One recent Sunday night, I fell into this rabbit hole about a quote attributed to the late comedian George Carlin. “Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.” Did he actually say it, or not? I’m still unsure, though I tend to lean against it.
Fascism is a very specific word. It’s not one that I’d think Carlin, who used the language quite deliberately, would throw around in such a casual manner.
More broadly, I hate it when people misattribute quotes to people who did not actually say them. There was this curmudgeon on the CBS News show 60 Minutes named Andy Rooney, who was born in Albany, NY. For years, including for three or four years after his death in 2011, there were Internet memes crediting some damn saying or other to him.
The exception to my general disdain is the Abraham Lincoln quote about the Internet. There are several variations on it, actually, but the one pictured is my favorite.
All of this to say…
I hereby make the request that you would Ask Roger Anything. It could be about misattributed quotes, political incorrectness, or why it was really Benjamin Franklin who invented the Internet. He did, didn’t he? Or you can ask about anything your heart desires to know, as long as it doesn’t involve calculus or Bob Dylan’s new unlisted phone number.
Per usual, I shall answer your fine queries, generally within two fortnights hence. Please leave your questions, suggestions, and interpolations in the comments section of the approximate blog, or on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, for reasons obscure, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, sure, why not? But you’ve got to tell me that. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll attribute the queries to you.
A former contestant on 16 and Pregnant (that’s a show?) recently passed away.
For the longest time, I have been fascinated by what people are considered to be famous. The late Andy Rooney, who was best known for his commentary on the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011, did a special around 1979, where he mused who was noteworthy. To him, Paul McCartney was famous, but Michael Jackson was not. Of course, this was before the album Thriller came out; I suspect Rooney would have altered his opinion.
In the days prior to 157 cable channel, it was pretty easy in the United States to ascertain that whoever was on national television had a modicum of fame. That is no longer the case. A former contestant on 16 and Pregnant (that’s a show?) recently passed away, and it was reported in my local paper; of course, I never heard of her.
There’s a database called Datasets I belong to, and it put out, at the end of this past year, an international list of “celebrity deaths”. The roster for April 11, 2016 included:
Ed Snider, 83 – American sports executive (Comcast Spectacor, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers)
Doug Banks, 57 – American radio personality (The Doug Banks Radio Show)
João Carvalho, 28 – Portuguese mixed martial arts fighter
Hokie Gajan, 56 – American football player and broadcaster (New Orleans Saints)
Veenu Paliwal, 44 – Indian motorcyclist
Alan Hurd, 78 – English cricketer.
Alvin Lubis, 37 – Indonesian musician.
Miss Shangay Lily, 53 – Spanish drag queen.
Steve Quinn, 64 – British rugby league player (York, Featherstone)
Albert Filozov, 78 – Russian actor.
Emile Ford, 78 – Saint Lucian singer (“What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?”) and sound engineer.
Édgar Perea, 81 – Colombian politician and football commentator.
Tony Ayers, 82 – Australian public servant.
Peter J. Jannetta, 84 – American neurosurgeon (Allegheny General Hospital).
Huntly D. Millar, 88 – Canadian medical technology executive.
Yura Halim, 92 – Bruneian politician, Chief Minister (1967–1972) and lyricist (national anthem)
Richard Ransom, 96 – American businessman (Hickory Farms).
Anne Gould Hauberg, 98 – American arts patron, founder of the Pilchuck Glass School
Ruth Gilbert, 99 – New Zealand poet.2016-04-11
Dame Marion Kettlewell, 102 – British naval officer, Director of the Wrens (1966–1970)
Mohsen Gheytaslou, 25–26 – Iranian soldier (65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade).
A. R. Surendran, no data – Sri Lankan lawyer
Tibor Ordina, 45 – Hungarian track and field athlete
I know NONE of these 23 people, save for Ford, who I heard of only vaguely. I did read Ransom’s obit. Let’s try February 13.
Bořek Šípek, 66 – Czech architect and designer
Flakey Dove, 30 – British racehorse, winner of the 1994 Champion Hurdle
Trifon Ivanov, 50 – Bulgarian footballer (national team)
Slobodan Santrač, 69 – Serbian football player (Yugoslavia) and manager
Barry Jones, 74 – New Zealand Roman Catholic prelate
Giorgio Rossano, 76 – Italian footballer.
Antonin Scalia, 79 – American judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (since 1986)
Nathan Barksdale, 54 – American heroin dealer, dramatized in The Wire
Bud Webster, 63 – American science fiction and fantasy writer.
Angela Bairstow, 73 – English badminton player.
Robin Ghosh, 76 – Bangladeshi composer.
Avigdor Ben-Gal, 79 – Israeli general, GOC Northern Command (1977–1981)
Yvonne Barr, 83 – Irish virologist, discovered Epstein–Barr virus
O. N. V. Kurup, 84 – Indian poet, recipient of the Jnanpith Award (2007)
Mike Shepherdson, 85 – Malaysian Olympic hockey player (1956) and cricketer (national team).
Edward J. McCluskey, 86 – American electrical engineer.
Sir Christopher Zeeman, 91 – British mathematician.
Rafael Moreno Valle, 98 – Mexican military physician and politician, Governor of Puebla (1969–1972), Secretary of Health (1964–1968).
Of the 17 people, and one horse, listed, the only one I had unequivocally heard of was Scalia, the SCOTUS justice whose vacancy President Obama was not allowed to fill. I do remember reading the obituaries of Ghosh and Zeeman.
I thought to write this when Zsa Zsa Gabor died in 2016. While she was in some 30 movies, she was most famous for being famous, a precursor to Paris Hilton or those darn Kardashians.
Rooney has made a number of unfounded comments about government and politics that made me grimace.
There was a time when I used to actually enjoy Andy Rooney, the long-time 60 Minutes commentator who retired in October 2011, and died less than a month later. It was even before I knew who he was. I remember watching a series of CBS News specials called ‘Of Black America’, back in the days when network television would/could broadcast such things, and as it turns out, Rooney wrote two of them. He also penned ‘Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed’, which won him his first Emmy.
Then he did a bunch of quirky shows in the 1970s and early 1980s, such as ‘Andy Rooney Takes Off’, ‘Mr. Rooney Goes to Work’, ‘Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner’, and the Peabody Award-winning ‘Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington’, which Mark Evanier linked to.
When he got his regular gig on 60 Minutes in 1978, he was seldom profound but often entertaining enough. But even then, he played the part of the crotchety old man. I always remember this segment, pre-Thriller, of who was famous. Paul McCartney was famous; Michael Jackson was not, even though he had led the Jackson 5ive and had a hit album in Off the Wall. He never, in my recollection, gave contemporary music any credence.
Still, his observation about fame has stuck with me. Who IS famous, these days? Media being as diffused as it is, a Real Housewife of Schenectady might be well known in certain circles but totally invisible by lots of others.
In the last decade, Rooney has made a number of unfounded comments about government and politics that made me grimace. A person who read as many newspapers as he purported to peruse would have known some of the things he proudly announced he didn’t know. I kvetched about him in this blogpost here over an ill-informed observation about the Census.