Poor old Dan Rather is in his dotage. It’s time to take away the matches and the keys. It is no longer safe to allow him out on his own. He has lurched publicly into the “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up” twilight of advanced age. He has officially become an Old Fart. How do we know this?
The Hairy Beast’s father, The Senior Beast, often said he was able to pinpoint the exact moment his dad turned into an Old Fart.
“I was driving down route eleven towards Lake Winnipesaukee with my dad in the passenger seat and he suddenly turned to me and said ‘Y’know, just because the speed limit sign says fifty five, that don’t mean you have to go fifty five!’.”
“So I dropped down to fifty and soon enough I had a line of about thirty cars backed up behind us. Some passed, others blew their horn. I was mortified but your Grandfather just sat there smiling and bitching about Roosevelt. After a few minutes I couldn’t stand the embarrassment anymore and I sped back up. He turned to complain and I said “Pop, give me a break, these people all hate us now!” He smiled and said ‘We’re doing them a favor – we’re making them slow down!’.”
The Grandpa Beast was lucky, in a way. He had his Old Fart (pronounced “Old Fahht” in New Hampshire Dialect) Moment in front of only a few dozen people. And it was anonymous. Poor old Dan Rather’s is happening in front of the entire world. Yes, Ol’ Dan is now officially an Old Fart.
Let’s look at what makes an Old Fart an Old Fart.
1. Still Angry After All These Years.
For Old Farts, the outrage they felt over the Smoot-Hawley Tariff is just as fresh today as it was Way Back When. This ire is like a well-aged Gumbo simmering away for decades in their mental pot. It is prone to boil over at any moment and often does, particularly at the most inappropriate times. Who has not been treated to the spectacle of an Old Fart suddenly shrieking with purple-faced choler over Truman’s firing of MacArthur halfway through a wedding?
Compare this to Old Man Rather, who bitches bitterly about his forced early retirement from CBS at the unripe age of 73 and has filed a $70 million lawsuit against his former employer over it. The rest of us had all but forgotten about his role in Memogate, or filed it away in a corner of our mind reserved for specially fond memories, but not Ol’ Dan. He’s plenty hot over it still. And of course he has to embarrass his friends by pitching a huge public fit, prompting them to whisper to each other the time-honored question; “Why hasn’t his family been making him take his medication?”.
2. “I don’t care what you say he did – Stalin saved us all!”
your typical Old Fart is constitutionally unable to recognize anybody elses’ point of view. The advance of the ages has warped their memory and their perspective. They no longer recall their own mistakes or arguments to the contrary, and they don’t care to hear it anyway. Everybody else will have to cater to them and their whims. If they don’t like it they can just pass or blow their horn. Ol’ Dan doesn’t seem to care that he smeared the President with a story predicated on forged documents just weeks before a national election. He appears to have never considered that he and his producers jettisoned the most basic principles of journalism. He’s right and the rest of Planet Earth is wrong.
Old Farts say irrational stuff like “The documents may be fake but the story’s accurate.” without a shred of embarrassment.
4. Whoops – There Goes That Hip Again!
Old Farts have accidents. They pee themselves in church and set fire to the kitchen trying to heat up a can of beans. They file meritless $70 million dollar lawsuits against their former employers.
5. Everything Old Was Better, Especially If It Was Worse.
Your typical Old Fart will exclaim “When I was a kid back in the Devonian Period we had twenty one percent less oxygen in our atmosphere but we didn’t mind! We made do with what we had!” Ol’ Dan constantly points to his glory days at CBS as a triumph wherein he took over a first place news show and brought it firmly down to third, but it was better.
Well, compared to Katie Couric, maybe we can give him this one.