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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Midday Musings-This Jay Nordinger Impromptu is interesting
Over the weekend, I was at a home in which an Ellen DeGeneres comedy concert was playing on television. I tried to ignore it, but I was enticed in. I was amazed to discover that it was smart, endearing, and marvelously executed. I said to my host, "Gosh, I'm shocked: This is really good. Wonderful, in fact." And he replied — trying to pull PC rank on me, trying to put me down as a Neanderthal — "Come on, Jay, just because she's a lesbian doesn't mean she's dumb." Ooh, burned me. Of course, what I meant was that I'd expected her to be rather political, strident, culty — a minority taste. Instead, she discoursed on the usual fare of the "clean" comedian — elevator etiquette; the difficulty of opening certain products; stumbling on the sidewalk — and she did so more effectively and winningly than just about anyone. That's what I was surprised about. So there.
Back before she outed herself, I remember having something of a crush on her. She did clean comedy and seemed to be a smart gal that would be good company. One of the problems with modern comedy is that it frequently heads into the sexual gutter. She didn't head there back when she was "closeted", and for good reason; she didn't want to scare off half her audience by talking about a lesbian love life. When's she's merely a comedienne, she's one of the best; up at EPCOT, they have her doing the comedic commentary at a geohistory-of-fossil-fuels exhibit, and she does a great job. When she becomes a lesbian comedienne, the right half of the audience reaches for the remote. _____ This is a troubling one from yesterday. J.P. Morgan and Citigroup both shelled out nine-figure sums for helping with Enron's creative financing. In one of those classic bits of legalese, neither company admitted any guily, yet each forked over over $100 million. I'm not sure if this is a good thing. If banks and other financial players can be hauled into court for creative finance that is legal but pushed the envelope, will they become more circumspect in the future, or become too circumspect and play things too tight to the vest? ____ The hot-button of the day seems to be the redacted chapter of the 9-11 joint congressional committee, which seems to point to Saudi governmental involvement in 9-11. Everyone except the White House, including the Saudis, seems to want this declassified. I hear the White House saying "Not now, please. Let's get Iraq more in order before this five-ton piece of horse puckey hits the fan." For when this does hit the fan, it will likely change the geopolitics of the Middle East for good. I got a hunch that the Bush administration will have to add the Saudis to the Axis of Evil within months, but they don't quite have the geopolitical capital to do it right at the moment. A success in Liberia and some additional good news out of Iraq will give Dubya enough extra geopolitical capital to go to the mat with the Saudis. Right now, with the Niger tempest-in-a-teapot still subsiding, he's a little bit underarmed.

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