april 2003

click here for permalink April 03, 2003

When did Dennis Miller turn into such a cranky, belligerent, old conservative? I just noticed it last night when I saw him on Jay Leno, where he frequently appears to deliver his trademark socially-relevant, long-winded rants...

After opening with a ubiquitous jab at shamed war correspondent Geraldo Rivera, he took aim at the rest of the ununiformed masses. In a series of seething, obscurity-laden diatribes, he railed against the likes of Peter Arnett, Michael Moore, The Dixie Chicks, pacifists in general, protesters in particular, the U.N., the first amendment, the environment and the vast, unexploited resource that is Alaska.

What was he in favor of, you ask? Well, obviously, the war... and, naturally, the troops... and — gushingly — the President.

Oh yeah, and Eminem... for "having the balls" to boycott the Oscars. Mm. Way to take a stand...

Miller's signature sarcasm and encyclopedic vocabulary, once wielded with merciless precision and deadly accuracy, helped to establish him as a cynical yet incisive social critic. On SNL's Weekend Update and, later, his own Comedy Central show, he targeted the extreme right and the extreme left with equal fervor, exposing society's hypocrites, liars, cowards and con artists with little regard for their political preference.

These days, he makes no attempt to hide the fact that his political beliefs have shifted since September 11th. He comes across less bellicose than bitter, less questioning than ignorant and less cynical than deeply, depressingly nasty.

If it wasn't for the fact that his self-congratulatory smugness is utterly undiminished, I might conclude that Miller is simply bored with the state of the world — and I wouldn't have blamed him. But it's pretty clear that, at least for now, Dennis has shelved the piercing, discriminating intellect I fell in love with at the age of twelve in favor of a kind of fatuous bluster that's lowbrow enough for the talk radio crowd to follow along.