Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Merry Christmas, Ben Stein

I got a viral email today with some very nice sentiments, purporting to contain the text of a message Ben Stein read on the CBS Sunday Morning show. After a little research, it turns out that some of the message - the well-written, pithy part - does indeed come from Stein. The rest, while full of admirable sentiments, is falsely attributed to him.

Here is the original text, from Mr. Stein's website:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise's wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It's not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

(Dated 12/19/05)

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  • At 11/13/2007 10:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    God bless Ben Stein.

    Although, as a young boy, I really and truly HATED Donnie Osmond (though now I'd be hard pressed to remember exactly WHY), I couldn't help set the DVR to record the whole Osmond family's appearance last week on Oprah. How refreshing, indeed, to see a family raised in show business who have never been arrested or in trouble of any kind or even had any feuds amongst themselves (the original reason for the boys to sing was to raise money for two older deaf brother's hearing aids. Seeing them all together, talking openly of their faith and how it's strengthened them...well, you didn't have to be Mormon to appreciate it.

    They said it was one of Oprah's highest rated shows. Now, that's really saying something by itself. But I think it says something more about the mood of this country.

    I'm hopeful.

    Nice post, Andrew. Thanks.

    - Frank


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