The Silly Season

by BurtPrelutsky

With football season finally over, we face the rest of the year, during which victories and awards are not usually determined by actual talent, true grit or any other standard that can be measured objectively. Instead, we will have some group of generally goofy individuals determine who will cart home Oscars, Nobel Peace Prizes and the U.S. presidency.

Jimmy Stewart was nominated for "Best Actor" for "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" in 1939, but didn't win.

The Academy snubbed Jimmy in 1939...

In fact, I’m convinced that the reason that so many people are addicted to sports is because they remain just about the only meritocracies in existence. While it’s true that injuries occasionally play a role in which team wins the World Series or the NCAA basketball tournament, it is nearly always the best team that cops the trophy.

When it comes to Academy Awards, there is a long history of mind-boggling injustices. For instance,“Sweet Leilani” beat out the Gershwins’ “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”; James Stewart got the Oscar for The Philadelphia Story to make up for his losing it the previous year to Robert (Mr. Chips) Donat, when he starred in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Going My Way and its director Leo McCarey beat out Double Indemnity and Billy Wilder; The Greatest Show on Earth beat out High Noon, The Quiet Man and The Bad and the Beautiful; and, lest we forget, the Academy members, in their infinite stupidity, decided that “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” performed on the Oscarcast by the group that composed it, the 3-6 Mafia, was voted the Best Song of 2006. It thereby took its place on a list of honorees that included “The Lullaby of Broadway,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Over the Rainbow,” “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” “White Christmas,” “It Might as Well Be Spring” and “Moon River.” If you close your eyes, you can almost picture some bureaucrat in Heaven telling the likes of Harry Warren, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, to be sure and make room in their clubhouse for the dudes in the 3-6 Mafia.

I keep hearing that Newt Gingrich is a great idea man. That begs the question why he should be the president. It seems to me that if someone is an innovator, you don’t make him the CEO of the company, you put him in charge of the lab. In Newt’s case, I think he might make an admirable Secretary of State or, maybe better yet, as a John Bolton-like ambassador to the U.N.

Jimmy Stewart won the Academy Award for "The Philadelphia Story."

... so they gave it to him in 1940.

When it wound up taking Iowa weeks before deciding that Santorum and not Romney had won the caucus — but even then they couldn’t be sure because they had somehow misplaced a ton of ballots — I expected Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, to send Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad a one-word telegram: “Thanks!” After those folks botched the counting of a mere 121,000 votes, it couldn’t help but take the onus off Florida. Iowa didn’t even have all those blankety-blank hanging chads to contend with.

Speaking of which, one of the absurdities of the primary system is how much attention it focuses for months on end on states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In addition to the 121,000 caucus votes cast in Iowa, there were 248,000 cast in New Hampshire and roughly 600,000 in South Carolina. In short, we have devoted endless time and energy to analyzing less than a million votes when, in the general election, more than 140,000,000 votes will be cast. To me, that makes about as much sense as judging a book by its first paragraph.

Finally, as dumb as Obama’s nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline is, it’s even dumber that we’re not drilling for oil in Alaska and in the lower 48. I still recall when Bill Clinton was railing against the endless demands that he “Drill, Baby, Drill!” In 1996, he actually had the gall to argue that even if they opened ANWR to the oil industry, it would still take 10 years before the oil would reach our local gas pumps. At the time, I pointed out that it would eventually be 2006 in any case, and wouldn’t it be nice if we no longer had to depend on the likes of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia, to supply our energy needs.

The fact is, because of environmental Nazis and their advocate in the Oval Office, we have pretty much shut down the oil and coal industries. It seems to me that should be a constant source of shame for every member of Congress, including those on the right side of the aisle.

The very idea that America is still dependent on foreign oil makes about as much sense as Mexico having to import tortillas, Italy having to import olive oil and France having to depend on Luxemburg to supply them with snails.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write!

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Author Bio:

Burt Prelutsky, a very nice person once you get to know him, has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. As a freelancer, he has written for the New York Times, Washington Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated. For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder. In addition, he has written a batch of terrific TV movies. View Burt’s IMDB profile. Talk about being well-rounded, he plays tennis and poker... and rarely cheats at either. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, where he takes his marching orders from a wife named Yvonne and a dog named Angel.
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  • Burt Prelutsky

    Michael, you are not alone. Moreover, the idea that tax dodger Geithner should have made that remark makes it all the more disgusting.

    A.K.: I share your pain. As for those greedy oil companies, the fact is that they average about a 2-4 cent profit on a gallon of gasoline. Here in California, between local, state and federal taxes, we’re paying roughly 70 cents-a-gallon extra.

    Nancye: Dogs and horses are generally the best things in any movie in which they appear. However, I found I was unable to make it all the way through “War Horse.” That is not uncommon with me and Steven Spielberg movies.


  • Michael


    I know this is a little off-point, but I’d love to hear what you (or Bernie) think about Timothy Geithner’s suggestion that some of us should pay more taxes for “the privilege of being an American.”

    That statement infuriates me, and makes me want to go to DC and drag that pipsqueak into the street and shove my honorable discharge up his rearend and tell him it’s not up to him or Barack Obama or anyone else to decide what I or any other American should pay for the “privilege” of being an American.

    This crap is from the same people who seem to think that millions of people who are here illegally don’t have to pay anything or follow any procedure, other than making it across the border, to be an American. They say it as if THEY have they have the right to grant that privilege.

    I feel like I’m living in a frigging Orwell novel. Am I the only one?

    • Shirl

      Heck no, you’re not the only one who watched Geithner make that statement about the privilege of being an American. Made me want to slap that silly smirk off his face. Four more years of this crap cannot happen. Hopefully more Americans will wake up to realize we are now being ruled by a communist government!

  • Nancye

    About the Oscars. I think the horse in “War Horse” should get it.

  • A. K.

    I try to work in oil exploration in Alaska…when there is work. Doublespeak on TV by Obama now…yes, we are benefiting from the management of George Bush, and we have lots of oil leases available, BUT we cannot drill because we cannot get permits. Example: Shell should have drilled in 2009, but Obama’s EPA stopped it because they switched out an icebreaker for a new ship, and the permit did not include how the exhaust from the newer ship would affect a village 90 miles away…
    Last year, for the first time since the 70s, there were NO exploration wells on the North Slope. At $100+ per barrel, it’s not because the ‘greedy’ oil companies don’t want to produce more.

    • Glen Stambaugh

      Sad that this story is not screamed far, wide and often. What does get repeated is the available lease lie.

  • Burt Prelutsky

    Jeffreydan: We agree about “Tittanic”/”L.A. Confidential” and the In Memoriam section.

    cma: I am sure that Obama has already been assured he’s getting his Oscar. The Academy decided it would be bad form to make him, Michelle and the kids, worry about it. Price Waterhouse agreed to go along with it once they were told there was an IRS audit in the works.


    • Jeffreydan

      “Jeffreydan: We agree about “Tittanic”/”L.A. Confidential” and the In Memoriam section.”

      Regarding that, I’m a little curious which overpaid idiot decided that Jeff Conaway wouldn’t take part in the Emmy reel a few months ago.

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  • Glen Stambaugh

    The “progressives” should be relabeled “REGRESSIVES” for their compulsion to drive us to ruin. They won’t be happy until eliminate all combustable fuels and render us chilly in our caves.

  • Jeffreydan

    The Academy Awards shows always fascinate me, as do the Emmys. Every year I look for the same stuff, and every so often try to make predictions: the number of blatantly idiotic wins (3-6 Mafia was my easiest pick that year), the worst robberies, the number of politically-soiled speeches, and my favorite, the number of puzzling omissions/inclusions in the “In Memoriam” segment.
    I suppose it makes sense that the same Bizarro world where Titanic is considered better than L.A. Confidential would honor Michael Jackson’s death, but ignore people like Brad Renfro and Farrah Fawcett.

  • cmacrider

    Burt: My understanding is that Barack Obama will be nominated for his role in “My Four Years in the White House.” I think he has done a good job with his lines … truly mesmerized the movie going crowd … and the way he runs up stairs would put the best actor to shame. [He isn’t actually the REAL President of the United States is he????]