Editor, Daily Nexus,
My congratulations to the UCSB chapter of the College Republicans for spending some $15,000 to bring GOP comedian Ben Stein to campus (“Ben Stein To Speak About Recruiters at UCSB,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 13).
To some, that might seem like an awful lot of money to spend on bringing to our area a man who is, at best, a mildly amusing character actor. But what do I know? I never really got “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — I think it’s actually more of a flick for “Generation Y” audiences than shiftless Gen-X slackers like myself… I’ve yet to see “Goonies” too, for that matter. And since I pretty much will have nothing to do with game shows at this stage of my life, not even “Win Ben Stein’s Money”… what was in this event for me?
This was billed as a means for you clever ironists in the College Republicans here to tweak members of our campus like myself who’d rather see the state of California divest itself as much as possible from our country’s racist and homophobic military-industrial complex (Dwight D. Eisenhower’s term, that “MIC,” not mine). I’m sure y’all scored major points with your lookylou audience members at this event (with free admission) when a whole raft of you enlisted on the spot for our brilliantly imagined war on Oceania… I mean Europa… er, our so-called “War on Terror.”
No, wait. That’s right: You all are biding your time in college as party interns trying to think of ways that you can aid the “war effort,” and convince mostly non-white or less financially privileged members of our population that they can have a role in the U.S. Armed Forces “protecting our freedoms” from Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hugo Chavez, global warming-induced hurricanes and avian flu.
Har-dee-har. What fodder for frivolity.
We have Jon Stewart. You have Ben Stein. Fine.
In all honesty, though, that $15,000 seems like a bargain. Santa Barbara isn’t a particularly funny place in which to live. Sure, we might occasionally run into John Cleese, Steve Martin or Dennis Miller at this or that State Street eatery (or at Borders). But I haven’t noticed a single comic worth a damn booked at one of our local nightclubs in I don’t know how long. And we don’t even have a regular venue for working comedians. (Does UCSB’s “Improvability” troupe count?)
On the flipside, though, I think there’s a hungry market here slavering for live humor to offset the depressing mess that both major U.S. political parties are making of our planet. So, yeah, you got your money’s worth.
Thanks too for bringing that clown Schwarzenegger to town this week. You guys are on a fucking roll.