Ever since Matt Cale wrote his rant about Dennis Miller, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to write my own version because Miller represents a number of trends that annoy the hell out of me: the ossification of the human brain during middle age, opinion based on aesthetic appeal rather than on reason or conviction and the idea that intellect is best used as a fašade rather than for thinking critically about things.
Most importantly, Miller is one of a growing number of comedians, pundits and other commentators who specialize in telling the same tired, numbing lies spewed out by Karl Rove and the rest of Bush’s P.R hacks–all part of the worst government in this country’s history–and then convincing themselves and their audience that the microwaved bullshit they offer up is somehow a biting, edgy alternative to the mainstream. “Hey, maybe it’s just me, but Howard Dean is a crazy, left-wing nut! He yelled! Boy is that new Canyonero roomy!”
Miller’s gay-antics did not appeal to Monday Night Football fans.
Al Michaels however, misses Dennis very much.
Miller might be one of the fathers of this approach to rhetoric, but now you can’t avoid it. Bud Light commercials are packed full of guys with emo haircuts. Phil Hendrie has enough “balls” to tell us that Iraq was the best country to invade in the battle against Al Quaeda (I still hope that he’s joking). Hootie and the Blowfish were marketed as an “alternative” band.
It’s no wonder that Miller is considering a run for office. His political comedy is the perfect analog to the post-Reagan Republicans and Post-Clinton Democrats. Just tell us what we want to hear. Offer us the easiest, least challenging beliefs. And, here’s the key; make us feel like we’re noble, patriotic, compassionate, or, in Dennis’ case, clever and edgy, for taking the easy way out.
What about this show in particular? It’s OK. Most of the above applies as much to any other cable talk show host as it does to Miller, so he isn’t unusually bad in that respect. The other thing Miller has going for him is that he isn’t a total shill for his party, like Al “I’d vote for Cruz Bustamante*” Franken. Another partially good thing about the show is that it features political commentary from David Horowitz [Ed Note: author of Radical Son, an autobio where the neo-con denounces his commie parents]. Horowitz is cool because he’s an absolute lunatic who occasionally hits upon insight. He’s like the guy in the bar who tells you, “You know, if your society lacks virtue, war becomes a meaningless enterprise. Also, Jews control the Oxygen supply.” I’d much rather listen to someone like that than a blow-dried Ivy-Leaguer regurgitating talking points from Washington.
Horowitz and his “fans.”
Finally, it must be conceded that Miller and his writers are still pretty funny, although very hit and miss. I’ve laughed at the show but I’ve been embarrassed when crew members offer up forced, off-screen laughs in response to a Miller bomb a few seconds after they figure out that it was meant to be a joke. Nonetheless, funny bullshit is better than un-funny bullshit.
* For non-Californians. As you might know, Cruz was the Democratic candidate to replace our Democrat governor in California’s recent recall election. What you might not know is that endorsing a thief like Bustamante and having even a shred of credibility are mutually exclusive. Even our Democratic attorney general voted for Arnold rather than Cruz.