Monday, November 07, 2011

Ken Levine explains what a curmudgeon is

Small "c" intended. Mr. Levine defines what a curmudgeon is in the course of eulogizing Andy Rooney:
There’s an art to being a curmudgeon. It’s not enough to just complain about things, you have to be entertaining while doing it. Otherwise you’re just a crank or running for office. A good curmudgeon can say the things we wish we could say if we weren’t worried about losing our jobs or friends.

Andy Rooney was the best. You could watch him every week for 30 years and rarely say to the screen, “Oh shut up!” I’m sure Andy would consider that the ultimate compliment.

He was also one of the last curmudgeons. Yes, we still have Lewis Black, Fran Lieborwitz (when she's not just freeloading in the Hamptons), and a few other notable malcontents, but it’s not like the old days. Back in the ‘40s to the ‘60s, when Andy Rooney was just middle aged, the airwaves and publications were filled with these golden arch voices. George S. Kaufman, Oscar Levant, Henry Morgan, Fred Allen, and Dorothy Parker were just a few. (The ones I missed would probably say, "Typical!") They would showcase their razor-sharp wits on game show panels, radio shows, talk shows, newspaper columns, and celebrity funerals. It was certainly their heyday. There were way more forums and way fewer anti-depressant drugs.
I'd like to think that there is still one other curmudgeon out there -- namely here. You'd think that, if a true curmudgeon is really such a rara avis, there'd be opportunities for somebody like me.

But go back and read Mr. Levine's post again: "It’s not enough to just complain about things, you have to be entertaining while doing it."

We may have just identified the problem with Second Effort.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i think you're pretty nice...

smiles, bee

Jeni said...

If my opinion is worth anything to you, I'd say you definitely have all the qualifications as I almost always find your posts very entertaining -except the ones where you get really involved in legal explanations about which I usually understand next to nothing then. (But please take note that I still read them anyway -hoping someday maybe I will comprehend a few words of "legalese" language!)

sari said...

I think you're funny, I've been reading for years. :-)

(oops! an emoticon!)