Groucho 24-7

Groucho Marx


Groucho Marx once said: “I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” 

He also said: “I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.”

Finally: “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

It occurs to me that the spectacle of Barack Obama meeting with GOP Representatives can be summarized by Trinitarian Groucho. The GOP with its Tea Party cathexis is both a club joined and a TV centric design and both dynamics reflect a willingness–a giddiness really–one that abjures books or important ideas.

The Tea Party crowd believes that government spending is evil. But they don’t seem to think that waging two wars without paying for them is a problem. Its all that other stuff they don’t like.

Groucho again: “Humor is reason gone mad.”

If you parse the GOP’s vision for America, which is the Tea Party’s vision (though you mustn’t call it that, for “vision” is an intellectual sounding word–call it common sense…) the whole idea is to turn America into a vast aggregation of very very poor people and a select group of immensely wealthy folks who will live in gated communities. The poor, the former middle class, will clean John Boehner’s swimming pool.

If the poor and the unraveling middle class now have a three legged stool the Tea Party types feel they ought to have no stool at all; not even a crutch.

The GOP now plans for a nation of house cleaners, a nation without medical benefits, a nation without public transportation, a country of robust entitlements for the richest which means shaking down the poor and those who are becoming poor. This is reason gone mad and unlike Keith Olbermann I can’t laugh at Glenn Beck. The Tea Party GOP has in mind the most brutal and vicious agenda for social reconstruction imaginable. The aim is to do away with everything decent that government does to protect the social order of our nation. Meantime, books are a load of crap.

“Who are you going to believe,” said Groucho, “me or your own eyes?”

How beautiful, nay, how thrilling the delusional becomes.

The GOP believes that good jobs are not coming back and that its not the business of government to help create opportunities. Only business creates opportunities. Never mind that business hasn’t moved the yardage marker in this country since the 1970’s.

The GOP believes (as Barbara Bush rather nicely put it) that the victims of Katrina were better off living in the Astrodome than they were in their own homes.

“Why should I care about posterity? What’s posterity ever done for me?” (Groucho again.)

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” (Groucho redux.)

Thinking of Glenn Beck as an author, one is indeed reminded of Groucho:

“Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book, and does.”

But withal, the Tea Party GOP isn’t funny.

Preaching cynicism about government in a time of economic collapse and yes, a time of war, is unpatriotic despite all the tri-cornered hats.

I also thought that many of the Viet Nam protests back when I was in college were essentially unpatriotic, for they spilled over into a distrust of government that was flip, ill-informed, unwashed, and designed merely to subborn good thinking.


“I read in the newspapers they are going to have 30 minutes of intellectual stuff on television every Monday from 7:30 to 8. to educate America. They couldn’t educate America if they started at 6:30.”

Nowadays TV is out to promote cynicism and the GOP is taking full advantage of the medium.

Talk about 24-7.



0 thoughts on “Groucho 24-7

  1. My personal favorite Groucho quote: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”


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