Another Tack: Latter-day 'Queen for a day'

Way back in the antediluvian era of American media, there was a daytime TV offering called Queen for a Day. Many consider it the early forerunner of at least some reality television genres – the sort that focus on family tragedies, personal agonies and other assorted heartrending crises. Each episode featured four contestants vying for the “most miserable” or “most pitiable” distinction. The dubious winner’s bitter lot was rewarded with big-prize giveaways.
It was up to the audience to judge which of the four unfortunates was closer to rock bottom and therefore worthy of their sympathy. That sympathy was grotesquely measured by an “applause meter.” The loudest clapping presumably meant that the circumstances unfolded in one of the competing sad stories were the harshest. Continue reading

Another Tack: Afraid of victory

In 1933 FDR hinged his first inaugural address on his “firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Binyamin Netanyahu should inaugurate his second administration with this exact sentiment, stated as boldly and as unambiguously. Unlike the morale issues of Depression-era America, in our case irrational fear is an existential threat. Continue reading

Another Tack: Sir Charles to the rescue

In the spirit of Purim, I quipped a few days ago that if it were up to me, I’d appoint ex-Black Panther Charlie Biton our new foreign minister.

It’s actually not altogether preposterous. Tzipi Livni eminently proved that proficiency in the English idiom is no prerequisite for the job. Moreover, Charlie says it like it is, passionately, from the gut, without pedantic quibbling, pseudointellectual hairsplitting or any niceties to speak of. He doesn’t try to be liked. Continue reading

Another Tack: The thin end of the wedge

The textbook notion of government is that the executive branch, headed by the prime minister, is actually in control, formulates policy and calls the shots. That’s the na├»ve theory. But as Sir Humphrey, Yes Minister/Prime Minister‘s quintessential civil servant has relentlessly striven to enlighten TV audiences worldwide, true power resides elsewhere. When James Hacker assumed office, Humphrey lost no time to put him in his place. Continue reading