Thursday, November 11, 2010

Charlie Brown: Meet Lucy And The Football

Are any of you late-night watchers of PBS? I have moments when I can't resist. Usually, it's because I'm having trouble going to sleep. Turning on the Charlie Rose show is better than Sominex. But his Monday night show kept me awake for a change. He was interviewing New York Times "journalist" Thomas Friedman.

What jarred me awake was that Friedman was talking about what a great place America is. He even discussed American "naivete" in positive terms. That was guaranteed to keep me awake. Suddenly, I was bolt upright. Had Friedman had an epiphany? Do I need a hearing aid? Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming. But when the cats ran for cover when I shouted "what did he just say?!?!" I knew I was really hearing it.

The verbatim transcript shows that in response to Rose asking him if the rest of the world wants America to lead them, Friedman responded as follows: "Oh, at the popular level, absolutely, Charlie. You know, one of the things that I sort of learned living abroad in the Middle East for as long as I did--everyone loves to make fun of America. You know, they love to make fun of America, we're so naive. We think every problem has a solution, those silly Americans. We get all atwitter about an affair between the president and an intern, you know, everyone loves to make fun of us."

"But, Charlie, at the end of the day? American optimism, American naivete, helps make--it really makes the world go round. And if America goes dark, if America goes adrift, that's something that touches and is felt by people all over the world. And we, America in the mind of the world is still a very, very powerful thing."

He went on to extol the wonders of a young man he was speaking with who had a brilliant project planned. American naivete at work. Americans just don't accept the concept that "it has never been done, and it can't be done." "There's always some young person, some inventor, and I keep meeting these people any time I travel outside of Washington--they didn't get the word that you're supposed to be depressed." God love him. He has recognized that there really is intelligent life outside the beltway, there are young people who are free to advance unconventional ideas, and creativity exists best outside government."

And then he delivered the sucker punch that with my experience I should have seen coming. "Didn't get the word you're supposed to be depressed, you're supposed to be on your back, you're supposed to be watching Fox TV, you know, and feeling all kind of hate and venom for President Obama. You know, they just didn't get the word."

So we must now conclude that all the love and hope the Times has for Obama is motivating these clever youths, and that Fox is going to be responsible for the downfall of American optimism. After all, we know how positive and encouraging the Times was toward George W. Bush and the ultimate optimist, Ronald Reagan. The American people were depressed by presidents who saw America as "the greatest force for good in the world." Presidents who said horrible things like "it's morning in America." Presidents who believed that America really is that shining city on the hill.

Well, it is depressing that we now have a president who thinks America is a force for intolerance, reaction and imperialism. It is depressing to have a president who thinks the Constitution is an impediment to good government, and that the Founders were just a bunch of slave-holding capitalist white men. It is depressing to have a president who thinks that America's creative juices must be co-opted by government bureaucrats, and that all creative ideas must be taxed into oblivion. It is depressing to know that we have a president who proudly (if somewhat inaccurately) describes America as one of the world's largest Muslim nations.

But you know what makes me an optimist? It's not Thomas Friedman, that's for sure. And it's not Fox TV either. It's the American people. They know they're down but not out. They believe in a system that changes governments based on performance (or in this case, non-performance, misfeasance and malfeasance). They understand that if you make a mistake, correct it. And most of all, they refuse to believe that God and the Constitution are going to let America disappear into the dustbin of history because in a rush of generosity they elected a man not fit for the office. They will not tolerate a president who thinks America owes the world apologies for its greatness and ability to right its wrongs. That's not depression. It's the optimism that Friedman finds, but only in the holy light of the Obamassiah.

So, Thomas Lucy van Pelt Friedman, you have pulled the football out from under this Charlie Brown's foot for the last time. The next time I need to get to sleep, I'll count sheep instead of watching pigs.

19 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Seems like there are a couple of morals to this tale. 1) The American people are, ultimately, something we can be optimistic about. 2) If you stay up late watching PBS, you are bound to be disappointed, particularly if you are filled with wonderful American naivete.

CrisD said...

Wow. American naivete...that's one way to put it.

PS. (off subject)If you haven't caught the 3 Sherlock Holmes played on PBS you should catch it on re-runs--awesome production and actors. They do the same SH stories but updated to present day. Very cleverly imagined.

Patti said...

law, like you, i put my optimistic faith in the american people. it's because of them we will prevail, not in spite of them. that the left refuses to believe that premise, will be their downfall.

AndrewPrice said...

Ah yes, the old "it's a new day in America that we can look up to a Democrat in the White House... without him, we all live in the dark ages of depression waiting for that shining light of brilliance to show us the way." Jerk.

On the naive bit, I've heard Europeans say the same thing. I think the word they are actually looking for is "not cynical." Naive implies stupid or unknowing, but the difference is that we aren't jaded or cynical, we don't think the worlds sucks and that it's hopeless to strive to improve.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I can't argue with that. Better American naivete than European ennui anytime.

LawHawkRFD said...

CrisD: After 225 years, the Europeans still think of us as rambunctious children. They think it's sort of charming. And I find it amusing to think of them as arthritic old farts whose glory days are long behind them.

I'll have to look for the Sherlock Holmes productions. I've always enjoyed them in the past, and the twist of bringing the stories up to today sounds interesting.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Isn't it interesting that the liberals claim to do everything "for the people" but refuse to admit that the people would rather do it for themselves? What it really comes down to is that they have contempt for the proles (that's us) and want to micromanage our every move and thought in order to keep us from firing them. Oh, and then there's the bread and circuses.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: My experience is that when I wasn't in the big cities and the wealthy enclaves of the bored rich, most Europeans liked Americans and actually thought our enthusiasm was a big plus. Like you, I saw that they thought of us as not being cynical or jaded. If they thought of us as children, it was more a compliment than an insult. The cities, on the other hand, were filled with people who despise us for having stolen their thunder.

Tennessee Jed said...

Cris and Hawk - this is the same Holmes series I've been trying to get Commenterama folks to watch. Glad somebody else is enjoying it. I was prepared to not like it and it won me over. There are a total of four 2 hour movies, I believe.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I did see your earlier review of the series. Since I get about four different PBS stations on the satellite, I'm hoping the series will show up on one of them.

StanH said...

Thomas Friedman, a jerks, jerk. Your first instincts were correct Lawhawk, it is beyond his ability to understand what makes America great…it’s people.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: As I mentioned, he fooled me. I expected to start snoozing as soon as he and Rose started droning. But he woke me up saying good things about Americans, and I was wide awake before he pulled the football away.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

The Great American Lack of Cynicism. May it always be so. The mere fact that the US existss means that the cynics have lost. A government created by the people, for the people and is of the people still is THE MOST RADICAL concept.

Friedman can try to shoehorn Obama into that all he wants. He still fails because the US was here way before Obama. What Friedman didn't report is the Europeans are waiting for the Americans to correct it's mistake.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I never imagined that in my lifetime, I would see Europe moving toward the right and fiscal responsibility while America moved to the left to adopt the failed European policies. Most Americans are naive in the way of being non-cynical, while the leftists and Obamists are naive in the way that only the deaf, dumb and blind can be.

Ponderosa said...

The word jerko is looking for: pragmatic.

Americans look for things that work and well...
BHO ain't workin'.

Naive is a better fit for those who admire 'modern' China - such as jerko. Or a PM signing a peace treaty with Germany c. 1938.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
I liked your Eric Hoffer quotation
but do not believe Americans are arrogant. We might be stupid at times only because of our intrinsic optimism. And you could argue we are proud of our society. It is that exact optimism and pride that separates us from the rest of the world. We as a people are with out doubt the only culture that believes that man is innately good.
I for one would rather feel that way than live as a caveman who views all others as outright enemies. That I feel that is what separates us from the animals.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: I've never thought Americans were arrogant. We can't touch the Germans for that. But what sets off the pinky-finger city-dwellers in Europe is that Americans don't suffer insults or fools gladly. We're used to speaking our minds, and they don't know what to make of people who aren't afraid to express their own opinion rather than that of the prevailing intellectual class.

I would point out that Christianity believes that man is born innocent rather than good. But that old serpent is lurking about, waiting for his opportunity. It is the family, the churches and the freedom granted by our Constitution that allow them to become good. I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt to the side that says given the right guidance, most humans will act decently. But like Ronald Reagan, I also believe in "trust, but verify."

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
I must say that in the most succinct way I have seen you have presented the essence of the American that I believe is the American we all would like to see and be.
Bravo

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: Americans and America truly are exceptional.

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