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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
November 17, 2004
Kudos To Elisabeth Bumiller For Being A Smug, Barking Cow
Congratulations to Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times, newly-crowned winner of the NY Press Wimblehack competition. My favorite part is the reference to Bumiller coming across on TV "like a smug, barking cow."
I've had a crush on Bumiller for some time, but she truly won my heart when she explained why reporters asked Bush no hard questions at his press conference just before the invasion of Iraq. You see, they're cowards:
ELISABETH BUMILLER: I think we were very deferential, because in the East Room press conference, it's live. It's very intense. It's frightening to stand up there... You are standing up on prime time live television, asking the president of the United States a question when the country is about to go to war.
There are several entertaining things about this:
1. I'm sure it's scary to ask the president a question on live national TV just before a war. But...
(a) If you can't handle it, maybe you should get another job. It's also "intense" to be an NFL quarterback and, whenever you drop back to pass, have six men weighing a collective ton trying to crush you. But if this makes you stay at home in bed on Superbowl Sunday, perhaps professional football is not for you.
(b) As scary as it may be to ask the president a question just before a war, I've heard tell it's even scarier to FIGHT IN A WAR. It may be scarier still to be in a country about to invaded by the most powerful military in human history, and know you and your family may soon be converted into scraps of red, wet flesh. Perhaps Bumiller could think of this at such times and fucking get ahold of herself.
2. The New York Times has been owned by the same family for 108 years. When they bought it, the new publisher Adolph Ochs wrote a famous front page editorial:
It will be my earnest aim that The New York Times... give the news impartially, without fear or favor...
"Without fear or favor" is so much a part of the Times self-image that it was used as the title of an authorized history of the paper. Yet Bumiller explicitly acknowledges giving the news with fear. And we can throw in favor too, because "favor" is quite close to "deference," as thesauruses will tell you.
So Bumiller very publicly whizzed all over her employers' founding credo. For this, she retains one of the New York Times' highest profile and most prestigious positions. But I guess this makes sense in a country where you can only be Attorney General if you hate the Constitution.
UPDATE: NY Press link fixed.Posted at November 17, 2004 05:46 AM | TrackBack