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Home --> Politics --> Soapbox --> The Millers' Tale

The Millers' Tale

Claim:   Comedian Dennis Miller is the author of "A Brief Overview of the Situation," an Internet-circulated essay about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2002]

Dennis Miller's rant on the Middle East crisis.

"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need. Don't thank me. I'm a giver. Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention.

Before the Israelis won the land in war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no "Palestinians" then, and the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then. As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."

So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death." I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters."

Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course-that's where the real fun is-but mostly they want Israel. Why?

For one thing, trying to destroy Israel — or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it — for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on G-d's Earth, and if you've ever been around G-d's Earth, you know that's really saying something.

It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not. Or marshalling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab state into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Mr. Bush, G-d bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that with vital operations coming up against Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of supermodels who've just had their drugs taken away. However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11 our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.

If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan. (Hey, wait a minute, that's actually not such a bad id ... uh, that is, what a horrible thought, yeah, horrible.)"

Origins:   Comedian Dennis Miller Dennis Miller is celebrated for his R-rated, no-holds-barred political commentaries because they cut to the heart of disturbing issues by using humor as a lens through which to view current events. His "rants" make us laugh, but they also make us think, which lifts his form of humor above mere entertainment and into the realm of provocative editorializing that so often helps folks see old situations in a new light.

The voice of the Internet essay now attributed to him seems to many to be his, and its appearance in their inboxes emblazoned with a notation that it's "from Dennis Miller" confirms this perception. Yet the piece now being laid at his feet is not his work; it's the effort of another social commentator who bears a similar name.

This diatribe is actually part of a column by humorist Larry Miller which appeared in the Daily Standard on 22 April 2002. It is a reaction piece to a 10 April 2002 FOX News Network
interview conducted by Greta van Susteren with Ishmael Abu-Shanab, spokesman for the Hamas political wing in the Gaza strip, and American attorney Stanley Cohen, who has represented the head of Hamas.

The version circulating on the Internet omits a four-paragraph lead-in about the ludicrosity of anyone named Cohen's defending Hamas, the Palestinian organization responsible for the 27 March Passover bombing that killed 19 and injured 100 at a hotel in Netanya, as well as many other bombings. It also leaves off the five-paragraph finish primarily devoted to a discussion of Colin Powell's (then) projected peace mission and disparagement of van Susteren's politeness to her two guests. The core of the article — the "brief overview" — is reproduced faithfully.

This was not the first piece by Larry Miller to have gained widespread Internet circulation while attributed to a different source. In March 2002, his essay decrying a tendency to minimalize the horror of terrorism and society's washing its hands of problems that don't yield to easy solutions ("You Say You Want a Resolution") rocketed through cyberspace attributed to Gen. Richard E. Hawley, a United States Air Force general.

Larry Miller suffers the unenviable fate of seeing not one, but two of his essays acclaimed by the masses but attributed to other writers. This is not the sort of fame every author aspires to.

Barbara "yet again, one too many Millers has led to befuddlement" Mikkelson

Last updated:   28 July 2006

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2014 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.
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  Sources Sources:
    Miller, Larry.   "Whosoever Blesses Them."
    The Daily Standard.   22 April 2002.

    van Susteren, Greta.   "On the Record."
    FOX News Network.   10 April 2002.