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April 27, 2007

The Simpsons Explain It all

Monty Burns
John Moyer finds the transcript of the Simpsons episode I was describing earlier today. I used it as a metaphor for Schoen's column, John had tracked it down because it so perfectly described the Bush administration's scandals. I think that's actually the right usage: For quite awhile, there were so many new outrages being tracked down and argued over that a critical mass of anger could never emerge over a singular scandal. Bush was, for awhile, saved by his own overwhelming incompetence, which created a situation much like this one:

-----

At the Mayo Clinic, Burns receives the results of his tests.

Burns: Well, doc, I think I did pretty well on my tests. You may shake my hand if you like.
Doctor: Well, under the circumstances, I'd rather not.
Burns: Eh?
Doctor: Mr. Burns, I'm afraid you are the sickest man in the United States. You have everything.
Burns: You mean I have pneumonia?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Juvenile diabetes?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Hysterical pregnancy?
Doctor: Uh, a little bit, yes. You also have several diseases that have just been discovered -- in you.
Burns: I see. You sure you haven't just made thousands of mistakes?
Doctor: Uh, no, no, I'm afraid not.
Burns: This sounds like bad news.
Doctor: Well, you'd think so, but all of your diseases are in perfect balance. Uh, if you have a moment, I can explain.
Burns: Well ... [looks at his watch]
[the Doctor puts a tiny model house door on his desk]
Doctor: Here's the door to your body, see?
[bring up some small fuzz balls with goofy faces and limbs from under the desk] And these are oversized novelty germs. [points to a different one up as he names each disease] That's influenza, that's bronchitis, [holds up one] and this cute little cuddle-bug is pancreatic cancer. Here's what happens when they all try to get through the door at once. [tries to cram a bunch through the model door. The "germs" get stuck] [Stooge-like] Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo! Move it, chowderhead![normal voice] We call it, "Three Stooges Syndrome."
Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
Doctor: Oh, no, no, in fact, even slight breeze could --
Burns: Indestructible.

----
2006 was the breeze.

April 27, 2007 in Quotes -- Fiction | Permalink

Comments

2006 was the breeze.

One would think so, and it may yet prove to be the case because after all everything in politics takes time, especially when there's a fair amount of resistance from the media, Bush himself, and centrists who — and this is the most charitable explanation — have been cowed into submission... but anyways, if 2006 was the breeze referenced in the quote, Bush would be gone. He's not.

Posted by: Cyrus | Apr 27, 2007 3:25:03 PM

critical mass of anger could never emerge over a singular scandal

I had never thought of this in quite those terms. I suppose that a straw is unlikely to break a camel's back if the camel is carrying a load of straws. I also thing Bush's long standing reputation as a moron contributes to the media's credulity and timidity as if everyone were collectively saying, "what did we expect?" and then letting him slide.

It still amazes me that Clinton and Reagan almost lost their offices over far less, Nixon was actually ousted for far less moral and political truancy than this administration openly flaunts.

Posted by: Thomas | Apr 27, 2007 4:14:16 PM

I think more of "outrage fatigue" when I think about this administration. There's too much to be upset about.

Posted by: eriks | Apr 27, 2007 4:40:31 PM

I agree with you, Ezra, that 2006 was the breeze, but for a different reason: The lazy media is now able to focus on one scandal at a time because the House and Senate Democrats can focus on those scandals one at a time.

When the House Oversight Committee does hearings for a week on the Plame issue, the lazy media can say, "Oh, good, now we can send someone over to the hearing room and fill 10 minutes on our newscast." Thus, something gets covered singularly and in depth.

This can happen over and over and over in the next two years, if Waxman keeps up his furious investigative pace. And more power to him.

Posted by: Media Glutton | Apr 27, 2007 5:10:27 PM

Doesn't Larry King remind you of Mr. Burns?

Posted by: David | Apr 27, 2007 5:28:57 PM

I literally used the same Burns-at-the-doctor analogy yesterday to explain why President Bush amazingly survives his epidemic of scandals.

For the story, see:
"Surviving All Scandals: President Bush as Mr. Burns."

Posted by: Angry One | Apr 27, 2007 5:47:52 PM

JON Moyer's head swells up with pride!

Posted by: Jon Moyer | Apr 27, 2007 6:12:53 PM

2006 wasn't it. It was a hurricane in 2005 that finally knocked him over.

Posted by: Wells. | Apr 27, 2007 11:17:15 PM

Burns: You have to use an open-faced club . . . a sandwedge.

Homer: Mmmmm . . . open-faced club sandwich . . . aghaghagh . . .

Posted by: Morris Berg | Apr 28, 2007 8:49:53 AM

Jonah Goldberg throws a lot of Simpsons references into his writing.

I'm just sayin', that's all....

Posted by: jimmmm | Apr 28, 2007 10:23:05 AM

A quibble:

"I suppose that a straw is unlikely to break a camel's back if the camel is carrying a load of straws."

Actually, the old phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back" is "the final straw" - the one which, individually, couldn't have caused any damage, but acts as the tipping point.

Outrage fatigue seems a pretty close analog. I'm so furious about a host of things that there's no single thing which sums up all I dislike about this Presidency.

It also seems like this somewhat relates to the old chestnut about Democrats being inconcise or, more falsely, messageless. The problem is that, frankly, we have too much to say nowadays, too much to do for particularly meaningful catchphrases.

Posted by: Jon O. | Apr 28, 2007 1:28:16 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 28, 2007 4:16:18 AM

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