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Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Need Your Help

I’m smart.


Not to sound like a clingy, insecure twat, but sometimes I’m just not sure.

In college, I made Dean’s List enough times to satisfy my parents, but they were never very demanding, so maybe that’s not the best barometer. I got a “D” in biology, which I took in college, and I suppose I could have managed a “C” if I had gone to class more than maybe 20%. One day, towards the end of the semester, I deigned to show up to take a test and there was a different professor at the front of the room.

“Who the hell is that?” I asked a classmate whose name I did not know.

“That’s the professor,” the girl answered.

“Where’s the other one—the one from the beginning?” I asked, thoroughly confused.

“On maternity leave,” she informed me, staring at me like I had a purple dick growing out of my left eye socket.

There was a pause as I took in that information.

“She was pregnant?”


John Stewart claims that you have to be smart to be a smart ass, but I’m not so sure, I might have managed to accomplish the latter while sort of skirting the former. I think I’m able to fool most people into thinking that I’m smart—the glasses and tucked-in collar shirts definitely help— and, ever since I was a little boy I’ve used my inordinate vocabulary as a cover for being intellectually average.

It is that intellectual averageness that leads me, more often than not, to lean on far smarter people for assistance. You know the kind of respect I have for you, and so I’m going to lean on you in this post. I really need your help. Your comments aren’t just snappy one-liners to me—they are fuel that helps propel me to a greater understanding of the multi-faceted and complex world in which we all inhabit together.

So, please, will you help me today, my loves?

Will you help me figure out what the fuck is going on with this Betty White shit?

I need your help, because I don’t get it.

I really, really don’t.

On Facebook which, unfortunately, is the most accurate register of popular public sentiment I can find, just take a peek:

153,187 people “like” Betty White’s “page.”

118,620 people “like” her, um, “other page.”

150,156 people want her to host the Academy Awards. Sorry, Steve & Alec.

Amazingly, only 11,786 want her on “GLEE.” Who the hell would she be? Sue Sylvester’s mother?

Right—don’t give them any ideas…

There are also pages devoted to her hosting the Emmys, the Oscars and, yes, an alien parasite. At least somebody out there still has a sense of humor.

So, I’m left to ask—- what the fuck is going on? You’ve obviously got to be smarter than me (I?) to figure this one out. Is this retro feminism? Is this… um… a suddenly socially acceptable fetish? Is it because she’s the last “Golden Girl” still to claim verticality? Even if that is the case—what’s the big deal? In 1975, was the American populous obsessed with Moe Howard—the last surviving member of the original Stooge clan?

I kind of doubt it.

Is she what we want to be when we’re in our eighties? Is she the funniest woman alive? Is the ability to be funny somehow all of a sudden attractive to us—even at Betty White’s age? I don’t know—I still kind of want to watch Sarah Silverman and Janeane Garofalo take a shower together, (gee, I hope they don’t spend much time Googling themselves) but maybe my tastes are somewhat skewed. I’ve been told that before.

Hot, comedic, fantasy-lesbian showering aside, I don’t think anybody would give two shits about Betty White if she’d stroked out years ago and was all bent up like a pretzel in a wheelchair having drool wiped off her chin by some Jamaican nurse assistant. Is that mean? Yes, but, if you think about it, it’s the truth. It’s not enough for us to have nostalgia, the memory of what someone was once upon a time, we need to be presented with a visual that is just what we remember from our own youth, and if that present image deviates from our memory, well, it’s unacceptable. Why do you think she still puts peroxide in her hair—for her health?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I think Betty White’s meteoric upswing in popularity is great—for her—and I certainly don’t hope she strokes out just to prove my point, but I just kind of wonder what the hell it’s all about and what it says about our society. I don’t think it says anything especially terrible, but I don’t think it says anything particularly great, either. It is pretty amazing that a bunch of twenty and thirty-somethings are under the spell of an elderly woman, but it’s also kind of weird, too. No doubt some stipend-starved grad student has/will a scholarly paper or article about this phenomenon, and they’ll cite statistics and sources and will spend an inordinate amount of their university’s research grants conducting interviews with assholes my age, and I kind of hope they do.

Because I’m fucking stumped. All I know is this: if Betty White scores a gig as Sue Sylvester’s mom, I’m calling her agent, because I want a cut.


  1. it's Give an Elderly a Chance month. we're pretty sure she doesn't have alzheimer's and will be able to remember all her lines. or at least read them off the teleprompter.

  2. Yeah, that would be an awesome thesis or dissertation!

    I do know there has been a little more attention lately to women in comedy, with a really aggravating article a year or two ago that raised many hackles for asserting that women are simply not funny. While that doesn't account for ALL the Betty White love, it may well be part of it.

    Also, she's just adorable.

  3. I just have one thing to say about this:


  4. I liked Betty White before it was the cool thing to do.

  5. My life would be complete if she plays Sue Sylvester's mom. She is fairly hilarious for an old lady.

    I asked this same question not too long ago, and the answer I got was that she made a comeback in the Snicker's commercial during the Superbowl. I did not see this commercial, but apparently she says something mildly sexual, and everyone knows old ladies saying mildly dirty things is the best. Then she was in "The Proposal," which was fairly funny, and then she was on SNL, which was apparently amazing. And now everyone is in love with Betty White. I'm not sure I get it, but it's the best answer people have given me.

  6. I second what Pasha said, I'm pretty sure it's the Snicker's commercial that launched her back into current popular culture.

    And stop doubting yourself Apron, you have almost 200 people who want to read what you have to say every day. If you weren't brilliant, you wouldn't have that.

  7. How does one not love Betty White... please first she was a little dirty thing on the Mary Tyler Moore show, she was naive girl from St. Olef on Golden Girls, she was the annoying girl on the Mamma's Family... she has comedic chops that far outweigh the puts that are actors out there.

    And she's been having a comeback since she was on The Practice. Then she got a lifetime award, to which she said she had slept with more people than there is in the audience, funny because she was being straight laced and not even a twitchi on her face.

    She really is funny, YouTube some of her newer shit, like how she roasts Sandra Bullock. It's a certain kind of comedy and plenty of nostalgia!

  8. Betty White as Sue Sylvesters mom! Thank you for the hilarious mental video I enjoyed for the past ten minutes. Someone needs to make this happen.

  9. She always reminded me of my grandmom. In her days on Password and Match Game she looked so much like her. She always had the innocence but underlying smart ass about her...which my grandmother had. I was very close to my grandmother so when I see Betty and how she reminds me of her...I can't help but love her! It also doesn't help that when my grandmom was alive she would watch the Golden Girls!


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