PALIN CRITIC DERANGEMENT SYNDROME
I'm not a fan of the frequently clownish and embarrassing Chris Matthews, but the wingers -- specifically Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters and his amen corner -- are really straining in their effort to mock his recent appearance on a celebrity edition of Jeopardy, all because he's dared on a few occasions to say that their goddess, Sarah Palin, wouldn't do well on the show.
Quite comically, the MSNBC anchor's first gaffe came when he couldn't even correctly request an answer to a question.
"Let's go back to, what is 'Crossword Clues E?' I mean, I'm sorry, let's go $200 for the category 'Crossword Clues E.'"
Matthews appeared to have his Joe Biden thinking cap on.
I once made it to the second round of a big Jeopardy contestant search in Atlantic City. I passed the written test and was brought in to play a mock game against some others who had cleared Round One. And that's what the Jeopardy people tell you before you even start: that it's hard to make a smooth transition from answering a question to requesting a new question. If you just shout out answers while watching at home, you don't even develop this skill. I admit I had trouble, at least the first time. There's no shame in it.
Host Alex Trebek finally read the answer, "At ____, soldier! Four letters."
"At ease, soldier," Matthews responded. "What is 'At ease, soldier?'"
Although the correct response was "Ease," host Trebek graciously accepted Matthews' offering.
As Trebek would for any contestant, according to the rules as I understand them.
A bit later, the answer to another question was, "Full name of the U2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960."
Matthews responded, "Who is Gary Powers?"
Trebek prompted, "We need the full name."
Again channeling Biden, Matthews actually just repeated the same thing saying, "Who is Gary Powers?"
Trebek said, "No," and the audience burst out laughing. The full name of course was Francis Gary Powers.
Is Matthews stupid for thinking of the pilot as Gary Powers rather than Francis Gary Powers? If so, then so was William F. Buckley, who referred to him as just Gary Powers in this 2001 column. So were the 1960s newspapers that frequently referred to him as just Gary Powers, particularly in headlines. People called him Gary Powers. If that's how Matthews thinks of him, it's not great Jeopardy, but it's no embarrassment. (Those of us who are younger than Matthews are probably more likely to know the full name, because it's the only way we've heard him identified.)
At the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher asks: "Who would do better on Jeopardy, Sarah Palin or Chris Matthews?"
Would someone please call Sarah Palin up right now and ask her who (Francis) Gary Powers was?
And can we please have an audio or video record of her answer?
I'd really enjoy that. Then maybe we can discuss Mr. Treacher's question.
UPDATE: I don't want to play "I'm rubber, you're glue," Jim Treacher, but really....
AND: Here's the clip with all of the allegedly awful Matthews moments. Apart from the opening stumble, is there anything here that would be unusual coming from a real Jeopardy contestant?