Televised Live With No Preparasian

May 16th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Like my mom, my instinct before tests was always to procrastinate, cram like hell, and pat myself on the back for getting an A+ on a test. My father, on the other hand, would set study schedules that required regulated eating patterns on top of rote memorization, practice tests, and self-administered pop quizzes. He always passed exams with flying colors because he was always 100% prepared. It was no wonder, then, that he was surprised to find himself with a blank mind once and one time only–during his final University thesis, an oral exam administrated by his University mentor. He couldn’t believe it–he just stammered, unable to reach for the solution to the one question in the world he couldn’t possibly have answered, eventually mumbling his way through enough adequate bullshit peppered with appropriate-sounding words. Somehow, he wasn’t busted, and he passed.

This moment, which I now refer to as “Dad’s Singular Moment of Desperasian” was arguably one of the worst in my father’s life–and we’re talking about a man who fought in the opposing army to his own Pop and crossed the Ocean not once, but twice, during the Vietnam war–because he felt responsible for his own downfall. He hadn’t prepared 100% this time. He had clearly only prepared 98%.

Later, he was so determined that none of his four daughters would ever experience such a shameful event (oh lofty goals), pressing on us for years to study with diligince and respect, and never be caught empty handed when knowledge was meant to be on our side.

So you can imagine how horrified Dad would be if Kevin James, right wing radio host for KRLA in Los Angeles, was his son. No, not just because he’s a goofy, loud-mouthed, and not Asian (I’m sure there would be lots of questions for Mom)–but because yesterday he got his ass handed to him on Hardball. He hadn’t thought to prepare.

We’ve all observed George W. Bush’s deplorable choice to make a pointed attack on Obama’s foreign policy. CNN reports:

“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Bush said at Israel’s 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.

“We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said in remarks to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”

And many of us immediately racked our brains for the historical facts. Bush referring to “appeasement” suddenly made many of us think about Former British prime minister Neville Chamberlin, who urged the cessation of a large part of the Czechoslovakian state to Germany in 1938. And if it didn’t, the rest of us probably Googled “appeasement” and “1938″ to start doing our research.

But before going on Hardball to spar with host Chris Matthews and Air America President Mark Green, James did not think, nor Google, nor prepare. So after much ranting loudly about how proud he was of Bush’s comments, and how appropriate those historical references were, he could not confirm any historical knowledge. In fact, he simply couldn’t answer Matthews’s one simple question: Historically, what did Neville Chamberlin do that was so wrong?


Being busted this badly in public just shouldn’t happen. Being called “pathetic” when you’re live to camera just shouldn’t happen. I tell you, I cringe violently from embarrassment when I hear James trying to fake it (“He was…an appeaser!”) or fight his flustered feelings (“Nevin Chamber was… an appeaser, Chris!”). My heart actually aches a little for his hot little head, scrambling for some other word that doesn’t rhyme with “geezer.”

And I just wish James had either done his homework or had a dad like mine. At least before he humiliated himself on live television.

Thanks, RJ!

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