Although the clip below from CBS’s Face The Nation is not as confrontational as the title to this post might suggest, it’s actually much funnier. Bob Schieffer annually hosts a roundtable in an attempt to bring together for an intellectual conversation four authors who wrote serious historical or political books. This year authors Ron Chernow (Washington: A Life), Arianna Huffington (Third World America), Edmund Morris (Colonel Roosevelt), and Bob Woodward (Obama’s Wars) participated in the thoughtful and sedate conversation, that is until a sound rarely, if ever, heard on a Sunday morning news show caught all viewers by surprise: a censor bleeping.
Earlier in the show, Schieffer probed Theodore Roosevelt biographer Morris about what Roosevelt would think of the Tea Party movement. Morris bristled at the idea of attempting to do the impossible and predict what a dead President would think of current events. However, that did not stop Schieffer from trying again with this exchange:
Schieffer: What would Teddy Roosevelt think of today’s politics, Edmund?
Morris: You keep asking these presentist questions Bob. As the immortal Marisa Tomei said in My Cousin Vinny, ‘that’s a bullshit question!’ because you cannot pluck people out of the past and expect them to comment on what’s happening today.
Not only was the expletive jarring, but so was hearing the erudite author change the tone of his voice in an attempt to mimic Tomei’s movie accent. The moment got even stranger as just seconds later the American film buff launched a devastatingly serious critique about what he sees as unattractive about the American people today:
I see an insular people who are insensitive to foreign sensibilities, who are lazy, obese, complacent and increasingly perplexed as to why [Americans] are losing our place in the world to people who are more dynamic than us and more disciplined.
Wow tell us how you really feel Morris. Maybe if America gave him a sequel to My Cousin Vinny he would be happier with our country? What is sad though is that after hearing such a controversial statement, Schieffer suggests that it’s a good place to take a break. Really, just when the conversation was getting interesting? This is where Schieffer’s folksy, non-confrontational style often leaves viewers thirsty for more. Huffington at least had the good sense to get slightly riled up and want to defend Americans.
Some other interesting nuggets from this discussion included Woodward revealing he almost named his Obama book “The Divided Man” and a back-and-forth between Woodward and Morris whether Obama has enough spare time to write his own speeches, but nothing compares to the thrilling unpredictability of an uninhibited guest like Morris who in one breath idolizes America’s “immortal” movie stars, but in the next laments the rest of America as fat and lazy.
Watch the video from CBS Face The Nation below:
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