"Andy Rooney" and Friends

 

Twice in recent years I've been forwarded the following sage remarks from the writer and commentator Andy Rooney.  The first time I received them, back in 2003, I was sorry to see that Rooney had sunk so low as to be speaking so crassly about American life.  So even the old 60 Minutes essayist had joined the black shirts, I remember thinking.  Unable to help myself--satire is my second nature--I immediately took up Rooney's remarks and rewrote them, trying to bring out their hateful logic by exaggeration.  I intended to send my parody of Rooney's foolishness back to the people who'd forwarded me the original, but never did.  It would have accomplished nothing.

 

Then I got the same set of remarks again this January 2006.  I got them through the same Republican email grapevine.  This time, rereading them, I was a bit more skeptical.  Did Rooney really go on national TV and spout this rant?  Surely it had been doctored up by its email forwarders (or doctored down rather).  So I went and did some checking and found that in fact Rooney had never said any of it, not a single line.  The truth is that someone wrote up this bigoted rant and decided to ascribe it to Rooney.  Apparently they thought Rooney's name would give their diatribe more weight.  What's happened instead is that Rooney's been made to look like a racist hick to the tens of thousands of Americans who've opened this forward.

 

So this rant has been circulating round the Internet for a couple years now, confirming people in their racism by providing Andy Rooney's supposed endorsement.  Rooney himself has some things to say about this, as you will see below.

 

I'm posting three things here:

 

1)    the original "Rooney" rant that I've now received twice;

2)    my 2003 parody of the rant--written to show where such logic leads; and

3)    Rooney's reaction to the piece's appearance on the Internet.

 

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1) Fwd: Rooney for President!

 

You gotta love this guy!!!

 

Andy Rooney: "The truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth!"  Rooney's recent comments on 60 Minutes.

 

I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires. I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts for squirting out babies.

 

Guns do not make you a killer.  I think killing makes you a killer.  You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

 

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed.  Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?

 

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

 

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America.  Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America, and see what happens.  Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

 

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.

 

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.

 

I know what sex is, and there are not varying degrees of it.  If I received sex from one of my subordinates in my office, it wouldn't be a private matter or my personal business.  I would be "FIRED" immediately!

 

I believe that if you are selling me a milk shake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English!  As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

 

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.  I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry self if you threaten them after they tell you to stop.  If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.

 

I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation recount votes when needed. I know what the definition of lying is.

 

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

 

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.

 

I don't hate the rich.  I don't pity the poor.  I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television.  That doesn't stop you from watching them.

 

I believe a self-righteous liberal or conservative with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

 

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more.  If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.  Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

 

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"

 

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals.  I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me french fries!

 

I am sick of "Political Correctness."  I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African Americans"?  Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe.  I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.

 

-----If you don't like this point of view, DON'T PASS ON THIS EMAIL!!

 

 

2) My response before learning the remarks were falsely attributed

 

RE: Fwd: Rooney for President!

 

You recently sent me Andy Rooney on "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."  I'm returning to you a slightly exaggerated version of his remarks.  I've turned up the volume somewhat, so that you can hear more clearly what's behind such social commentary, or so that you can see where it leads.  Do you still want such a person for your president?  --E.M.

 

I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires.  I know my big cars cause global warming, but I don't care about the human future and it's my right not to care.  I'm an American and I have rights.

 

I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts for squirting out babies.  Not that there's anything wrong with large families, mind you.  One of my neighbors is an alcoholic and father of six, but I'd never say that his wife "squirted out" babies.  I'd never say it because my neighbor happens to be white.  His is a large Irish Catholic family.   And there's nothing wrong with that!

 

Guns do not make you a killer.  I think killing makes you a killer.  You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.  If I want to bring my gun into a baseball game that should be my right.  If I want to build up an arsenal in my garage and store chemical weapons in my basement that should be my right.

 

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.   I also think that if you feel black people are inferior to whites, it is not racism, but an opinion.

 

I have the right to have opinions and my opinions are trenchant.  We Americans must defend our right to have opinions!!!

 

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers.  I know so much about this because I've never been a minority myself.

 

The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America.  Supporting any of these endeavors is just as stupid as supporting special scholarships for the disabled.  In America, many black people couldn't get ahead because the white majority wouldn't let them enter the work force at other than the lowest levels.  Likewise disabled people often couldn't get ahead because the facilities they needed weren't provided by universities or in the work place.  But what's all this liberal fuss about helping minorities and disabled people overcome the barriers they face anyway?  If they can't get ahead without special help, they don't deserve to get ahead, that's what I think!  So screw these people and their difficulties!

 

I have the right NOT to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.  I especially think homosexuals and Jews are weird, and I have the right NOT to be tolerant of them if I want.  This is not racism or any kind of phobia or pathology.  No, these are my opinions, and I have A RIGHT TO MY OPINIONS!!!

 

I believe that if you are selling me a milk shake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English!  As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should HAVE TO speak English!

 

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms and dominate their economies, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our Constitution is a living document and open to their interpretations.  No, in fact our Constitution is a dead document and interpreting it is useless.  Just read the damn thing and everything is clear!  All these political and legal studies departments are nonsense!  Why do we give these people money?

 

I don't hate the rich.  I don't pity the poor.  I know pro wrestling is fake, but so is the spin on CNN and Fox News. That doesn't stop us from watching and loving them and making our political decisions based on them.  And it's our right to do so, damnit!

 

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.  Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

 

I think it would be great for America if one or two very powerful corporations controlled everything.  I imagine three deserving individuals controlling all of America and manipulating the media and courts with their vast resources.  It's time to throw out all these worries about monopolies!!!

 

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement.  Political statements should be reserved for teeshirts and bumperstickers.  Having an American flag tattoo on your arm is OK though.  Or a tattoo of a crucifix.  Now that's a political statement.

 

I'm sick of "Political Correctness."  I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"?  Besides, Africa is a continent.  I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe.  I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.  All those Irish Americans who march on St. Patrick's Day are pushing things too far.  They should forget about their supposed ethnicity and just be Americans like everyone else.

 

If you don't like my point of view--DON'T PASS ON THIS EMAIL!!  I'm outspoken, I'm smart, and I'm loved by millions of smart people like me.  You should all be good Americans like me and just say what you think without thinking about it.  Whatever crass or biased nonsense comes into your head--just shout it out!  It's your right, after all.  You're American!! 

 

Listen-- When the Founding Fathers insisted on our right to freedom of speech, they never expected us to THINK ABOUT what we said.  They just wanted us to say whatever happened to be on our minds.  And what's on my mind is all these annoying minorities and homosexuals that make me nervous.  And it is my sacred right to speak against them!! 

 

People with piercings are weird.  People in wheelchairs--if they can't get up stairways, that's their problem!  Why do we need to build ramps for them, huh?  And why should we accept Jews, niggers and queers and in our neighborhoods and schools?  Why should we, huh?  We don't have to, America!!!  Just say it!!!  Just yell out your bigotry and the world will become as you want it to be!!!

 

 

3) Andy Rooney's response to the original text

 

Rooney addressed the issue in 2003, saying:

 

About a year ago, I became aware of a . . . serious theft of my name and it is so hurtful to my reputation that it calls for legal action against the thief.  Hundreds of people have written asking if I really wrote the 20 detestable remarks made under my name that have had such wide circulation on the Internet.

 

Some of the remarks, which I will not repeat here, are viciously racist and the spirit of the whole thing is nasty, mean and totally inconsistent with my philosophy of life.  It is apparent that the list of comments has been read by hundreds of thousands of Americans, many of whom must believe that it accurately represents opinions of mine that I don't dare express in my column or on television.  It is seriously damaging to my reputation.

 

Mr. Rooney disclaimed the piece again in his 60 Minutes segment of 23 October 2005, saying of it:

 

There's a collection of racist and sexist remarks on the Internet under a picture of me with the caption 'ANDY ROONEY SAID ON 60 MINUTES.' If I could find the person who did write it using my name I would sue him.

 

 

*     *     *

 

Would it do any good, I wonder, to send these disclaimers from Andy Rooney back to the enthusiastic people--"You gotta love this guy!!"--who originally forwarded the piece to me?  Would they, for example, then send the truth about this text back up the Republican email grapevine, back to where they got it from?  I'm guessing they would not.  I know this crowd pretty well when it comes to how they do political discourse.  Facts don't matter much.  If they're disproven on one subject or found to be speaking against the facts, they will just start to talk about Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.  Or about Clinton and how he had a chance to kill bin Laden but didn't take it.  There will be no getting them to say anything along the lines of, "Oh, I guess I got that one wrong."  In this their president is really just like them. 

 

E.M.

 

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