10 June, 2007

Dennis Miller on the Catholic "rulebook"

A couple of weeks ago I was driving in the DC area and had the opportunity to hear the Dennis Miller Show on the radio. The first few minutes constituted the most rational, sensible, conversation I've heard on the radio in years, where Miller faced head-on one of the victims of that now nationally-promulgated theory that Bush and Giuliani knew about the terrorist attacks of 9/11 before they happened. I've listened to the gamut from NPR to Rush Limbaugh to Michael Savage to Air America, and in all those hours, not one of them came close to the cool, calm, rationality of Dennis Miller—who made his name as a comedian on Saturday Night Live.

It didn't last long, of course, but it was enough to remind me that Dennis Miller was once one of the smartest, funniest comedians in the country.

So, I rented his HBO Special, "Dennis Miller: the Raw Feed." I regret that. Miller looked tired, certainly not up to par, and the vulgarity was excessive. It began well with Miller digging himself into a hole ("a bathosphere in the Marianas Trench," to be precise) but went downhill from there. The best part constitutes an observation on the absurdity of how the Catholic bishops handled the scandal of pedophile priests for several decades (not an exact quote):

Wait a minute. When I was a child, I was told that eating a hot dog on Friday would land me around a campfire with Hitler and Pol Pot, and suddenly we're a little murky on the rulebook?
This is a very angry statement that hits the nail on the head. Too many bishops saw themselves not as holy men but as managers of a big business and/or arbiters of a game where they could protect their friends from the rules. It's true that in a few cases the bishops were being deliberately misled by the diocesan chancery, but in most of them it was clear that they didn't care. Most notable of these, I think, was Rember Weakland, the "progressive" bishop who referred to complainants as "squealers" and threatened legal action against teachers who reported strange behavior by certain priests.

I wonder how many of them have got it through their heads even now. Either way, I'm still not a fan of Dennis Miller, even if he is both smart and funny sometimes.

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