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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ben Stein's Greatest Hit(ler)s

a.k.a. "Stalin! Stalin!" Stallin'

UPDATED: I'm not sure if these are trolls, but commenters are congratulating Ben Stein for "leading people back to Christ" with his film. Awkward! Ben Stein is Jewish! Hello!

This is just like what happened during Shabbos, when some lil’ telemarker from Missouri (I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I could hear her all the way from the living room) called and fell silent when my friend informed her of the Sabbath and said he didn’t want to talk right now. "Oh, she's never heard of it," he informed me with a dismissive wave of his hand. Yeah, we atheists sure are close-minded. *eyeroll*


At dinner with friends over the weekend (my first Shabbos), I told them about Ben Stein’s upcoming “documentary,” Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Their jaws dropped. (Yeah, I still can’t get over it, either.)

I have since learned that in the 1990s Ben Stein penned an introduction to one of those lurid “Bill Clinton had people killed in Arkanasa” screeds. My jaw dropped again.

Maybe he penned it as a joke, giving absurd rein to his well-known hatred of Bill Clinton but counting on the fact that it would never be widely read?

I have been searching for that book, without success so far. But while searching I’ve found a lot of other pieces penned by Ben Stein. And my jaw dropped again again.

Ben Stein claimed that Clinton wouldn’t leave office in 2000, in defiance of the Constitution. But maybe he was joking.

Q: The post-election spirit of bipartisanship is vanishing fast. How bad will things get? Do you see President Clinton leaving office under a cloud of scandal?

A: No, I worry about whether he will leave office when he's supposed to. He has shown such extraordinary contempt for the Constitution that I question whether he believes it applies to him. Q: Seriously? How would Clinton extend his term? A: He'd start by convening a task force to study repeal of the 22d Amendment. I don't consider that far-fetched in the slightest, because after Nixon was re-elected in 1972, he convened an informal group to study the issue. Q: Whom might Clinton appoint to tell him, ''Hey, good idea''? A: The President has a lot of friends. Now that he's won, he has even more on CNBC.

Har-de-har, must be a joke.

Ben Stein on the Mark Foley scandal: “Misguided” Republican with thing for boys – who cares? What about Bill Clinton having consentual sex with an adult female? *Gasp*

If there were an Academy Award for Hypocrisy, the surefire favorite for 2006 would be the Democratic Party. Just two recent items make the decision a virtual certainty:

The Representative Foley "scandal" is really worthy of a whole book on hypocrisy. On the one hand, we have a poor misguided Republican man who had a romantic thing for young boys. He sent them suggestive e-mail. I agree, that's not great. On the other hand, we have a Democratic party that worships ( not likes, WORSHIPS ) a man named Bill Clinton who did not send suggestive e-mails as far as we know, but who had a barely legal intern give him oral sex kneeling under his desk in the Oval Office while he talked on the phone to a Congressional Committee Chairman, took great pleasure in putting a cigar in her orifice and then smelling it and tasting it, and having her fellate him when in the sacred seat of power of the world's leading Republic. And the Democrats cheer themselves hoarse for him. His wife has a great shot at being our next President.

Original link here.

Huh? He's got to be joking.

In 1987, Ben Stein said that all Presidental candidates should be asked if they are homosexuals. In 1988, Ben Stein said that any Republican Vice-President chasing tail was no one’s business.

Long before he became a Comedy Central game show host, Ben Stein was a prominent conservative media critic. On CNN's Crossfire in 1987, Stein praised the news media's exposure of extramarital activity involving then-Democratic presidential frontrunner Gary Hart as "one of the highest moments of the press's utility."

CROSSFIRE HOST: "How far would you have the press go? Would you say that a candidate should be asked if he's ever had a homosexual experience?"

BEN STEIN: "Absolutely, as far as I'm concerned. Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely."

Stein appeared again on Crossfire a year later, as reporters were pursuing an alleged dalliance between vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle and a female lobbyist. With a Republican being probed, Stein remained "absolute" in his convictions, only they'd rotated precisely180 degrees.

CROSSFIRE HOST: Do you think the media was fair in going after Senator Quayle on the subject of Paula Parkinson?

BEN STEIN: Absolutely not. I think that if they started going after all the presidential candidates on the subject of their sex lives, they could really talk about very little else. I think it's a very dangerous subject for the Democrats to open, or for anyone to open, and it's a complete irrelevancy as well.

Well, it’s too late now Ben, because your man Guiliani dropped out. Joke's on you.

Ben Stein gives Arianna Huffington the finger. (But I get damned tired of the "Great role model!" riposte, I must say. Does everything an adult does have to be a role model for children? Lock me up, then!)

Ben Stein thinks Clinton murdered people in Iraq to distract from the impeachment.

BS: Because... Well, I can't just say "most," because there are so many things. He's a liar. He lied repeatedly and set a very bad example for truth-telling for children. It's just become a joke among my son and friends of his generation that when you lie, you can say, "Why? The president does it; why can't we do it?" It's become commonplace for them to do that. I see it and hear it all the time. Second, he has disgraced the office, which is a great and noble office. Third, he has not accomplished anything. Nixon, you might say, did many of the same bad things Clinton did, and I guess that's true. He did. But he also did many great things, and you can't point to any great things that Clinton has done. Also, and this is going to be in my column in The Spectator but I'll let you in on it, I think he's a murderer. I think he murdered those people in Iraq to divert attention from his political problems. I don't think that all those people in Iraq needed to die. At least, certainly not when they did. He just killed them to distract people from the impeachment, and that's murder. If he'd really meant to go in there and take out Saddam Hussein and create a safer Middle East, a peaceful Middle East, that's one thing. But it was all just cosmetics to show off his toughness. Everyone says, "Oh, it's Wag The Dog." It isn't Wag The Dog, because nobody got killed in Wag The Dog. In this sad story, a lot of people got killed. Those Iraqi soldiers who were there, they don't necessarily deserve to die just because they're wearing an Iraqi uniform. They're not wearing it voluntarily.

I guess they are now.

Ben Stein on MSNBC: “Horrible, Stalinesque persecution, not prosecution, of Scooter Libby,” and Patrick Fitzgerald is a “thug.” (With video.) In the words of Dan Quayle, he doesn't look like a happy camper who thinks, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind." He doesn't seem to be joking. In fact, he seems to be losing his mind. (And did he say the word "Stalinesque" again? Let's play that video back.)

Ben Stein plays Freud:

I was reading Newsweek when I hit bottom. Bug-eyed and salivating with unseemly cravings, I was devouring last week's issue. I'd plowed through six major articles and five sidebars on the scandal and then I started reading a 12th piece -- "Clinton on the Couch" by Jonathan Alter. It was the kind of idiotic journalistic psychoanalysis that rational readers instinctively avoid, but I was no longer rational. I got to the third paragraph, where Alter theorized that Clinton's alleged womanizing stems from his childhood pudginess. To buttress this dubious claim, Alter quoted an expert. "He is remedying an early deficit in female attention," the expert said. "Like all childhood deficits, it can never be filled."

Who was this psychological savant? Alter identified him as "Ben Stein, the writer-actor-armchair shrink." Good Lord, I thought, he means Ben Stein, the guy who played the soporific teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," the guy who hosts a game show called "Win Ben Stein's Money," the guy who writes a hideously narcissistic column for the American Spectator. Who died and made him Freud?

Peter Carlson, “Monthly Cure for a Scandal Overdose,” The Washington Post, 2/3/1998.

It seems so innocent now, all that crap about Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Today, Ben Stein thinks he's John the Baptist and that he's found God in Godwin's Law.

Straight propaganda, to be sure. But again, if Michael Moore or Robert Greenwald can do it, why not Ben Stein?

It's a movie that uses animation, archival documentary footage, interviews with outraged people of science who want ID on the table, and "atheists" who see that as a step backward to make its case.

It just isn't particularly funny. Or the least bit convincing.

I lost track of the number of times Stalin's image hit the screen, and in the ways the movie equated science with Darwinism with atheism with Hitler or Stalin. Subtle, it's not.

Stein (he co-wrote it) builds his movie on classic Big Tobacco Tactics. Create just a sliver of doubt about evolution by pitching this argument in terms of academic freedom. "Legitimate" learned scientists are being silenced by the Darwinian cabal of thought police. Says Stein.

He uses anecdotes from a few Fox-over-publicized cases of people who claim to have lost tenure/their jobs/their position in the scientific world for daring to suggest the hand of a supernatural being in the creation of life. He hasn't a scintilla of proof of, well, anything. Then he has the audacity to whine, "Where's the data" when questioning cellular biologists and other real scientists who build their lives around doubt, and finding testable, legitimate answers to those doubts. Where's YOUR data, Ben?

Speaking of which, I am trying to independently confirm these another story – a rumor, basically, that when Ben Stein’s sister died, he received a letter of sympathy from Bill Clinton and reacted with venom, calling Clinton a "rapist." Actually, I don't know if this is true, but Stein has called Tom Delay "morally probably the highest level public servant I have ever met."

Hitler, Hitler, Hitler. Stalin, Stalin, Stalin. So what's stallin' the release of this film? Anyone?

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Blogger Samuel Brainsample said...

Excellent post. I think that I've learned a lot.

February 05, 2008 12:18 PM  
Blogger Samuel Brainsample said...

Oh, and he compared Larry Craig's arrest to Nazi Gestapo techniques: "This is, as I said, Gestapo tactics, Gestapo, Gestapo, Gestapo. It's not America."

February 05, 2008 12:21 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Well, yes, we’re all perfectly aware of that up here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. ;-) But I don’t have a problem with what Larry Craig did – I have a problem with the fact that he said he never did it, while engaging the ACLU to defend him to doing what he says he didn’t do (and I agree with the ACLU defending him for what he did/didn’t do!).

I mean, GO DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. Maybe not in a public airport restroom, but if he wasn’t so ashamed of what he was, he could DO IT ELSEWHERE with no cops around.

And as for Ben Stein, well, buck up Ben, and just remember that Dan Quayle said, “I have made good judgements in the future,” and you can, too!

February 05, 2008 2:16 PM  
Blogger King Aardvark said...

I miss Bill Clinton. Always good for a laugh, but not in the depressing way that W is.

As for Stein, he's closing in on Ann Coulter territory these days (though I'd hate to see Coulter as a game show host).

February 05, 2008 3:46 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

You kidding? I miss Whitewater. As far as Democrats/scientists/elitists/atheists/whoever being accused of not-crime, that took the cake. I miss Ken Starr, too. Ken Starr! Where’s he these days? What short memories Americans have. Infamy is so fleeting! :-D

Oh, well. The future will be better tomorrow.

February 05, 2008 4:33 PM  

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