I LOVE Bill Maher’s “New Rules” segment on his HBO show. I’m pretty sure he has an army of clever little writers continuously hopped up on coffee who largely get off by making each other laugh. I can totally relate.
The segment is so good, in fact, Maher’s “New Rules” book was a smash. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are a few Rules from his website:
New Rule: Whenever you combine a secretive compound, religion and weirdos in pioneer outfits, there’s going to be some child-f*cking going on. In fact, whenever a cult leader sets himself up as “God’s infallible wing man” here on earth, lock away the kids.
New Rule: If I’m paying four bucks a gallon for gas, that TV in the pump has to show porn. This way, I’m not the only one at the pump taking it in the ass.
New Rule: If you’re in college and not drinking beer, you’re doing it wrong. Students at Utah State have taken to playing the drinking game, Beer Pong. With root beer! Instead of beer, root beer! And instead of laughing and partying and trying to get laid, everybody wishes they were dead. Hey, Mormons, if you’re going to ask kids to believe in magic underpants and posthumous baptism, don’t you kind of want to get ’em half in the bag first?
New Rule: Politicians must stop saying, “The American people are smarter than that.” No, they aren’t. If the Bush era has taught us anything, it’s that voters want a president carved from their own image. [photo of Bush making funny face] Someone who doesn’t like to read will believe anything he’s told, and is easily distracted by bright, shiny objects.
God, I could read those all day. Funny shite.
Well, as any intelligent American who watches the news coverage of our domestic and international goings on, I find certain things – words, phrases, behaviors, tendencies – drive me to the edge of reason and make me want bitch slap many of those who brave the bright lights and big lenses, exposing their idiocy for all the world to see.
No, I will not sit quietly as lawmakers, pundits, commentators, reporters, strategists, surrogates and the rest of the incestuous family of our political culture parade one ignominious annoyance after another. I veto those annoyances. In the same vein that Bill Maher erects rules, I shall have the veto.
That’s right, Meredith’s VETO, biotch.
And for my first VETO, I ban the use of the phrase “dead wrong.”
Examples of use:
Joe Biden: “There was no confirmed connection or even serious connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam, two things the vice president continued to push and continues to push which were flat dead wrong then, flat dead wrong now.”
Dick Cheney: “With respect to the charge about the president, I just think it’s dead wrong. I’ve gotten to know this man very well. I work side-by-side with him every day, seven days a week, you know, 24/7, as they say. He has a great capability that I think is absolutely essential in an effective leader, and that’s the ability to cut to the heart of the issue.”
And it’s been around a long time –
G.H.W. Bush, SOTU 1991: “But the world had to wonder what the dictator of Iraq is thinking. If he thinks that by targeting innocent civilians in Israel and Saudi Arabia, that he will gain advantage, he is dead wrong. If he thinks that he will advance his cause through tragic and despicable environmental terrorism, he is dead wrong. And if he thinks that by abusing the coalition prisoners of war he will benefit, he is dead wrong.”
Simply because one decides to use “dead” as an adjective that describes the adjective “wrong” doesn’t make the “wrong” any wronger. Same rule applies when you use “flat” in front of “dead” and “wrong.”
It’s not just politicians flinging “dead wrong” around, either – I’ve heard David Gregory recently use it and Tim Russert has bandied it about as well.
Politicians, if you use the phrase “dead wrong,” it doesn’t make you more right. It doesn’t make you the expert or your certainty warranted. It only reveals your asinine inability to prove your opinions with facts, forcing you to resort to meaningless sensationalist hyperbole and annoy those of us who fall victim to your airtime.
Why don’t you try:
I don’t agree with him.
He’s full of shit.
He’s an asshat.
His mother was whore.
The use of any of these substitutionary phrases in lieu of “dead wrong” would keep my interest and increase your stock of credibility with many of us voters and television watchers looking for someone to just speak from the heart.
Just my humble veto. The first of many.