Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Larry David Finds His Inner "Nature Boy" 

If you haven't taken a look at "Campus Progress," the collegiate offshoot of The Center For American Progress, you should. Lots of good and interesting stuff there. Especially, an enticing essay by Larry David, about how he got religion, at least about the environment.

Before you take a look, though, refresh your memory from this Digby post about Tony Blankley's take on the meaning of the Larry David character Larry David plays in "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Unfortunately, the link to the actual LA Times op ed is no longer hot, but this quote Digby provides gives some indication of how utterly lame is the right wing ability to fathom anything that does not partake of its own propagandistic frame of mind. Now, I'm sure that Blankley laughs at "Curb Your Enthusiasm," it's a consistently, insanely funny show, but apparently he's never really understood what makes that "Larry David" so funny. Imagining that the real Larry David might be like the Larry David he plays in the series, Blankely imagines that Larry David is really his kind of guy. See what you think.
But if he is anything like his character, he is, at heart, a conservative: He refuses to put up with nonsense; he's remorselessly politically incorrect, and he is fundamentally sensible. If he'll just listen, I'll expose his mind to the sensible conservative explanations for the great issues of the day. He'll be my first convert deep in the belly of the liberal Hollywood beast.
That's almost as funny as anything on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," except Blankely has no idea why it's funny, as opposed to being the clever, witty riff he assumes it to be.

If you have any doubts about the fact that Larry David knows exactly what's funny about both Larry Davids, the character whose enthusiasm is always in the process of being curbed, and the writer/actor who created him, read the latter's essay at College Progress.

"Nature Boy" Larry David

By Larry David

I am pleased to announce that after a lifetime of indifference to man and nature, I have changed. I am now only indifferent to man. Yes, my friends, I’ve become “Nature Boy” Larry, committed activist. Fighting the good fight. Walking the walk . . . or is it talking the talk? I’m pretty sure it’s some combination of walking and talking.

How could such a transformation take place? How did I go from being Larry David, radical narcissist, to Larry David, radical environmentalist? Let me give you some background.

I grew up in Brooklyn. Of all the wonders and pleasures that Mother Earth has bestowed upon us, none of them could be found in Brooklyn. The only grass I ever saw was on the divider of the Belt Parkway. There were no flowers. Just artificial ones. Every apartment had artificial flowers. People took great pride in their artificial flowers—and fruit. Let’s not leave out the fruit. Anything fake. We loved good, fake things. The greatest compliment you could give somebody was to mistakenly pick up a piece of their artificial fruit and try to take a bite out of it. That made their day.

But I couldn’t smell a real flower anyway. I was born with the ability to smell only disgusting things. I never smell anything pleasant. Ever. You can shove a lilac up my nose, and I wouldn’t smell it, but urine and BO I can smell from three blocks away. And Brooklyn was not wanting for disgusting odors. Bus fumes, garbage, cigarette smoke. Everybody in Brooklyn smoked. Even nine-year-olds. You walk into someone’s house, you’re greeted with smoke in the face. The whole borough was hacking and coughing and spitting. There was phlegm everywhere. It was flying at you from every direction. Out of windows, cars. Anywhere you walked, you had to keep ducking so you wouldn’t get hit. It was like a shooting gallery.

And of course, needless to say, there were no animals in my life. My mother hated animals. All of them. If she had her way, she would kill every living animal on the planet. She looked at extinction as a good thing. When an animal was put on the endangered-species list, she went out and got drunk. “Let ‘em all die. Who needs ‘em? What good are they doing?”

There's a lot more, and it's all just as funny.

Tony Blankely, self-described "Radical narcissist." Works for me.

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