Vital Signs

Rich Snit

Frank Rich, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, is an annoying public presence. He is paid by the Newspaper of Record to work himself into a twice-weekly snit, his love of the suit-state making clear that he would do it all for free if he had to. Rich spends much of his professional time in high outrage over the actions or ideas of politicians, especially conservative politicians. He is often wrong, of course, but who cares? Not political Washington, which simply ignores him, although this surely would come as news to Frank Rich.

But even inconsequential public voices can go too far. In his column of June 27, Frank Rich got his shorts in a wad over—well, over Ozzie and Harriet. It seems that the Nelsons and their long-running television comedy, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, were responsible for chronic emotional pain during the years of Rich's TV-watching boyhood. Both young Frank and his divorced, working mom were made to feel "woefully deficient" by Ozzie and Harriet, a show that "created the cultural template for suburban family values in the postwar era." Chief among those values was the importance to a family of the presence of a father, a value the grownup Frank Rich, to close his tortured loop of thought, now dismisses as a highly suspect "truism."

As if all that weren't bad enough, here comes the knife-twist in Rich's still fresh wounds,...

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