The Last Refuge of Goofy

The Wall Street Journal thing was the last straw. Mammon’s house journal had let the piss-ant drop a rant on a literary lion. God knows, Norman Mailer might have deserved once to be bitch-slapped by Vidal, stiffed by Lowell, a reticent look of dismay from Updike, but Dennis Miller? What person in his right mind would ever take shit from a goofball like that? Up until the flit did that, I hadn’t realized the depths of his recklessness.

An unread newspaper transcript from one of the newly released Army-McCarthy Hearings tapes had lay astrew on my kitchen coffee table for days. By nightfall, it had sparked my Burmese twelve-year old Debonnaire’s interest. She’d ripped it to shreds. It was unreadable. Joe McCarthy had always intrigued me, so gifted a demagogue, so sad a man. And, now, I’d never know the secrets of his last, pitiful hurrah. The little bitch had seen to that. Her socialist leanings had all ben a ruse. either, I lit up a Kool. Suddenly from nowhere- I heard a voice: Have you no decency, Sir? At long last, have you no decency? Luckily, I don’t spook easy. The Ghost of Joe Welch was in the room. Incredible! Joe Welch, the Army’s lawyer whose memorable rebuke had finished McCarthy for good- was paying a ghostly visitation. But what would Joe Welch’s ghost want with me? What the hell had I done? And, then- flash! I got it:

Dennis Miller.

It wasn’t me Welch was after, it was Miller. Where was his decency? Sure, that’s why Welch’s ghost had slipped in. Welch knew a louche jester is hardly a comparable figure to the most powerful junior Senator in American history. Hardly worth the trouble. But, Dennis Miller had become so thorougly indecent he was putting the country at risk. Aided and abetted by a media that was playing along, just as they’d done in the Red Scare years. That’s the kind of thing a man like Welch would see right off. And, being the kind of man he was, it would stir up a hornet’s nest with Joe Welch. He wanted to get his message out, and I was glad to oblige:

Once the country gives a forum to an opportunistic deceiver, there’s no telling the damage to America it could cause.

But, it’d be only fair to let Mailer take the first crack. A goofball comic had dissed him in a national publication. After eighty-plus years kicking ass as a heavyweight champion litterateur, certainly he deserved to teach the dipshit fool a lesson first:

Dear Dennis,

Just because the two big guys who flanked you on ‘Monday Night Football’ took away your balls, and left you with a giggle in replacement doesn’t mean you have to suck up to the Wall Street Journal.

You’re too good to become squalid and kiss-ass for so little.


Norman Mailer

The Wall Street Journal’s favorite country is Israel. The paper’s editorials reflect that daily. For a pittance, the paper bought itself a zionist shill. The details of how that happened, how this onetime comic ingenieux sank so low is the story you’re about to hear…

Dennis Miller was always more DJ than stand-up. Dennis Leary had a banana clip of a mouth, but Miller’s cross-referential inanities lit up more synapses. He was Rick Dees on a mescalin-laced speedball. Dees with flair. At the Saturday Night Live zenith of his career, Miller’s gleeful, surreal, kaleidescopic heptalk conjured Professor Irwin Corey and Mort Sahl. A finger-popping, jive-ass talking Daddio in tighter pants. The Professor’s sequepedelian double-talk was lectern dry, but Miller’s verbal tyros crackled. Unlike the Eisenhower-era Sahl, Miller tip-toed around politics. His topical snickers were culled from news items, but they were absurdist pinpricks, not broadsides against the government. Juxtaposing U Thant with Edie Gorme,or Sacco & Venzetti with Ginger & Mary Ann struck stay-at-home boomers funny. He helped relieve the tedium of a Saturday night with little to do but watch videos, eat ruggelah, ! and play Trivial Pursuit. Although arch, Miller’s jokes were user-friendly. No one’s ox got gored. A pal called General Mussharef: The Bud Selig of World Leaders, a notch above any of Miller’s cracks, but Miller put his mediocre rivals to shame. His conceits skimmed past brash college-boy pap. He’d launched a career.

Post-Chevy Chase, the SNL anchor slot had retained its showbiz cachet, and Miller was as career-driven as the next baggypants wag. His snide cutaways were viable schtick, things were rolling. The only obstacle to the bigtime was SNL’s longtime producer- Lorne Michaels. Notoriously cheap, he’d run the show for years as a comedy plantation. SNL stars didn’t own their own comic characters, they leased them to Michaels. All future earnings the performer might make using what was after all- their idea, were contractually siphoned off to Michaels, before a dime was to be made. The show’s rotating lineup of stars has always reflected Michael’s business instincts, not his love of rebellious sketch-comedy. Like Belushi, Ackroyd, and Bill Murray before him, Miller knew the best way out of the SNL trap was to get out at the first sign of heat. When he and his reps felt the timing was right, sayanora Dennis Miller. Any standup, even an in-demand sketch comic comes to le! arn that no one keeps a white-hot career going very long. Long-lasting comedy careers are as vaporous as laughing gas. When you work for Lorne Michaels, that lesson’s learned early. For every Robin Williams or Steve Martin who catapults to movie stardom, hundreds of dyno-mite acts spend their older years tickling the rubes at “Giggles”, in Dubuque. Begging for laughs from one podunk town to the next.

For a soi-disant smart comic like Dennis Miller, that fate would be worse than death. Literally Death actually revived a few comics’ careers. Andy Kaufman knew his greatest success as a dead man. The public’s a queer duck. Today, they love you. Tomorrow, they’ll pay you to get the fuck out.

Once he wrapped up SNL, Miller gained an acting career of sorts. But, it petered out fast. He’s too indifferent and self-conscious an actor to be good. And, in less than a year, casting directors began handing Richard Lewis the kind of offbeat roles they’d once happily given Miller. Small gambles, mostly. The kind of fifth lead character parts that, if badly performed- wouldn’t ruin the whole goddamn movie. Mincing around as the Jerkoff Neighbor, Colorful Oddball, the Talkative Loon was silly-putty acting, but it had its rewards. Peter Sellers became a legend with that as his start. Even a lesser talent such as Terry Thomas (another sixties Brit) worked steadily in pictures for years. His droll wordplay livened up many a dull comedy. His twirling moustache worked, too. But, the camera doesn’t love Dennis Miller. On video, he looked healthy. Not a pudge like most comics, Miller’s body was flexible. His herky-jerky movements could animate his cut! ting asides to good effect. But, on celluloid, his bearded grad-student face appears wan, and astringent. He looks like Ted Kazynski. Worse, the movies he was in were bombs.

Then, he caught a break. A TV producer of consummate bad taste was made the head producer of ABC’s Monday Night Football: Don *Cufflinks & Cologne Ohlmeyer, the longtime NBC top honcho. ABC had given him a lot of latitude to make the show a hit again. The whole idea was to make it crackle and jell with the kind of excitement the way it used to, in its heyday- the Cosell/Dandy Don era. Don Ohlmeyer is a man with a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but pulling a rabbit out of this hat was beyond his capabilities. It showed very early. Dennis Miller – NFL Color Man was just about the dumbest entertainment move of all time. It made Fox’s Chevy Chase talkshow debacle look like a mid-season hit. Swifter than Joe Namath’s pass release, the show bottomed out. Ratings were atrocious. ABC was losing serious money. Just a modest spike up or down in viewership can mean the difference of tens of millions of dollars. And, with every game, Dennis Miller! ‘s wonderfully wacky quips were falling on milllions of deaf ears. By hiring him, Don Ohlmeyer had committed the show’s cardinal sin, a mistake that all previous Monday Night Football producers had carefully avoided:

He’d alienating the show’s core audience : Sportsfans of America Once you lose them, no amount of razzle-dazzle can generate profits for the network.

The announcement of Miller’s hiring brought groans, coast to coast. From the season debut, his arsenal of cutesy, dadaist-lite quips cloyed. Besides interrupting the action, fans found them offensive. In the middle of a play, they’d have to look up a nutball allusion. Ohlmeyer had really blown it. Throughout the early controversy, Miller affected a quiet side to quell the static. He thought he could wait out his detractors. Win them over gradually. Sounds crazy, but that’s what he thought. Delusional doesn’t begin to describe the schematic patterns of comedians brains.

Years of entertaining his football-watching comedian buddies with crazy-ass commentary had somehow persuaded Ol’ Den that he was a guy’s guy. But, comedians are the least manly of men. Making them guffaw and spit up is a piss-poor test of entertaining the guys. NFL football is a raucous and punishing display of barely restrained violence. You’re watching the hits, the blood, the pain, rock ’em sock-em’ action, and what do you hear in the background?

A rich twit cackling away. Chit-chat in contralto tones. Alice Kravitz.

Dennis Miller is a guy’s guy the way Richard Simmons is the Dodger starting catcher on “Celebrity Night” at Chavez Ravine. For an inning or two, it might be amusing, but then you’d get sick of him, and wish to hell Jim Belushi put on the mask, and got his ass out there, behind the plate. Dennis Miller is an honorary guy. So long as he keeps his mouth shut for long periods of time, nobody’s gonna complain.

Ohlmeyer kept him on indefinitely. Finally, when the coast was clear, Ol’ Don gave Ol’ Den the heave-ho. It hardly mattered, it was playoff time, the regular season had already been ruined. As for Miller, his next move was anyone’s guess. Vegas tossed him a bone now and then, but even the dog act at Binions got to be the bigger draw. Casinos are little renowned for indulging halfwits, much less paying them exorbitant amounts, and when a comic’s career starts to slide, rarely will they get the second or third chance burn-out actors sometimes receive. Mickey Rourke has crashed and burned the proverbial million times, but once he lit up the screen, and every so often some hard-luck producer will give him a chance to see if he can deliver th magic once more.

The plague of every funnyman’s success is that deep down, almost everyone thinks they know forty guys funnier, and, they usually do. Miller’s oral freak appeal might sustain him for a while, but his act was the verbal equivalent of physical comic Jeff Altman, a mock-epileptic who used his crippled father to mine laughs. There’s nothing the public turns on quicker than a bizarre comedian. Miller was still breathing, but he was driving his management team crazy with incessant demands. They were getting more than 10% of his earnings but 15% of nothing is still nothing. How long would it be before these black-suited ghouls drained him of the little blood he had left, before they flapped their wings and flew off?

Talk-shows would still book him, but Miller’s paranoid hypertension would always leave nagging doubts. His Monday Night Football failure could very well be the dread career poison every comic fears. Now, colleges were loathe to book him. Students no longer thought Dennis Miller was cool, they thought he was what he was: a 50-something cynic who had nothing funny to say. Miller didn’t just just need a break. He needed to break in a entire new act.

9/11 and Intifada II supplied it.

Dennis Miller would re-invent himself as a root-toot-a-tootin’ Zionist crazyman. Use that rancid, smarmy whine on the Palestinians, the good-for nothing darkies. He’d leapfrog Ed Koch at scorning the French, clip Dick Morris at demeaning Queen Noor, and jump tall Germans with a single snotty remark. By this suck-up calculus, Miller thought he was really on to something. He knew he’d get the the hip squares, the garden-variety suits who could never do him any good. But, by being so openly foul, and racist, he also calculated it’d make real big men in the business take notice. Why, they’d piss in their Rick Pollack pants laughing, and let him write his own ticket this time! Shows, tours, concerts, movies, you name it! Nothing’s too good for this high-wire cat! Right on, man! Mazel tov! Sweet. He could smell it.

Wait a minute, you’re asking- what ‘s this zionist angle? Isn’t Miller playing a yankee-doodle-candyass for the Red, White, & Blue? Huh?

Looks that way, don’t it? But, as the post-delerium Mao remarked to Nixon, after complimented on his looks: “Looks can be deceiving.”

Some months ago, a Jewish friend (Hollywood division), aware that the Middle East held some interest for me, emailed a Miller rant. Perhaps, he thought it had pizazz. A bilious screed, it bristled with Anti-Christ charity. Miller’s points were fast & furious, filled with four interesting zionist facts:

1, The Palestinians had never existed. Their disinterest in white man nationalism had proved it. No flag, no people.

2. The Palestinians were rotten devils. Their brown-skin was a giveaway.

3. The Palestinians were insane liars. Their poverty and refugee status had compromised their ability to tell the truth.

4. The Palestinians are evil children who must be punished for their own good. Kill a few here and there, and the rest would scurry like rats.

Miller had outdone himself. Proof of it, the screed reached #1 on the Jewish yahoo pass-it-around email circuit. Across the Net, every Ira, Glick, and Larry was hailing it as the greatest thing since Baruch Goldstein had mowed down all those Palestinians kneeling in prayer.

A word here to clarify: Doubtless, there are many Jews who’ve been equally repulsed by Dennis Miller’s rabid zionism. His incontinent squeals put Pat Robertson to shame. His racist rants leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. A growing number of Jewish-Americans resent the fact that Israel’s crimes are being committed in their name. There are many schisms in the Jewish community now, and the widest is the one between those who care about all humanity, and those whose concept of Never Again! means Never Again!, only with respect to the Jews. Miller panders to the latter.

Less nuanced than the fraternal order of Jewish yahoo comedians, Miller very early decided it would be too unseemly for one of them to do a kill the Arabs! act it, but that as a goy- he could. They needed a stand-in, and Den was the right, right-wing Christian Zionist in the right place! The timing to break out the USA-USA rants was good as well. Operation Iraqi Freedom, the invasion of Iraq- was about to commence. As it was also the first night of Passover, the Jewish holy day commemorating a Jewish military triumph, Miller was a guest at a seder. The Shock and Awe which flashed across the household’s big-screen TV was greeted with roars of approval. American B-52’s were raining death upon untold numbers of Iraqi men, women, and children, and that was very good news to Dennis Miller, and the small army of good friends of Israel gathered around him.

Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. No one’s ever proved it any better than Dennis Miller. His phony, hellzapoppin’ Uncle Sammy act is his last refuge to revive a half-dead career. Dennis Miller cares about America the way he cares about Finland, or Uzbekhistan, only if it’s good for a laugh. Americans are desperate for good news, anxious to laugh, anything to help. They go see a comedian who’s waving the flag, and yelling hip-hip-hooray. And, maybe that eases the tension for a minute and-a half.

Behind the curtain though- Dennis Miller is kissing a whole lotta ass. He’s reduced himself to the level of a comic stand-in for meshuganah yahoos too circumspect to wave the Star of David onstage.

Neurotic entertainers share pathologies with child molesters. It’s always disquieting when a great star like Joan Crawford or Michael Jackson reveal themselves to be twisted souls. Comedians are especially susceptible to nervous collapses. Nine times out of ten, their humor is displaced aggression, or an overcompensation for depression. When the phone goes dead, for many- despair and suicidal ideation become interchangeable modes of grief. Manic personalities who suffer wrenching losses are as dangerous as crack addicts. A frantic hype like Miller would sell his mother for a half-tin of Alpo to get back on top. Or worse. Hear Me, O’ Israel wasn’t Jackie Mason, but then again- Miller’s not Jewish. He only seems to be. Non-Jewish neurotics are often so mannered, their off-kilter tics so multiple, that they actually begin to seem Jewish, even to other Jews. It’s no big secret that the business requires some Gentile comics, if only to camouf! lage its origins. Charles Nelson Reilly lasted for years. There’s always room for a cockamamie goy.

Amongst the small circle of funny-looking cut-ups Miller had hung out with for years, serious issues were rarely discussed with anything approaching intelligence. His flim-flam erudition touched on world events, but Miller’s a child of suburbia. Whenever talk turned to heavy politics, the usual melange of liberal pieties, and whitebread ‘tude mimicked gravitas. Taking care of bizness was what these boys were about. An old Josie & The Pussycats comic book displayed more Hegelian polish.

Before 9/11, none of this would mean very much. If it wasn’t respectable to be ignorant, it didn’t presage oblivion. Now, no American can afford the luxury to be Forrest Gump. Something’s happened here. The country we’ve known and loved feels like a phantom memory. Something wicked, fatal, alien, and odious has spread its poisonous mist.

In Oliver Stone’s JFK, there’s a telling scene: DA Jim Garrison (Costner) and his aides are interviewing a wiry, hardened con (Kevin Bacon) in a swampland hellhole: the 1966 prison yard of a Louisina State prison. The con’s cooperative, even pleasant, he’s a “butch john”, an ex-consort of the assassination conspirator Garrison’s hot on the trail of: New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw. The con’s chatty, and he’s got plenty to tell. Garrison dawdles a bit, and the inmate seizes on the moment to drop the easy dialogue. He hisses out to the DA and his aides an insight he’s gleaned whilst keeping company with Shaw and friends, in the sordid, baroque underground they frolic and cavort in:

“I’ll tell you what’s coming, Mr. Garrison. Fascism! Fascism’s coming!”

In the cultural void created by the advent of Fascism American-style, the cowards gallery of toadies that pass for journalists betray all hopes for an informed citizenry. In that vacuum, pop-culture worms its way into our living rooms. In the uncertain, post-Depression war years, great entertainers like Jack Benny, and Lana Turner cheered Americans up. As cornball as it sounds, they brought smiles. But, the global contagions which grip us now are terrors unknown. And, who do we have to dispel them, to summon our hopes for a better world?

A craven neurotic named Dennis Miller. A racist zionist posing as an All-American boy. A phony patriot whose lies are beneath contempt.

Miller permeates the lies the Israeli Government tells so they can escape accountability for starving families, demolishing homes, humiliating pregnant women, and shooting children in the back. He exploits Americans’ traditional ignorance of lands beyond our shores. His jokes don’t buoy our spirit, they rot it. Every Freedom, Liberty and Moral Value Americans have fought and died for, Dennis Miller pisses on. And, all in the vain hope, it would jump-start a schmucky comedy career. A career with a bacterial shelf-life of minus and counting.

Dennis Miller doesn’t know it, but he’s no longer a comedian. He’s a Zionist Fool, bowing and scraping to please the Man- Ariel Sharon. It’s inevitable he’ll go to Israel to give a command performance. His zany rants are sure to give the fat war criminal a bellyful of laughs. In medieval times, a good Fool could dine at the table of his King or Queen. Eunuchs mostly, they regaled the entire Court with their whimsy, and sprite. They were meticulous in their garb, and cultivated smug manners merely to please their despot rulers. At the expense of everyone else in the land.

Fascism is a beast as Bertolt Brecht said, and once it bares its fangs and howls out its scorching flames, as it did in Iraq, it constantly needs to be defended, or the citizens living in the Homeland might catch on and revolt. The State’s Crimes Against Humanity must be hidden from its citizenry by constant propaganda. And, there are always dozens of snarling, little weasels eager to bray out its Big Lies.

Despite the zionist fables, many millions of Americans already suspect that “America’s best friend” (Israel) is not the “Light Upon Nations” it claims to be. They instinctively know it’s a neo-Nazi skinhead country which is breaking the laws of man and God. Millions know that our Congress has been sold to the highest bidder. A lot more Americans know all this than any cheesy poll is likely to reveal. Even a cursory look at the mainstream press exposes Israel, and its deranged settler movement as an evil regime. Millions of Americans see this clearly. More are starting to.

One significant indicator of this: The insipid mantra: “We’re all Israelis, now” never caught on. “Coke Is It” captured a larger demographic. The slogan makes a lot of Americans very, very uncomfortable . Americans aren’t stupid, they’re ignorant. And, the vast majority have the good sense to not want to be Israelis. Now or ever. Americans want no part of getting blown up. They want no part of persecuting three million innocent people just because they don’t eat kishke, and aren’t white. Americans prefer to be Americans.

This is not just the story of a schmucky comic crying out for help. It’s a cautionary tale of the damage caused when an entertainer turns traitor. With every rant, Dennis Miller sells out America. Congress should be notified. The fool should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

God Bless America.

ROSS VACHON is an American Patriot who can trace his French ancestry to Lafayette. The Publisher of Jouissance, a new mens magazine slated to debut this fall, he may be contacted at:

*David Letterman’s description of Ohlmeyer, a man he came to detest.