Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sunday Reading

How Tacky — Lisa Birnbach, author of The Preppie Handbook, on Tucker Carlson.  NOKD.

Oh Tucker, Tucker, Tucker.

We don’t know each other, though no doubt our ships — I call mine a boat — have passed in the night. You know that royal Stewart plaid shirt you wear all the time in Maine, where you’ve been summering for more than a year? I have that one myself, as well as flannel pajamas in the same tartan. We share a love of gingham. We both embrace khaki. We have the same taste in eyeglasses and probably many matters sartorial. I believe I even defended your choice of bow ties.

Oh, Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson. I feel I know you. I have known guys who look like you, sound like you, played like you and lived like you. I’ve tousled hair like yours since I was a child. We were both educated in Rhode Island. You prepped at St. George’s, the beautiful oceanfront boarding school in Middletown. I attended the more bohemian Brown University, but this is all about you, not me.

I believe every profile of you I read when they commend you on your attentive parenting and fidelity to your wife. I admire those traits and hail you for them. You have four kids, who are already young adults, so cheers to you and your wife, Susan Andrews.

In so many respects you could not be more prep. And yet. As the de facto commissioner of prepdom, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say you have violated our trust to be nice, polite, benign, sporting and somewhat forgetful. We, your school chums at the country club, the beaches of Nantucket and the garden clubs throughout New England, are painfully disappointed in who you seem like you’ve become: a mendacious and malicious money machine. You’d be dangerous even if you had only three names.

Your words these last several years — in particular, your reckless comments about the coronavirus vaccines — have been wrong and bad. And you know it, Tucker. At St. George’s every fall, students take the Honor Pledge and sign their names in the Honor Book, signifying their understanding and acceptance of the daunting responsibility that comes with it: “I pledge to be truthful in my words and honorable in my actions. I pledge to treat respectfully the person, reputation and property of all members of the community and our surroundings. I pledge that for any academic work, all work is my own and that I have upheld the spirit and expectations of Academic Integrity.”

We know you were on your best behavior in prep school, because you had fallen in love with the headmaster’s daughter, whom you later married. You said she was “the cutest 10th-grader in America.” That’s adorable. But if you went to St. George’s today, they’d have to toss you out.

When you book guests on your TV show who see the world differently than you do, is it respectful to mock them — making that “WTF?” facial expression — while they are doing their best to defend their points of view, all in service to your ratings and income? You know the answer, Tucker. Even some Republicans don’t want to appear on your show, for fear that you will shred them with your steroidal incredulity.

You sneak white-nationalist ideas like “replacement theory” into your rhetoric, and then you deny it. You said making children wear masks while they play outside is child abuse and that seeing vaccinated people masking up outdoors is equivalent to “watching a grown man expose himself in public.” You mused on TV that maybe the coronavirus vaccines don’t work “and they’re simply not telling you that.” When journalists have asked you if you’ve been vaccinated, though, you have answered with, “When was the last time you had sex with your wife and in what position?” and “What’s your favorite sexual position and when did you last engage in it?”

Is that the best you can do, Tucker? To quote “The Official Preppy Handbook”: “Charm is the Preppy’s suit of armor, the façade of unflappable gentility that doesn’t crack under pressure.” (You probably have a copy or two in your attic. I’d offer to wait while you retrieve it, but you may not have brought many books along when you decamped to Budapest to hang out with strongman Viktor Orban this month.)

Many of us have grown — I mean to be polite here — allergic to you. And that’s after we’ve all been vaccinated. In the unlikely case that you have yet to get your shots, get them. And shame on you. Boyish is cute. Bullyish is NOKD.

DeSantis Blasts Other States — Humor from Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker.

TALLAHASSEE (The Borowitz Report)—In his most scathing assignment of blame to date, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted the other forty-nine states for conspiring to make his own look bad.

“Our COVID numbers wouldn’t seem so terrible if other states’ numbers weren’t better,” he said. “You don’t have to be a detective to figure out who stands to benefit from this scenario.”

“Nice try, other forty-nine states,” he bellowed. “I’m onto you!”

DeSantis’s remarks drew a strong rebuke from a fellow Republican governor, Greg Abbott of Texas.

“If you look at our COVID numbers, you’ll find that Texas has been doing everything in our power to make Florida look good,” he said. “Ron DeSantis’s comments are very hurtful.”

Immediately following Abbott’s statement, DeSantis issued a heartfelt apology. “I appreciate everything Texas has done to make Florida look good,” he said. “But the other forty-eight states still suck.”

Doonesbury —  Kids these days.

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