Another month has passed, which means that it’s time for my traditional retrospecticus (hat tip to anyone who gets that obscure Simpsons’ reference), as I look back on my favorite stories of November.
Obviously, the biggest story of the month is – as CO and the CO nation have alternatively named it – pervnado/pervalanche/hornucopia. In just the last week, we’ve seen the fall of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor. If you’re like me, your response was, “That old codger?” “Who?” and “He’s still alive?” But still, the hilarity is worth savoring.
In a healthy culture, these guys would all retreat from society to begin long, tortured conversations with their genitalia. (“You see what you’ve gotten us into? I knew that I should never have let you do the thinking for both of us, Charlemagne Lauer!”) (Yes, I think that Lauer is the kind of guy who would give a comically grandiose name to his almost certainly unimpressive equipment.) (Sorry about that mental picture I just stuck you with.)
But ours is not a healthy culture. So Lauer has a team of lawyers working on getting him a golden parachute – not my words – in the neighborhood of $30 million. (This is where a lesser writer might be tempted to make a “severance package” joke. But I am way too dignified for that.) Barely animated corpse John Conyers is clinging to the door frame of his Congressional office with his dessicated mummy hands. Al Franken is apologizing, but he doesn’t remember doing anything wrong, but he’s deeply sorry for the bad things that he can’t recall, and now he has to get back to work for the American people. In the Senate, where it would be an absolute outrage if he had to share that august chamber with the likes of Roy Moore.
Half of the middle and upper management at CNN and NPR and the three networks are cleaning out their desks and banging into each as they try to cram through the exit doors like a bunch of horny Three Stooges, only much less funny. When they finally burst through the doorway, the cardboard boxes they were carrying fall apart, and they spend the next half hour on their hands and knees in the hallway, trying to sort out which marital aid belongs to which supervisor, and whose velvet-lined handcuffs are these, and is that blindfold a matched set with that ball gag?
Ugh. If the offenders at Fox hadn’t been run out of town earlier in the year, they’d be lined up at the elevators so deep that they’d be lucky to make it out onto the street by Christmas.
But that’s not my favorite story of November. That honor goes to Trump vs. Pocahontas Warren, Round Two. Was it classy for Trump to put a rib kick in on Warren when he was supposed to be honoring the Code Talkers at the White House? Was it juvenile, and a little embarrassing? Did it still make me laugh? No, yes, and I’m not too big to admit it.
Warren’s response was perfect, as she stepped right into the trolling trap, calling the name a “racial slur,” and vowing that she will not allow Trump to “shut [her] up.” Guess what, Liz? That’s the last thing he would want you to do. He wants you to keep talking all things Indian – What do you think of the phrase “indian-giver,” Elizabeth? Any thoughts on the name of the Washington Redskins? Would you consider yourself a big Columbus fan? — and as you do so, he’s rhetorically putting a huge, feathered headdress on top of your dopey head, turning you into the Native American version of Dukakis in that tank commander’s helmet.
Especially since Warren is supposed to be a leading future Dem presidential contender, we cannot stress enough the sleazy details of her egregious faux-Indian scam. In case you haven’t followed that story, here are my favorite details. The blue-eyed, blonde, pasty-white future Senator began claiming to be Cherokee in her 30s, got herself listed as a minority in a directory of lawyers, and ended up with a job at Harvard, where the school touted her as a prominent minority hire. She later denied that she got any advantage from her claimed minority status – a laughable claim to anyone even the least bit familiar with the political climate of academia.
What “facts” did Warren base her claims on? “Family lore” and the fact that her grandpa had “high cheekbones.” I’m not making that up.
Hey, you know who else has some high cheekbones? Melania Trump. And we all know how feared the Slovenian Sioux were, all throughout the Badlands.
You know who else has high cheekbones? My Norwegian-descent wife. And yes, the Slovenian Sioux were only outstripped in their fighting reputation by the Oslo Apaches. When the war canoes took to the fjords, pioneers knew that they were in for heap-big trouble!
My favorite Warren anecdote is that she once had the gall to submit five supposed family recipes as entries in a book of Native American dishes called – and again, I’m not making this up – “Pow Wow Chow.”
But it gets funnier – and I know what you are asking: How? (Get it?)
It turned out that two of her five recipes were plagiarized directly from another source: a man named Pierre Franey. I know, you don’t often hear of Indians named “Pierre.” (Although Pierre Horse, after merciless teasing during middle school, changed his first name to “Crazy,” and went on to become a ferocious warrior. Also, Sitting Bull’s real first name? “Jacques.” True story.)
“Don’t be so dismissive, Simpson,” you might be saying. “Maybe this Pierre Franey was somehow connected to the French and Indian War. I remember reading about that in school.”
Nope. It turns out Pierre was connected to… Le Pavilion, a snooty French restaurant in Manhattan.
“But Manhattan was once sold by its Indian inhabitants for a bunch of beads,” you might say.
And I’ll just nod my head sadly, and point out that Pierre wrote and published these two recipes… IN 1979!!
But wait. There’s more. The two recipes that she stole – recipes that she claimed came from her Oklahoma-dwelling Cherokee ancestors – were for “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat” and “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing.”
Because when you think of lobster, you think of Maine. When you think of corn, you think of Iowa. When you think of potatoes, you think of Idaho.
And when you think of crab, you think of… Oklahoma?!
The lonesome, moonlit nights on the prairie. The wind rustling through the grasses and wheat fields, the howling of a far-off coyote. The campfire crackling under a starry sky. And the clacking of millions of crustacean claws, as the great crab herds make their way across the endless plains in their awe-inspiring migration.
We should never stop mocking Elizabeth Warren.
Also in November, I came across three other stories that add to my happiness:
- A study by researchers at Columbia and Harvard (I know, but still) found that sarcasm – writing it and reading it – makes people more creative. So we here at CO should all be a bunch of Michelangelos, DaVincis, and Edisons. The article also said that one potential downside of being sarcastic is that it “can come across as mean.” But what do they know? Bunch of eggheads who ought to go “F” themselves!
- A study conducted at the Medical University of Graz (Austria) found that, “Vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.” Not mentioned in the story was the fact that the most famous Austrian vegetarian in history was Adolf Hitler. So let me get this right: I get to wash down some steak dinners with some fine alcohol, while not working out, and being less prone to go on a continent-wide anti-Semitic murder spree, AND I get to be healthier too? Move over, Mayo Clinic and whichever medical labs housed the inventions of the artificial heart and Viagra (not that I need either of those, thanks for asking), and make way for my new favorite institution: the Medical University of Graz.
- A Swedish study – reported in Fortune – finds that dog owners live longer and are healthier than non-dog owners. The study pointed to reduced incidence of cardiac disease, greater support and companionship, and stronger immunity because of exposure to dirt that dogs bring into the house.
So picture how sweet it is to be me. I’ve been in the top 5 rankings of “Most Sarcastic People in the Northern Hemisphere” for 7 years running and am thus writing and sculpting and painting and inventing things 24/7; I’m washing down burgers and steaks and pork chops with beer and wine and scotch and am Olympic-athlete healthy, and Cassie the Wonder Dog is providing me with top-shelf companionship while helping me to live into my late 100s. Plus I’m married to a woman with the cheekbones of a Norwegian/Navajo princess, and Christmas is coming.
The world is truly my oyster, with an appetizer of Oklahoma crab bisque.