Frequent readers here will be familiar with the Pazuzu Excuse. Pazuzu was the demon that made Linda Blair say such awful things in “The Exorcist”—he also made her head swivel around 180 degrees. Pazuzu is the presumptive miscreant whenever someone tried to beg forgiveness for a particularly vile, and often career-threatening remark by arguing that the statement “didn’t reflect my true beliefs,” as if someone else had suddenly grabbed the controls. Michael Richards (“Kramer” on “Seinfeld”) was, therefore, mystified about why he suddenly started screaming “Nigger!” at a stand-up comedy performance. Mel Gibson swore that all the anti-Semitic slurs he uttered on a fateful night were of mysterious origin, since he isn’t the kind of guy who would act like that. (Later events proved this to be mistaken.) There are many examples from the famous, momentarily famous and not famous at all.
The Full Pazuzu is reached when someone implies that what was said or written suggests a different identity. Sony executive Amy Pascal, to cite a recent example, explained her hacked e-mails (which really weren’t that bad) by writing,
“The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am…”
Whoever or whatever those e-mails were an accurate reflection of, they fired him/her/it.
Now, however, by way of Stone Mountain, Georgia, comes a rare Ultimate Pazuzu, where the individual under fire really blamed the devil. [NOTE: Pazuzu isn’t the devil, but he works for him, so under the principle of agency, it’s a distinction without a difference.] Continue reading
When the African nation of Togo protested that its embarrassing soccer loss to the Bahrain national team was due to a group of imposters masquerading as the Togo squad, I was excited: at least I had a new desperate, brazen and hopeless lie to enter the Ethics Alarms Futile Lie Hall of Fame, joining Jimmy Durante’s immortal “Elephant? What elephant?” line in the musical “Jumbo” (in response to being caught red-handed stealing the largest elephant in captivity, Lindsay Lohan’s explanation to police officers who had found cocaine in her pockets that “these aren’t my pants,” and comedian Michael Richards’ claim that he has no idea why he started yelling “Nigger!” at two black audience members when he has not a bigoted bone in his body—the controversial “I was possessed!” excuse.
The “It’s not our fault: someone was impersonating me!” lie has great promise, not just for other disappointing athletic teams, but for politicians, John Edwards, the Democratic Congress, the producers of the “Sex in the City” movie sequel, Kanye West and Goldman Sachs. Thus I was devastated to find out that Togo wasn’t lying at all: their soccer team had been replaced by imposters.
Oh, well. And because the excuse now has validity, the “Someone was impersonating us!” excuse no longer qualifies as a sufficiently desperate and hopeless lie. It looks like Li-Lo, Kramer and “the Schnoz” will have to wait a bit longer for their quartet.
Curse you, Gawker, for making me defend Laura Schlesinger!
Radio talk show host/advisor/scold Laura Schlesinger, a.k.a. “Dr. Laura,” has a target on her back for liberal sharpshooters, thanks to her persistent demonization of gays and her advocacy of female subjugation in marriage. Outside of those two areas (“And aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”), Schlesinger’s ethical instincts are usually sound, and her advice to troubled callers is usually good. But she has a lot of enemies, and proof of that is today’s eye-catching headline on the gossip website Gawker, which can fairly be described as “ethics-free.”
Dr. Laura Apologizes for Shocking, N-Word Filled Radio Rant Continue reading
Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with superannuated newswoman Helen Thomas believing that the Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Germany and Poland. An if she believes it, there is nothing wrong with her saying so, as she did to a questioning rabbi. It’s good to know. Since we now know her biases on the matter, we can better assess her credibility when she writes about Middle East politics. As Joe Gandleman writes on “The Moderate Voice:
“Just saying “Go back to where you come from” is the same as the misguided, empty-headed Americans who shout “Go back to Africa” to blacks or “Go back to Mexico” to American born Latinos when they know they are American born Latinos. It shows her so hopelessly biased and lacking realistic perspective that stories written by her beg to be skipped over…. on the Middle East story, how can anyone think that when she asks questions she is seeking information to flesh out a story (unless it was a special on airfares so Jews can fly out of Israel)?”
As I said: good to know. What is wrong and dishonest, however, is Thomas’s “apology” after it began to sink in that her candidly expressed and crude bias could be a career-ender. So, emulating that eminent anti-Semite, Mel Gibson, Helen released this: Continue reading
I didn’t watch Al Gore when he appeared on the Tonight Show a couple weeks ago. What he said then while hobnobbing with Conan should be old news, but in fact it was no news at all, because virtually no news media gave it more than a passing mention. Then, by purest accident, I heard a talk-radio host ranting about a shocking statement Gore had made on the show, and I checked to see if he could possibly be quoting the former Vice-President correctly.
He was. Here is the exchange: Continue reading