D. Dowd Muska

 

Wisdom from a Graduate of Hard Knocks U.

May 08, 2014

Mix Will Rogers with Larry Flynt, add a dollop of Howard Beale, and you’ve got Adam Carolla.

The comedian, podcaster, entrepreneur, and pundit is a rarity in today’s media landscape: someone who refuses to make camp with either sanctimonious moonbats or addlebrained neocons.

While inattentive right-wingers claim “the Aceman” as one of their own, daily listeners to his podcast know that he’s an atheist, is comfortable with gun control and abortion, supports gay marriage, revels in sexual and bathroom humor, and is quick to drop an f-bomb. If Carolla has an ideology, it could be called “blue-collar elitism,” a concept described in President Me: The America That’s in My Head (HarperCollins Publishers; 277 pages; $26.99).

Carolla’s high-decibel rants frequently prompt his fans to encourage him to run for office. So motivated by “love of country,” President Me serves as his “official campaign platform.” Penned by an observational comedian who spends a lot of time on the road, it contains plenty of jokey content, including an improvement agenda for strip clubs, why drones should be deployed against males who wear bracelets, terrorism warnings based on the Baldwin brothers, and the author’s demand that “the surgeon general and NASA … reanimate the corpse of Marilyn Monroe.” (Per standard Carolla operating procedure, there’s abundant political incorrectness. Mexico is a “f*****-up hellhole” and “piñata of poverty.” He hates “that in America, we are so in love with the wisdom of the Orient.” He doesn’t “give a s*** about farming.” Italians “are essentially dumb Jews.” Only “half of the people that claim to be disabled actually are.” Society “shouldn’t accept obesity as okay.”)

But at the book’s core is a cri de spleen from a self-made, 50-year-old man deeply alarmed over his nation’s flight from grit, gumption, and elbow grease. Poisoned politics, bad parenting, and pop culture are to blame for a “pervasive narcissism that has slowly destroyed our country.” The “self-entitled generation” constantly seeks a handout, but, Carolla thunders, “[f]ixing your f*****-up life is not government’s job.”

AWOL parents, the influence of nimrodian buddies (many of whom “now live in s***** apartments by [a] reservoir”) and a lousy education at North Hollywood High School could have turned Carolla into an Occupy Wall Street-style whiner. It wasn’t in his nature. Instead of blaming others for his wretched existence, and expecting the “public” sector to ride to the rescue, he got to work. A series of drudgerous jobs gave way to a skilled trade, followed by successes in terrestrial radio, television, film, and Internet broadcasting.

Carolla traces his endurance amidst the brutal vicissitudes of the entertainment industry to his experiences “cleaning carpets, digging ditches, installing closets, slinging hamburgers, and swinging hammers.” It taught him “a lot of life skills,” and supplied inspiration to find an escape: “I spent my days toiling in the San Fernando Valley with stucco dust clinging to me because I was soaked in sweat. I came home looking like a white car after a brush fire. I wanted better.”

There will be no minimum-wage increases during the Carolla administration. “All this social welfare stuff seems progressive and well intentioned, but doesn’t foresee the crippling consequences. Whether it’s welfare, disability, [or] food stamps … we’re removing the motivating factor of being poor and miserable.”

President Me doesn’t mention many elected officials, but Elizabeth Warren draws Carolla’s fire, for telling Americans that “the system is rigged.” The Oklahoma-born fedpol “did just fine,” he observes: “How did you do it? You worked in a restaurant, went to school, cracked a lot of f****** books, burned a lot of midnight oil, and pulled yourself up. That’s the message. Stop telling people the system is rigged and that the deck is stacked against them. Tell them to forget the deck and focus on themselves.”

Recognizing that most wealthy folks arrived at their station not through inheritance, but perseverance, Carolla wants “a one-percenter to be president. I want the overachiever. I grew up with the 99 percent. They’re not all that noble and hardworking. A lot of them are burned-out losers.”

President Carolla’s nominee for Secretary of Labor? Pal Jimmy Kimmel, who struggled for years in no- and low-wage radio. But he “thought long term, was a team player, [and] he never made excuses,” eventually securing a lucrative late-night slot on ABC, which later produced gigs hosting the Emmys and roasting the president at a White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Usually right on target, sometimes way off base, but always witty and insightful, Carolla is a unique, if potty-mouthed, talent.

D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.

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