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Fun With Dennis (Prager That is)

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Message Tom Aiken
Okay, I'll admit this upfront: I love right-wing columnist/radio talk show host Dennis Prager. Now let's not get carried away here lest we scare him--it's a platonic crush, but a crush nonetheless. Here's why.

I love to laugh. And since I am fool enough to keep up with current events I need all the laughs I can get. Problem is I'm, essentially, a leftist (alright, so I'm not crazy about gun control--that Texas Libertarian thing--but I've no problem with legally married lesbians on a hunting trip, so go figure) and, frankly, most individual pundits on the left aren't very funny. Sure, there's Deegan, Du Prey and of course Tom Tomorrow. But after that, well--please educate me if I'm wrong here--not a whole lot of laughs coming from the progressive side of the editorial page.

Granted, we progressives (leftists, socialists, commies, whatever) haven't got a great deal to grin about these days--but that's when one needs to grin the most. And, for me, Dennis Prager does the trick every time.

Prager is wonderful. On a good day he reads like Mrs. Agnew's Diary, a fictitious column purportedly penned by disgraced Nixon VP Spiro Agnew's addled spouse published in the then (1970-73) uproariously funny National Lampoon. In these monthly ghost-written diatribes Ms. Agnew would spout the usual right talking points in such a skewed fashion that I'd be howling with laughter within the first two paragraphs (I'm sure the opiated Thai Stick helped, but we needn't go into that here). On a great day he's even better, a category unto himself. Prager's beauty? He does the Mrs. Agnew thing in real-time... once a week no less.

Let's look at Denny's latest laugh-fest, a column entitled "What I Said To Republican Members Of Congress" (2/2/10). Herein the estimable "opinionist" lectures--with enough faux obeisance for one to actually taste bile in the back of one's throat without having to really experience it--the current Republican line-up on myriad issues while happily gliding along on Obama's coattails, a fact he announces up-front with FOXian malleability and a seemingly straight face.

After a moment of cultural bonding to flesh out the intro cowboy leaps into action, first citing John Rosemond's (Who?) Vitamin "N"--as in "No"--theory of childcare in reference to American's health concerns before going on to ponder the nation's (specifically California's) Christian heritage, positing that, under a Wiccan (!) regime, Los Angeles might well be called "Los Secularistos" instead, empty city seal and all. And that's just for starters.

Sure, it's the usual crap. It's just that Dennis has this singular way of putting it. Not so much "What's he on" and more "Where can I get some?"

The Prager archives provide hours of "educational" fun, one misstated fallacy after another as if churned out on an assembly line by emaciated Indonesian pre-teens. Not that DP is starving of course. Lies, especially fancifully outrageous ones, pay--big time.

And Dennis is peddling some real whoppers.

The laughs just don't stop: One of my big favorites, "Socialism and Secularism Suck Vitality Out of Society" (5/12/09) implies that, say, Carrie Underwood is somehow more culturally significant than, say, Stephen Hawking, because America has Christian values and Europe has none (though it must be admitted even a few of his own readers took umbrage at that one).

Or, more recently, there's Prager's take on the demise of Traditional Male Values, "Is America Still Making Men" (1/19/10), preaching, teaching, losing perspective and diving off the rhetorical mountain in regard to our country's fading masculinity. Claiming feminism and Dad's high-fiving Junior (rather than slapping him to the floor and ordering him to cut the yard) are key ingredients in the dissolution of the American Empire, our boy goes on to equate the term "Make love, not war" with "Don't fight for your country, screw girls" and asserts had "The Greatest Generation" possessed such values Hitler and Tojo might well have taken the day.

And then there's the side-splitting "Controlling When You Relieve Yourself, Not Body Scan, Invades Privacy" (1/5/10) in which Prager shouts from the rooftops with Patrick Henry-style fervor.

"If the government prohibits airline passengers from getting out of their seats during the last hour of a flight I hereby announce that I will get out my seat either to escort someone who needs to use the lavatory or because I do."

While acknowledging threat of arrest the columnist is willing to rend the potential incident a "cause celebre", insisting that body scanning is somehow less intrusive than sorta needing to take a leak.

But everyone's got a moment of real glory and Dennis is no exception. Proof of Prager's greatness? His epic two-part screed "When A Women Isn't In The Mood" (12/23/08/-12/30/08), an exhaustive, no doubt throughly researched atrocity referencing Falwell's "Graceful Submission" theory of marriage and then turning it on it's head.

I mean this is great stuff. Even Terry Southern couldn't have come up with this guy. But let's let him speak for himself:

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Tom Aiken is a writer based in Austin, Texas. He has written for numerous publications including The Village Voice, Heavy Metal amd M'Zine (RIP). Mr. Aiken also has a spanking new blog -- AikenLand -- for publication of his more unpublishable work. (more...)
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