Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE A UNORIGINAL FLUFF-FOCUSED HACK, AT LEAST BE A WELL-INFORMED UNORIGINAL FLUFF-FOCUSED HACK

Today, Frank Bruni of The New York Times gives us his version of every hand-wringing column ever written about presidential candidates' forays into pop culture:
To the clamor for administration records concerning embassy security, I’d like to add my own request. I hereby subpoena President Obama's iPod.

Nicki Minaj? For real? On Friday the president claimed that her voice was one of those occasionally streaming through his ear buds....

This presidential election will go down as the one in which the pop-culture pander reached its ludicrous apotheosis...

Things like Romney's swoon for Snooki, whose "spark-plug personality" he praised....

Politicians once labored to affirm their seriousness, ticking off the tomes they'd read. Now they're as likely to assert their silliness, tallying up the stars they ogle....

I blame Bill Clinton, who toted his saxophone onto "The Arsenio Hall Show," an exhibitionist about his embouchure....
You've probably read this same column a dozen times, in slightly different words, by as dozen different pundits. But Bruni can't even hack properly -- if he's going to whine about this sort of thing, he should at least look back further than Clinton on Arsenio. Or does he not even know that there were presidential pop-culture moments before 1992?

Here's the standard list, Frank: Nixon on Laugh-In in 1968 saying, "Sock it to me?" Jimmy Carter praising Bob Dylan and various Southern rockers. Jerry Brown hanging with Linda Ronstadt. And, of course, Ron and Nancy Reagan: Nancy sitting on Mr. T's lap, Ronnie presenting an award to Michael Jackson (said the president: "Well, isn't this a thriller"), Nancy appearing on Diff'rent Strokes, and Reagan saying things like this:
And the way I see it, if our current tax structure were a TV show, it would either be "Foul-ups, Bleeps, and Blunders," or "Gimme a Break." If it were a record album, it would be "Gimme Shelter." If it were a movie, it would be "Revenge of the Nerds" or maybe "Take the Money and Run." And if the IRS, Internal Revenue Service, ever wants a theme song, maybe they'll get Sting to do, "Every breath you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you."
Frank, I don't expect you to be the kind of pundit who can toss off a column about the Teapot Dome scandal or Federalist No. 10, but I at least thought you could write a column like this properly. If you're can't even pull off this kind of hackwork off the top of your head, at least do your hack homework.

3 comments:

BH said...

Better to listen to Nicki Minaj (whoever the hell she is) than to read Frank Bruni, sez I.

Victor said...

No one in their right mind would trade draft choices for a hack like Bruni.

But can't the NY Times eat the remainder of his contract, and trade him for a couple of pundits to be named later?
Or a water-cooler boy? Ooops, those a so passe. Ok - water bottle boy.

Jayzoos H. Keerist making John the Baptist look like The Saviour - who thought the NY Times first openly gay columnist would make Andrew Sullivan look like the great Russel Baker?

Peter Janovsky said...

Ugh.

Bruni's dishonesty about the first Bush/Gore debate set the narrative the helped elect Bush. He is one of the Hackiest of the Hackest.