Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinionby David Brinkley
No matter how seriously we take our politics, Americans love a light touch, a raised eyebrow, a generous chuckle - which is why millions of us tune in to Sunday morning television for the bracing cocktail of wit and practical wisdom dispensed, along with the news, by the inimitable David Brinkley. His closing remarks, like an exclamation point after each broadcast,… See more details below
No matter how seriously we take our politics, Americans love a light touch, a raised eyebrow, a generous chuckle - which is why millions of us tune in to Sunday morning television for the bracing cocktail of wit and practical wisdom dispensed, along with the news, by the inimitable David Brinkley. His closing remarks, like an exclamation point after each broadcast, may illuminate the week's events or they may range widely through the oft-puzzling human condition - but they're always worth waiting for. In this one-of-a-kind book, we get the undiluted Brinkley. He marvels at government regulations that require paint cans to bear a label reading "Do not drink paint." He nominates Richard Nixon as Official U.S. Government Scapegoat. He commiserates with an Oklahoma mayor who must earn extra money by collecting beer cans and claiming the deposits. He reminisces about a White House that welcomed casual picnickers on its lawn. He forgives George Bush for passing out in Tokyo. He observes that "if we can put a man on the moon, we could put Congress in orbit." He skewers lawyers, bureaucrats, Washington insiders, hypocrites of all stripes. He commemorates absurdity - and hence suffers fools gladly.
The venerable Brinkley, who gave us his more substantive (if still characteristically anecdotal) Memoirs last year, takes on the usual Establishment targets, but his potshots are throwaways180 pieces in 192 scant pages. In the aggregate, they constitute time- capsule commentary on the culture of the past decade and a half, however slight: The fastest-growing job in government (as of April 23, 1988) was that of prison guard; the IRS will be set up within one month after nuclear attack to collect taxes (this per some government memo); daylight saving time was moved up to the first Sunday in April due to lobbying by the Barbecue Industry Association. Brinkley ranges well beyond the Washington bureaucracy, sometimes pithily ("The Constitution calls for electing a president every four years, but it does not say we have to spend the whole four years doing it"), more often lamely (on why the Arabs need Israel: "What would they find to do with themselves? What would . . . Arafat do for excitement?").
While Brinkley's authoritative weariness informs every one of the program-closing snippets, his stubbornly clipped sentences fail to resonate on the page as they do on the air. Clearly, his gift is lodged in the deliveryat least when it comes to afterthoughts.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.31(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.92(d)
Read an Excerpt
February 23, 1992
President Bush in his State of the Union Speech said he would order a stop, for a limited time, to the issuing of new government regulations. There are so many of these that a government newspaper called the Federal Register prints nothing but new rules and regulations. Why Mr. Bush stopped it temporarily was not clear, but it is clear that manufacturers complaining that they are drenched, drowned in a constant flood of new regulations, each one requiring another label, another sticker, another warning. A quick count in one bathroom found fifty warnings, some of them useful and necessary, some of them quite silly.
Because of overeager regulators, who apparently find some pleasure in it, the Federal Register bulges. It includes such warnings as a label on paint cans saying "Do not drink paint." And a label on an electric hair dryer saying "Do not use while sleeping."
What would we do without Washington to look out for us?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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