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Burt Prelutsky / Aug. 24, 2020

A Pop Quiz

Dan Parker is one of my subscribers who seems to think I don't work hard enough, so he will occasionally send along questions for me to ponder.

Dan Parker is one of my subscribers who seems to think I don’t work hard enough, so he will occasionally send along questions for me to ponder.

Since it doesn’t seem to be fair to play favorites, I’ll share our most recent exchange. He opened with “Upon what basis do you determine why you vote for one side and against the other?”

“I’m glad you asked ‘side’ and not ‘individual’ because it always annoys me when people say they vote for the candidate when everyone knows that if you elect a Democrat to Congress, he or she will take his or her marching orders from either Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. But to answer your question, I vote for the side that defends the Constitution or at least I try. It’s not always possible because although the person I vote for is invariably a Republican, he or she is not always a Conservative. I comfort myself by recognizing that at least I’m not voting for someone who lies and who knows he or she is lying, and who will use every lousy trick in the book in pursuit of power, including committing voter fraud, opposing photo IDs and pandering to Antifa and the BLM mob.”

Dan: “Do you vote pragmatically?”

Burt: “Hardly. I live in California, where the people I vote for, aside from the occasional president, invariably lose.”

Dan: “How do you define what is good versus bad for the nation?”

Burt: “What is good is whatever preserves the Republic and the Constitution; what is bad is whatever empowers mobs; the Silicon Valley billionaires; globalists like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michel Bloomberg and George Soros; and the pathetic likes of Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, A O-C, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.”

Dan: “Perhaps those who believe Socialism is better than Capitalism are sincere. What makes them right or wrong?”

Burt: “The easy answer is that history proves them wrong. Socialism has been tried numerous times in different places on earth and it always winds up enslaving people and destroying the nation’s economy. As for sincerity, it’s an over-rated commodity. Every dictator is sincere. He sincerely wants to dominate the people. Socialism isn’t just evil; it’s nonsensical. It flies in the face of logic and reason. It is inbred in humans to wish to succeed to the best of their ability, not to share the fruits of their honest labor with those who barely labor or labor not at all. Which is what welfare is. And although it purports to be compassionate, it harms those who receive it and those who are forced to provide for people who are neither their family nor their friends. Charitable giving is a good thing; but welfare involves money taken by coercion from one group of people and given to another for no other reason than to ensure political fealty.”


Someone ignored my prohibition to people sending me videos that didn’t involve dogs. On this one occasion, I was glad someone risked my righteous anger. It was a video of a young girl who had a prosthetic leg and was about to receive a specially-made doll that had a prosthetic leg. Her rapture as she opened the box was the picture of absolute joy. She couldn’t stop crying as she hugged the doll and repeating “She’s just like me.”

It occurred to me that anyone who saw those few minutes and wasn’t moved was either a sociopath or had had his or her tear ducts surgically removed.

I shared the video with a few friends. One of whom, a woman, shared the fact that as a child she had red hair, freckles and had to wear glasses. She was teased unmercifully and, as a result, experienced a similar reaction when her mother gave her a doll that had red hair, freckles and wore glasses.

It made me wonder what sort of people teasers grow up to be, and then the answer came to me: Democrats.

After all, Democrats believe in forming mobs and bullying people so long as they’re on the side with greater numbers. And if their victim strikes back in self-defense, Democrats claim victimhood, insisting they’re being bullied because they’re black, gay, illegal aliens, women or transgenders.


Someone thought I might reconsider attacking Rep. Tammy Duckworth, not because she is half-Thai, but because as a helicopter pilot, she suffered the loss of her legs in Iraq.

I replied that I could honor and respect her sacrifice without turning her into a sacred cow. “Once she entered politics, it was game on. With or without legs, she’s no better than Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Maxine Waters, just another liberal taking orders from Nancy Pelosi. Heck, you wouldn’t expect me to lay off Lori Lightfoot, Jenny Durkan or Kamala Harris, so why should Duckworth, who clearly used her disabilities to get elected to a very cushy job, be off-limits?”


Donald Trump reminds me of my friend, magician extraordinaire, Steve Ralston. He, too, is a master of misdirection.

In Steve’s case, he’s palming cards and making coins disappear in mid-air while you’re concentrating on his patter. Trump’s style of magic takes the form of setting the media’s collective hair on fire with some silly tweet while simultaneously negotiating a historical peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

It was truly a ta-da moment that caught the flat-headed members of the White House press corps flat-footed.


Long ago, I decided that the worst thing about actual racists, as opposed to those who are labeled racists these days by the media, members of Congress and the racist likes of Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, is that they’re so damn lazy. I always felt that if you just spent a little time digging, you’d find a far better, more socially acceptable, reason than his color to despise someone.


I’m someone who makes no bones about it: If a movie doesn’t have a happy ending, I’m sorry I wasted my time watching it.

The problem for me is that I don’t always agree about what constitutes a happy ending. This is particularly the case in romances when I don’t find the characters compatible.

While pondering over this matter, I thought of five movies where I thought the characters would be happier if in the end they went their separate ways.

Those movies were “Two for the Road” (Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney), “The Graduate” (Katharine Ross, Dustin Hoffman), “Love in the Afternoon” (Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper), “When Harry Met Sally” (Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal), “My Fair Lady” (Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison). The first thing to hit me is that poor Audrey Hepburn really had to suffer for her art.

In “Road,” the problem is that the couple, once they were married, spent most of their time fighting and committing adultery. So the reconciliation at the end made no sense except to the degree that the demands of romantic comedies dictated a fade out on a kiss.

In “The Graduate,” Dustin Hoffman had had an affair with his new bride’s mother (Anne Bancroft). Anyone who thinks that marriage would survive a second chorus of “Mrs. Robinson” is kidding himself.

In “Love in the Afternoon,” Gary Cooper was not only 28 years older than Ms. Hepburn, but he looked 78 years older. Billy Wilder had told me that he tried to get Cary Grant for the role but was turned down. He once told me: “I think Mr. Grant was scared off by my accent.”

Even though Grant was only three years younger than Cooper, he aged much better, as he proved when he starred opposite Ms. Hepburn in “Charade.”

The problem with “Harry Met Sally” was Billy Crystal’s character. He seemed so shallow and self-indulgent that I kept wanting to warn Meg Ryan that he wasn’t good enough for her.

It wasn’t just the age difference that presented the problem with Hepburn and Harrison; it was the nature of the characters. Even if Professor Higgins had grown accustomed to Eliza Doolittle’s face, I couldn’t picture the aged bachelor putting up with the ex-flower girl for long. I can just picture her after six months or so whining that he’s always locked up in his den studying the syntax of the Watusis and demanding to know why he was no longer taking her to balls so she could show off her new dress or to the Royal Ascot to bet on the horses.

Let’s face it, those storybook happily-ever-after’s are hard enough to come by in real life when couples seem well-suited.

There is one other example I could add, but it’s an actor, not a movie. In every movie Chevy Chase ever starred in, as a member of the audience, I wound up feeling like a doting father who should be alerting his daughter (Goldie Hawn, Beverly D'Angelo, Patti D'Arbanville, Jane Seymour, Sigourney Weaver) to the fact that her boyfriend is a world-class schmuck.

If ever someone was born to be the guy who loses the girl in the last reel, it’s the smarmy, arrogant, Chase.

Looking back on his career, I can only attribute his success as a leading man to the fact that he was tall and had a cleft in his chin and, I suppose, to the fact that some people actually thought he was as charming, amusing and adorable, as he obviously thought he was.

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