiterate left would not be able to name who the current VP is, let alone give him a rating. I only wish Cheney were healthy enough to run in 08. We all saw how he make chopped liver out of Edwards in the debates. It was a boy against a real man. Anyway, Bud, lighten up on the guy, he may not live long with that ticker.

  18. bud

    You’re right Dave, Cheney was born with an incurable disease: Yellowbellyitas. The cowardly and hawkish VP was granted 5 draft deferments, NONE of which were for medical reasons. His bad ticker came later. In 1989 when asked why he didn’t participate in the war he said merely that he had “other priorities”. He’s the poster child for the Chickenhawk right.
    I have no need, nor desire, to pick on Cheney for his bad ticker. His cowardice, lying, poor judgement and nasty demenor provide more than enough ammunition. And I don’t know what planet you live on but Edward clearly won the VP debate on points. The only thing that made it look somewhat close was the constant lying of Cheney. He even claimed he’d never met Edwards until the night of the debate. That was, of course, not true but it did score points with the ignorant lemming right wingers. How discraceful is that? Lying, obsene insults, cowardice, drinking and hunting. The family values of this disgusting man never ends. From Wickepedia, here’s a summary of the VPs deferments:
    There continues to be some controversy involving Dick Cheney and the draft, due in part to Cheney’s five draft deferments. In February 1962, when Mr. Cheney reached age 18 and was classified as 1-A — available for service — he was doing poorly at Yale. At that time, however, the military was taking only older men, and like most others who were in college at the time, Cheney had little concern about being drafted. In June 1962, Cheney left Yale to return home to Casper, where he worked as a lineman for a power company. In 1962, only 82,060 men were inducted into the service, the fewest since 1949. While Cheney was eligible for the draft, as he said during his confirmation hearings in 1989, he was not called up because the Selective Service System was taking only older men.
    By January 1963, with the US actively advising South Vietnamese forces, Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College and turned 22 that month. At that time, he sought his first student deferment which was granted on March 20, according to records from the Selective Service System. After transferring to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, Cheney sought his second student deferment on July 23, 1963. On August 7, 1964, Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which allowed President Lyndon B. Johnson to use military force in Vietnam. From that point on, American involvement in Vietnam began to escalate rapidly.
    On August 29, 1964, 22 days after the resolution, Cheney married his high school sweetheart, Lynne. He sought and was granted his third student deferment on October 14, 1964. In May 1965, Cheney graduated from college and his draft status changed to 1-A. Since he was married, however, he had somewhat better protection from being drafted. In July, 1965, Johnson announced that he was doubling the number of men drafted. The number of inductions soared, to 382,010 in 1966 from 230,991 in 1965 and 112,386 in 1964. Cheney obtained his fourth deferment because he started graduate school at the University of Wyoming on November 1, 1965.
    On October 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Cheney’s first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. On January 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant, Mr. Cheney applied for 3-A status, the “hardship” exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted. In January 1967, Cheney turned 26 and was no longer eligible for the draft. [7]

  19. Dave

    Bud, reading the above proves that Cheney only did what the law of the land permitted. YOu dont know his personal circumstance. Maybe his parents were really ailing and he had to stay close to home, who knows. The point is, he did nothing dishonorable from that chronology. If “readily volunteering” to serve the military were a test for character and determination of cowardice, we have Bill Clinton, twice elected to office. Do you call him a yellowbelly and coward? You need to get over your hate of Cheney as he actually is a great family man with a good sense of humor.

    What debate scoring were you using. Cheney had Edwards for a light snack in the debate. After that, Edwards was not even effectual enough to carry NC, his home state. But he does have pretty hair.

  20. BLSaiken

    Notice how the line of argument has shifted? First, it was Cheney’s (later in life) ailments. Then, it became the (unknown) status of his parents. Third, there was a (mandatory) slap at Bill Clinton. Fourth, I expect a (mandatory) slap at Al Gore, who did serve on active duty. The gratuitous slurs at Pat Leahy (tripe from right-wing websites) are just icing on the cake. In the old lawyers’ joke, “When the facts are against you, argue the law. When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the law and the facts are both against you, give the opposing counsel hell.” Whether or not both the law and the facts are against W’s team, giving the opposing team hell is one thing they never lose their touch for.

  21. Dave

    BLSaiken – Al Gore is actually a good family man who served honorably in the military. My strong advice to democrats – please nominate this man for president in 08.

  22. Bentley

    “Mary Rosh”–
    Your postings make us lefties sound like a PAC of rabid dogs! Are you actually a right winger trying to turn good people away from the left? Or are you waging an inexplicable personal war against Brad? Yes, he is critical; it is his job to be so. What’s your job? From the frequency of your postings, you must either be effectively unemployed or devoid of a personal life.
    Don’t ad hominem attacks bother you? 😉
    Perhaps I will regret this posting; but, I absolutely loathe seeing a good person’s character assaulted. Brad Warthen is a good person. Mary, are you a good person? An example of a good person: a single mom who put her way through law school to provide a better life for her daughter and now volunteers her precious free time to providing (pro bono) legal protection to battered women. Good people volunteer their time to make their community a better place instead of anonymously spouting venom upon others from afar. Have you looked into the activities of Brad Warthen? A Klansman? Hardly. He volunteers for the African American community!!
    I like Al Gore as much as most liberals. However, I can examine him as a public figure and point to the faults (appearing smug, pompous, etc for too many voters) that cost us the 2000 election to a weak opponent (Bush should have easily been beaten by someone in Gore’s position…). Brad’s GI bit was slightly insightful and mostly just fun. Can’t you just loosen up, Mary, and have an iota of fun with Brad n the Gang?
    I guess that I need to repeat myself: ad hominem attacks are distasteful.
    Repetition bothers me.
    Repetition bothers me.
    Enough. If you cannot keep the discourse respectful, then you should first direct your comments to your therapist.

  23. Mary Rosh

    “Perhaps I will regret this posting; but, I absolutely loathe seeing a good person’s character assaulted.”
    What about seeing a wicked person’s character assaulted?
    “Have you looked into the activities of Brad Warthen? A Klansman? Hardly. He volunteers for the African American community!!”
    I never called Warthen a Klansman. Although, plenty of KKK members gave charity to Negroes, and engaged in charitable activities directed toward Negroes. They didn’t mind that, and were happy to “take care” of Negroes. What the KKK didn’t like was when black people sought to control their OWN lives and destiny, and to make their voices heard in the running of public affairs.
    But Warthen’s not a KKK member, or even a KKK sympathizer. He strikes a “middle ground” between two extremes. At one extreme, is the KKK position, which advocates murdering black people to keep them from voting. At the other extreme is the “far left” position, which advocates honoring black people’s right to vote, just as one would honor everyone else’s right to vote. Warthen takes a “middle” position; he doesn’t go so far as to murder black people who try to vote, but he advocates putting numerous obstacles in the path of black people’s voting than he advocates putting in the path of white people’s voting.
    “However, I can examine him as a public figure and point to the faults (appearing smug, pompous, etc for too many voters)”
    Yeah, that’s interesting. But how did you get that impression; did you get it from watching Gore, or did you get it from losers like Warthen telling you over and over that Gore was smug and pompous. Remember, in Warthen’s piece above, he doesn’t say a word about anything Gore ever said or did. He just gives his impression of Gore, without telling us what his impression is based on. The Rude Pundit, observing Gore, took away a very different impression, and he told us about things Gore said and did that served to form his impression.
    Who told us more about Gore, Warthen or the Rude Pundit? Who told us more about himself while purporting to tell us about Gore, Warthen or the Rude Pundit?
    Repeating that you find ad hominem attacks distasteful doesn’t help you, when you don’t know what an ad hominem attack is. An ad hominem attack is an attack on an argument, based on criticism of the person making it. My analysis is the opposite of an ad hominem attack. I examine Warthen’s argument, and draw conclusions about the sort of worthless, jealous, loser who would make that kind of argument.

  24. Dave

    Mary, are you following the election campaigns of senate candidate Steele in MD. and Gov candidate Swann in PA? The left is attacking both of these black candidates for “leaving the Dem plantation”. So, in some ways, substitute the Democrats for KKK above and what you say is true.

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