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For those readers who are under the tender age of, oh, I don't know, maybe thirty, the Paleolithic-era program Saturday Night Live used to actually be funny. Hey, I know it's hard to believe, watching it now, when, in an hour-and-a-half you get, maybe, a half dozen mild chuckles. But back in the day, the "Not Ready for Primetime Players" were actual comedians. Who were actually funny. Those of us fossils who have hung in through the years lament the demise of SNL's actual humor to the much easier temptation of simple (and generally lame) sarcasm. At some point during that long slow fall to mediocrity, a young comic named Billy Crystal joined the cast, and, in addition to stunningly accurate parodies of Muhammad Ali, produced a Fernando Lamas-ish character who had a catch-phrase: "Dahling, you look MAHVELOUS!"This turned into a thing for a while. People were walking around telling each other they looked MAHVELOUS, but it didn't last. Unlike "Sorry about that" (Get Smart) or "Well, excuuuuse me!" (Saturday Night Live's Steve Martin), it didn't have the charisma or luck or whatever it takes to lodge itself semi-permanently into whatever the hell it is that we have that substitutes for a real American culture. It was here and gone in a year or two.Back then, I remember one particular riff Billy delivered that went something like this: "Dahling, you look MAHVELOUS! And of course, we all know it is more important to look MAHVELOUS than it is to be MAHVELOUS!"That's how I felt this morning, when I heard the news: the Nobel Committee has decided that, out of six billion human beings on this poor, tired, war-besotted planet, the one most committed to making peace is President Barack "Afghanistan's the GOOD War" Obama. Yup. According to the geniuses in Oslo, nobody's done more for peace than our very own Prez. Not Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector, whose tireless efforts almost stopped the invasion of Iraq. Not Dr. Mohamed el Baradei, the head of the IAEA, who was dovish enough to win the award in 2005 and continues to point out that Iran is NOT in violation of international law at a time when American presidents (including the current one) keep trying to say Iran is. Not Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, who finds ways to get into the kitchen of the chefs of conflict and drop the occasional cockroach into the stew of their war plans. Nope, there just wasn't anybody more peace-y than our own Barack Obama.Remember, this is the guy who said he was going to get us out of Iraq. Are we making any progress there? Sure! Just as we are making progress in closing Guantanamo, stopping the torture of detainees, and ending the secret and illegal spying on Americans. It was Barack Obama who said, "We are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight," and then proceeded to make the first year resemble the last one as much as possible. And it is Barack Obama who recently ruled out any reduction of troops in his "Good War," Afghanistan, and is deciding between the two peaceful options of (1) 40,000 to 60,000 more troops (read: quagmire) or (2) increased drone and special forces attacks (read: assassinations and dead civilians). Yup, that's how we wage peace in America!Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those logically-impaired right-wing drones who clapped when they announced that Chicago was out of Olympic-hosting contention in the first round. I've never shouted "You lie!" at a town meeting; I don't watch Faux News Channel; I'm not a dittohead. I'm not a liberal, not even a progressive: I'm a damn radical (I sometimes find Mike Malloy a little too polite for my taste). Hell, I voted for Obama. I voted for the man because, as usual, he was the lesser of two evils presented in what we pretend are Presidential elections in America. I've watched with as much detachment as I could muster as Obama, on issue after issue, waffled, folded, twiddled his thumbs or just plain turned coat, suppressing my urge to gloat over the Obamaniacs in my acquaintance.But presenting Obama with a Nobel Prize for Peace is like the Boy Scouts giving Moammar al Qaddafi the "Camper of the Year" award. It's like the League of Women Voters giving Rod Blagojovich the "Clean Government" prize. They might as well have given the Peace Prize to "Shotgun" Dick Cheney or Robert McNamara. After all, the millions of dead in Iraq and Vietnam are pretty damn peaceful now, aren't they?I told my wife about it and she assumed I was kidding. She was so convinced I was kidding that, for a moment, I had to reboot my brain to be sure I wasn't kidding. I thought the announcer on Democracy Now! was kidding when he said it. I checked the calendar to be sure it wasn't April 1st. Unfortunately, it wasn't. It was October 9, 2009, and I don't think we're in Kansas any more, Toto.So I'm forced to the conclusion that Billy Crystal has taken over the Nobel Committee and is running his old joke on us. Because, dahling, Obama looks MAHVELOUS! And we all know, it's more important to look like a peacemaker than it is to actually be one.

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0 # artcraft 2009-11-01 05:05
Hello from Maine -

Billy Crystal was imitating Fernando Lamas on the Johnny Carson Show, not Ricardo Montalban.

If you re-edit the text for Lamas the article will rate a $100% in my opinion.

Crystal was hilarious with that routine.

Regards, Douglas Henderson
 

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