Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's a Long Way down to Nothing At All

Once upon a time, there was this actor named Ronald Wilson Reagan. Despite his limited ability, this guy managed to use a certain vague aura of masculinity to win roles in a significant number of films, some of them (Santa Fe Trail, Knute Rockne: All American, etc.) were not especially horrible. Most of them, however, were pretty bad.

This actor named Ronald Wilson Reagan responded to a decline in his career by ratting out his friends to Joe McCarthy, making a speech for the American Medical Association warning that Medicare would turn us into Communists and urging voters to put Barry Goldwater in the White House. Then he ran for, and won, the office of Governor of California, which he used primarily to bash "liberals" while raising taxes and for running for President- an office he finally won in 1980. And the rest is history- really sad, best-forgotten history.

Well, at around the same time Ronald Wilson Reagan was riding off into the sunset, there was this other actor, named Fred Dalton Thompson. Despite his limited ability, this guy managed to parlay a certain vague aura of masculinity to win roles in a rather small number of films, almost none of which were notable in any way (unless "Necessary Roughness" could be considered "notable.") He also did quite a bit of television before being elected to the United States Senate in a special election in 1993. In his nearly eight years in the Senate, Thompson focused on foreign policy and intelligence. He declined to seek a second full term in 2000 and returned to acting.

Well, that's pretty much where the comparison between Ronald Reagan and Fred Thompson comes to an end. It's not that Thompson didn't try his best- he was a late entry into the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes but flamed out quickly and dropped out after the first few primaries.

And now look of what has become of Fred Dalton Thompson- on late night tv, pitching Reverse Mortgages, whatever the hell they are. Well, good for you, Mr. Thompson. No, it's not the Presidency, and you don't have your hand on the nuclear button. Heck, you never even got the chance to Not Get Osama Bin Laden, like the drug-addled cowboy you once hoped to replace. But at least you're picking up a few bucks here and there, and as you yourself say in this ad, that's kind of important these days.

And at least this isn't "Necessary Roughness II." Because...well, jeesh. That was one horrible movie.


  1. I noticed when I saw Thompson in a recent episode of "The Good Wife" that he also appears to have had recent cosmetic dental work. He displayed veneers that were so bright they looked completely out of place in a man his age.

    The net effect was to make him LOOK as fake as I always knew he really was.

  2. This vaguely reminds me of the parody ad his Law and Order castmate Sam Waterston did about insurance against robot attacks; the difference is that Thompson is being serious here.

  3. I also remember someone wishing that he had, after all, cast Raygun as president in a movie; that way, his impulse to sit his stupid ass in the Oval Office would have been sated and the world would be a lot better for it.

  4. "Be prepared when the metal ones come for you....and they will."

  5. Well, I won't get at you for calling Reagan's presidency

    "sad" & "best forgotten"

    but I will try to answer your question of what reverse mortgages are. As far as I can tell. the are things for old people who still haven't paid down their houses, which reverses the flow of money from you to your creditors so that you go farther into debt, but that doesn't matter because you are on the way out, and it will all be picked up by whatever credulous deadbeat you pawn your house to.

  6. (cont.) A classic example of such (somewhat) reasonable things forming a utterly ludicrous situation can actually be found in the Cosby Show.

    Theo is ready to rent an apartment, and his mother (who is a law attorney) reads over his lease, and finds these two clauses:
    1. the occupant must maintain perfect condition of furniture or pay a fine
    2. upon the occupant's arrival the furniture
    will be moved downstairs to the lobby "which will be turned into a bowling place"