Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw
May 30, 2012
There was a time when a man wearing a bow tie was either a hopeless dork, a harmless eccentric or a college professor.
Or wearing a tuxedo, but we can skip over that.
More recently, however, “man in a bow tie” has become a synonym for “liar.”
Maybe I’m generalizing a bit too much, but the two most prominent public wearers of the bow are George Will and Tucker Carlson.
Actually, Tucker Carlson fits into the classic bow-tie category of “dork,” so let’s just take a look at Will.
I realize that Georgie Boy probably took to wearing the bow in hopes that it would give him a touch of distinction and feed into his personal fantasy that he really is – or ought to be – a college professor.
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(Gosh, if you think about it, that sort of makes him a Newt Gingrich wannabe.)
Don’t get me wrong – I know that Georgie is mighty smart.
I’d never call him stupid because he’s a lot smarter than I – so if he’s stupid, I’m a drooling idiot (which I well might be, in any case).
But if Bow Tie George is so smart, how do we explain the wildly inaccurate things he says?
If he’s not stupid, he’s dishonest.
Although there are more than a few examples of Mr. Bow Tie’s dishonesty, right now I’m thinking of his gleeful leap onto the “Obama’s a narcissist” bandwagon.
It’s a theme that a lot of conservatives have been pushing pretty hard: Obama’s an incompetent, petty narcissist who’s in way over his head.
Will – professor that he wants to be – cloaks his attack in the intellectual guise of a grammar discussion.
Not long ago, on a TV panel, George, flaunting his bow tie for the national audience he so dearly loves (not that he’s a narcissist or anything), said this: “If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually.”
Clever. And undeniably dickish.
But also dishonest.
No, I’m not referring to the obvious hyperbole of saying that Obama would “fall silent” without the first-person singular.
I’m talking about the clear implication that Obama wildly overuses those pronouns (you know, “I,” “me,” etc.), a clear sign that he is an egotist of massive proportions, a megalomaniacal narcissist.
The problem is that it’s flat-out false.
In fact, a few people who care about, you know, the truth have done word counts on Obama’s speeches and news conferences and compared them with other recent presidents – something Will and company neglected to do.
And that “truth patrol” discovered that Obama uses those ego-pronouns less than either of the Bushes, George H.W. or George W. Not to mention Bill Clinton – who actually finished behind both Bushes in the self-stroking sweepstakes (sounds obscene, doesn’t it?) but ahead of Obama.
But the real depth of Georgie’s casual dishonesty is revealed in this additional statement of his from that same TV panel: “Try to imagine Dwight Eisenhower talking about D-Day saying, ‘I did this. I decided this. I did this and then I did that.’ It’s inconceivable.”
Hmmm. A nifty, nasty zinger. Comparing Obama to a true, modest, admirable American hero and president.
Except that, again, those damned truth guys actually turned up an Eisenhower statement about D-Day.
It came in an interview on CBS, looking back at his decision to launch the D-Day Normandy invasion under chancy weather conditions.
Eisenhower (as reported in Life magazine), said, “I thought it was just the best of a bad bargain. I possibly sat silently just reviewing these things, maybe, I’d say 35 or 45 seconds. … Actually, I think after 30-45 seconds or something like that, I just got up and said, ‘Okay, we’ll go,’ and this room was emptied in two seconds.”
Later in the interview, Eisenhower said he took full responsibility for the decision, adding, “Because if it did fail, I was going into oblivion anyway, so I might as well take full responsibility.”
What was “inconceivable” to Georgie Bow Tie was actually exactly the case. Eisenhower said, “I did this. I decided this. I did this and then I did that.”
I … I … I … I …
Now maybe you could argue that it doesn’t make much difference if some rabidly partisan columnist stretches the truth – OK, make that “ignores the truth” – to support his side.
Being a rabidly partisan columnist myself, I understand how that could happen.
But George Will, with his perky little bow tie and “I’m so smart” professorial attitude, wants to pretend he’s a creature who exists on a higher plane than we mere rabble.
And, more to the point, Georgie’s lies feed into an obscene avalanche of dim-witted statements, like the one I heard from a caller to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show a couple of weeks ago.
This guy, who claimed to have some level of official standing in the world of psychology, claimed that Obama was a “clinical sociopath,” adding, “what we used to call a psychopath.”
Then he diagnosed the president as having a clear case of “clinical narcissism.”
And his evidence for that diagnosis? I swear this is (pretty much) what he said: “He flies all over the world in his private jet, holding meetings with important people, world leaders. Pure narcissism.”
Admittedly, even Limbaugh gagged at that one. But still, that’s the kind of nonsense that flourishes along with the rank dishonesty of that liar in a bow tie.
Although – time out – I have to give Georgie credit for calling Donald Trump a “bloviating ignoramus.” And he added, “Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low, and you can still intrude into American politics.”
That prompted Trump to fire back, “George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time.”
Fun for the whole family.
Anyway, I guess we can say that Mr. Bow Tie is not always a liar.
Just, unfortunately, way too often.
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