Sunday, March 19, 2006

For Whom the Belz Tolls

Please read the snippet of freewheeling shouting match, reported extensively at Rhymes With Right, among other places, between host Bill Maher and guest Richard Belzer, on one hand (abetted by Maher's audience -- no surprise) and an overmatched Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida:

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, over loud applause for Belzer: “Ask them [ed. -- i.e., soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq]. Ask them if it's fair! Wait a minute, wait a minute. My stepson, wait a minute, my stepson-”

Belzer: “That's bullshit: ask them! They're not, they don't read twenty newspapers a day. They're under the threat of death every minute. They're not the best people to ask about the war because they're gonna die any second.”

... Ros-Lehtinen, quite agitated: “Oh, you are though! You are though? Okay.”

Belzer: “Well I have more time, I'm not there. My life is not under threat.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “Thank you. I'm glad.”

Maher: “I think the point he's trying to make is that a 19-year-old who is in that army because he probably couldn't find other employment-”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He's a college graduate. He's a Marine officer. He volunteered for the Marines.”

Belzer: “He's the exception for the rule.”

Ros-Lehtinen: “He's not the exception for the rule. I've been there-”

Belzer: “You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They're 19 and 20-year-old kids who couldn't get a job-”

"Rhymes With Right" is so infurated he can't type straight.

Huntress notes: "When I worked in Hollywood, Belzer was considered- by those gutsy enough to admit it- an arrogant condescending prick! The few times I encountered him he lived up to that reputation."

Protein Wisdom thinks "Richard Belzer is still smarting from that fitful polyester morning he woke to the painful epiphany that he wasn’t Lenny Bruce or George Carlin—nor would he ever be.

"Hell, he wasn’t even Robert Klein."

But the best reaction, hands down, comes from Sean M., in Jeff Goldstein's comments section (he has his own blog, here, which I'm going to have to read through), who writes:

So, let me get this straight...if you support the war but don’t join up with the armed forces to go and fight, lefties scream “CHICKENHAWK!” at you, implying that your lack of military experience invalidates your opinion.

On the other hand, if you’re over there, your opinion on the legitimacy of the war isn’t to be trusted because you’re obviously some sort of moron who couldn’t get a job elsewhere, much less a college education.