Influencing Public Opinion: It’s Part of the Job

Public intellectual hard at work

Public intellectual hard at work

Occasionally, reporters in desperate need of a quote will call me to comment upon world affairs. As a writer, my role as a “public intellectual” requires me to answer their questions, so that the public hears a range of diverse and confusing perspectives upon which to base their own snap judgments and fatuous, ill-informed opinions. I am, of course, always willing to oblige.

Since my comments appear in publications all over the world, it is difficult for readers to keep up with the breadth of my discourse on various topics. So, as a public service, I have collected my most recent quotes here, so that my readers may better understand where I stand on important issues of the day.

Q: Do you think the Minnesota dentist who shot Cecil the lion should be punished?

Me: I think he should get back to work. I have a monster cavity that’s killing me. He said he’d only be gone a week, and now it’s been more like three. (Star Tribune, Aug. 2, 2015)

Q: Do you believe in climate change?

Me: No, I believe nature is out to get me. Why, just the other day I was playing golf and a thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. I could have been killed. It felt personal. (Science Journal, July, 2015.)

Q: Do you think Donald Trump is qualified to be president?

Me: Of course. He’s rich and stupid and says the sorts of things presidents say, like “You’re fired!” and “Mexicans are criminals,” and “Yeah, I’d tap my daughter.” And besides, who better to manage the American financial system than a man who runs a casino? (Washington Post, July 4, 2015)

Q: What advice can you offer today’s college graduates?

Me: My advice to young graduates is to forget everything you’ve learned over the past seven years (i.e., party as necessary), and follow your passions wherever they may lead. You can always get a job after rehab, and day-care facilities for single parents are excellent these days. (Journal of Higher Education, June, 2015)

Q: What you think of the Iran nuclear deal?

Me: What deal? We made a deal with the Iranians? That’s impossible. Where did you hear this? Don’t you check your sources before calling people like me? Oh, I get it. Ha, ha. This is a trick question. Nice try, but I’m not an idiot. Next question. (New York Times, July 26, 2015)

 Q: When it comes to free speech, do you think corporations should be thought of as people?

Me: When it comes to free speech, I don’t even think people should be thought of as people. Have you read some of the stuff so-called “people” have said in the “comments” section of my blog? At the very least, companies usually send you a letter before they threaten to sue you. Not those savages. (Bloomberg News, June 28, 2015)

Q:Regarding the future of humanity, are you a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” kind of guy?

Me: In general, I’m a “the glass is twice as big as it needs to be” kind of guy. But if we’ve gotten to the point where people like you are asking people like me questions like that, we’re definitely doomed. (Science Journal, May, 2105)

Q: What do you think of Pope Francis?

Me: I like him. He doesn’t make me feel dirty, like some other clergymen I’ve known. He tries a little too hard with the whole “compassion for the poor” thing, but you have to hand it to the guy—the cone hat looks good on him. (Catholic Digest, June, 2015)

Q: Why do you want your book, The Bleeder, banned from public schools and libraries?

Me: Because it’s a filthy, disgusting book full of sex and drugs and dangerous, radical ideas. Teenagers, especially, should be prohibited from getting their hands on it, because it contains secret information only adults should know. It’s a dangerous, dangerous book that, in the wrongs hands, could lead to . . . certain unmentionable types of behavior. A complete and widely publicized ban is the only way to keep our children safe. (Library Journal, May, 2015)

—That’s all for now. I’ll post more items as they come in.