America the Touchy

I used to watch the old Dennis Miller Show when he was on HBO.  The guests were so so but the monologue was fun to watch and he always wrapped up the monologue with one of his “rants”.  The jokes seemed to have a theme and these rants would wrap up that theme in a pretty little bow.

This one below is my favorite.  I’ve quoted it in MANY places on the internet and real life.  It stems from my Grandfather (who was Polish) sitting down at our dinner table and rattling off 10 Pollock jokes in a row.  Previous to that, I was starting fights at school when people would tell them, defending my “heritage”.  Grandpa taught me in that string of jokes that you HAVE to be able to laugh at yourself, don’t take yourself seriously and DON’T let other people’s words control you like strings on a puppet.

Without further ado, here’s Dennis:

NOW I DON’T WANT TO GET OFF ON A RANT HERE, but that’s the problem with America. You can’t tease anybody. I read now that gay people don’t even want to be called gay anymore. They now wish to be referred to as Asian.  “Hey, what’s Dennis saying there, man? Is Dennis saying all Asians are gay? Is Dennis saying all gays are Asian?”  You know what I’m saying . . . all Asians are gay.

Now somewhere out there, there’s an Asian person taking pen to paper in protest. And I want you to hear me out . . . put the pen down, it was a joke. Walk away from it. Let it go. It never happened. It was a comment on how pathetically neurotic we’ve all become over our own little piece of turf. Obviously, you know you don’t believe that all Asians are gay. For Christ’s sake there’s a billion of you, I know somebody’s fucking out there, okay?

And yet this is what it’s come to. This is what it’s come to in contemporary America. Everybody’s broken off into these petulant little Travis Bickle tribes. Everybody walks the perimeter of their own damaged esteem ever-vigilant against an incursion by They, Them, The Other Guys. Everybody’s touchy and everybody’s encouraged to be touchy, everybody that is . . . except me: the White Anglo-Saxon male. I’m everybody’s asshole. Black people think I’m oppressive and physically deficient. Women think I’m oafish and horny. Gay people think I’m overly macho and latently homosexual. And Asians think I’m lazy and stupid. Hey, you think you’ve got an ax to grind? I’m fuckin’ Paul Bunyan over here, okay, folks?

And if I’m expected to be genial, there’s a principle of reciprocity here, I expect you to do the same. Why are we so hung up on the name calling? We are all such overgrown babies. As it turns out adult life is just a tall grade school:

“You suck,”

“With your mouth,”

“Hi, my mouth,”

“Hi, me.”

It’s embarrassing. I can’t believe it, the playground is way back there in the mist. We’ve got to let it go and get on with it. Why do you think we get hung up on all the little bullshit?

I have a theory: I think we’re far less evolved ourselves. I know we consider ourselves to be very nineties creatures, we take it all in, we deal with it . . . we put it back out. We are just the hippest little creatures, but you know something? I think in a deep gut level we’re scared shitless. We live in a madhouse and it’s brought into our living rooms on a day-to-day level via CNN. And we see things that we probably aren’t equipped to even vaguely get our head around.  Children in Somalia . . . the atrocities in Bosnia — Cal-a-frag-a-listic-ex-pee-al-a-docious. I think all this shit comes down and we think, “Christ, it really is out of control.”

So what we do is we take all the little bullshit things, we trump it up into something bigger than it actually is, something we can mold and handle, and in some vague pathetic way keep our feet tethered to the planet.

And that’s why this entire country has turned into Gladys Kravitz from “Bewitched.”

Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.


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