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Burt Prelutsky / Jun. 20, 2020

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

That was the title of a terrible 1963 movie that thought that casting the likes of Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Dick Shawn, Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters, would be enough to turn a stale script into what the movie ads used to call a laff riot.

That was the title of a terrible 1963 movie that thought that casting the likes of Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Milton Berle, Dick Shawn, Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters, would be enough to turn a stale script into what the movie ads used to call a laff riot.

Even if the script hadn’t been a mishmash of endless chases, it was doomed when producer Stanley Kramer decided to also direct it.

Kramer was a man who took himself far too seriously and was usually attracted to serious material that contained heavy-handed messages that could serve as the sort of bromides one associates with UNICEF Christmas cards dealing with war, brotherhood and tolerance. In short, the kind of message movies about which Sam Goldwyn allegedly said: “Next time, use Western Union.”

Why Kramer suddenly decided he was just the person to direct a madcap movie is anyone’s guess. Sheer unadulterated ego, I assume. I mean, if he knew anything at all about comedy, he would never have made one that was even longer than his title. It would be a lie to say the movie ran three hours and twenty-five minutes. When a movie is that long, it doesn’t run; it lumbers, limps and stumbles, until it finally just plops face down in the dirt at about the 90 minute mark.

The fact is that Charlie Chaplin couldn’t have carried off a 3½ hour comedy. Neither could Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd or Steve Martin. Only someone with an ego the size of Mt. Everest would have even considered such a mad, mad, mad, mad undertaking.

In most cases, this desire that serious directors occasionally get to direct a comedy or a musical is simply a form of temporary insanity. How else to explain Francis Ford (“The Godfather,” “Apocalypse Now”) Coppola directing “Finian’s Rainbow” or John (“The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) Huston taking on “Annie”?

Having said all that, what we are all experiencing these days is surely one form of madness piled on other examples of mental illness.

First, we had the experts telling us lies about the seriousness of the coronavirus and about the best ways of dealing with it, followed by others telling us that riots and pillaging were actually demonstrations of conscience, the sort of thing the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment and referred to peaceful assembly.

I, for one, am sick and tired of listening to experts. They not only all seem to have an agenda, but it’s an agenda that always seem to give them more power over me and gives me less.

The experts said that two million Americans were going to die of China’s latest gift to the world. Thank God it was only one-twentieth that deadly.

Another group of experts predicted the economy would lose eight or nine million jobs in May. Instead, it added 2.5 million. Close, as they say, while laughing up their sleeve, but no cigar.

Ronald Reagan once said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Perhaps it’s time to revise that to “I’m an expert and you better listen to me.”

When America got the good news about the 2.5 million jobs, Sen. Schumer warned the President not to take a victory lap because unemployment was still a problem for black people.

I’m like to reassure Schumer that things aren’t really as bleak for black people as he makes out. The problem is that some jobs simply don’t appear in Labor Department reports.

For example, I’m sure that he wasn’t thinking about the thousands of blacks being paid by George Soros under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

I’m equally certain Schumer isn’t counting the thousands of young blacks who, now that the shutdown is finally ending, are back on the street corners in their brand spanking new sneakers peddling drugs.

Hillary Clinton used to call Conservatives deplorables. These days, Joe Biden refers to us as bad people. Being a plagiarist at heart, Biden’s first instinct was to call us deplorables, too, but he found he couldn’t handle all those damn syllables.

The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser [Charles Dickens couldn’t have come up with a better last name for this bitch of a mayor] took it upon herself to change a street name to Black Lives Matter Plaza and to have painted in large yellow letters on a street in the nation’s capital BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, she announced that she would not allow members of the U.S. military to bivouac in her city, evicting 1200 members of the National Guard from a hotel, many of whom were sleeping after back-to-back 12-hour deployments, trying to protect the decent citizens of D.C. from the mob.

I long ago gave up any hope of appearing on a Fox panel, but that doesn’t mean I don’t stew a little bit when I regularly see a dullard like Harold Ford, a former Tennessee congressman, popping up on Bret Baier’s “Special Report.”

Mr. Ford is a black man who looks and sounds as white as Bret Baier, so he doesn’t serve the same token purpose as Juan Williams, but he is equally dumb. Recently, when the panel was discussing the memorial service for George Floyd, Ford felt compelled to pronounce Al Sharpton a very decent man.

That alone should have gotten him bounced off Fox and right into a cushy job at MSNBC.

Not since Hitler’s Aryan Youth and Stalin’s bestowing medals on youngsters betraying their parents as enemies of the state have I seen anything quite as hideous as the video selfies that adolescents are posting on Facebook. There are teenagers, snarling, tears of anger streaming down their faces, denouncing their parents for not paying homage to George Floyd and the BLM.

It’s repulsive but not entirely unexpected. These kids have been brainwashed in their schools and by the media into believing that blacks are all wonderful people who, in a just world, would be running America if not for white racists.

It never occurs to them or to far too many blacks that the only things holding back black people in America is sloth and lack of character. Were it not for their general reluctance to get a meaningful education, get a job and wait to get married before reproducing, America’s blacks could be transformed back to the responsible people they were before Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats turned the majority of them into parasites; bitter, dependent and totally self-absorbed.

Frankly, I don’t know why the typical Republican’s response to a liberal’s calling ours a racist society is denial instead of stating it’s true, and that it’s resentful black people who have made it so.

Penny Alfonso sent me a meme that reads: “Due to the virus all riots need to be by mail. Ship a brick through UPS, FedEx or USPS, and the driver will throw it through a window of your choice. We’re in this together.”

In the meantime, Nancy Pelosi used her female prerogative to change her mind in a matter of a few short weeks. In May, she declared we need nation-wide mail-in voting because people won’t be able to leave their homes in November.

In June, she said: “We encourage everyone to get out and exercise their right to protest.”

I know what some of you are saying, but I insist she is, too, a female. A nasty one, I grant, but a female all the same.

While reading Alexander McCall Smith’s “The Quiet Side of Passion,” I came across an explanation for the plethora of typos you often find in my article.

His protagonist is a woman named Isabel Dalhousie is a Scot who edits a monthly journal dealing with ethics as they apply to all aspects of our lives.

At the moment, she is having a tough time juggling the various time-consuming parts of her life, which involve a husband, two young children, a demanding niece and the journal. She is considering the pluses and minuses of hiring an assistant to at least take the proofreading of the journal off her hands, as it is the part of the job she dislikes the most.

When her husband suggest she should seek help, she finds herself thinking about why she regarded the task of proof-reading as she did: “She disliked the job intensely because her mind kept wandering as she read. Being a proofreader and being a philosopher were fundamentally incompatible.”

Exactly. Throw in the part about being a lousy typist and it’s my story, exactly.

A few people sent me a meme of a cranky-looking old guy driving a car, announcing: “I never use turn signals. It’s nobody else’s business where I’m going.”

Spoken like a true fellow philosopher.

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