Mark Hemingway on “30 Rock”

Did you watch “30 Rock” the other day and hear a cryptic reference to someone you faintly recall hearing of recently? Well, remember how I mentioned Lutheran journalist and conservative pundit Mark Hemingway the other day? Well, he’s made it to the big time: having his name taken in vain on a sit-com and becoming a pop culture reference.

Now the political insider site Politico is talking about this. It’s a genuinely funny line, and Mark is both taking it in good humor and reveling in the attention.

What else do “30 Rock,” “Politico,” and the Cranach blog have in common?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I guess I could buy that it’s a reference to Mark, but that would be a rather obscure reference that almost no one would get (sorry, Mark).

    I think the main function of the joke is to compare her words to that of an unheard-of Hemingway (who presumably is unknown because he’s not, well, a writer of great prose). As such, any name that wasn’t Ernest would have served as a punchline.

    But Mark should definitely revel in it as much as possible, either way.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I guess I could buy that it’s a reference to Mark, but that would be a rather obscure reference that almost no one would get (sorry, Mark).

    I think the main function of the joke is to compare her words to that of an unheard-of Hemingway (who presumably is unknown because he’s not, well, a writer of great prose). As such, any name that wasn’t Ernest would have served as a punchline.

    But Mark should definitely revel in it as much as possible, either way.

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » Good stuff found by Norm: Mollie’s Husband – the Other Hemingway, is Spoofed on NBC’s “30 Rock”

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » Good stuff found by Norm: Mollie’s Husband – the Other Hemingway, is Spoofed on NBC’s “30 Rock”

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD: “I think the main function of the joke is to compare her words to that of an unheard-of Hemingway”

    “Unheard-of”?!?

    Paul Begala and the DemocraticUnderground.com have noted (and written about) Mark Hemingway a number of times.

  • Carl Vehse

    tODD: “I think the main function of the joke is to compare her words to that of an unheard-of Hemingway”

    “Unheard-of”?!?

    Paul Begala and the DemocraticUnderground.com have noted (and written about) Mark Hemingway a number of times.

  • Jonathan

    Just ‘Google’ M.H. and see what you get. Hardly obscure. No doubt it’s a reference to the man, the myth, the legend.

  • Jonathan

    Just ‘Google’ M.H. and see what you get. Hardly obscure. No doubt it’s a reference to the man, the myth, the legend.

  • Dan Kempin

    I’ve never been impressed with Ernest as a great writer. Maybe I just don’t get it, but personally, I don’t think there is anything to get. He had tremendous influence as a man of his times and an icon of despair, but a great writer? I just don’t see it.

    (In case anyone actually responds, I’m willing to concede The Old Man and the Sea.)

  • Dan Kempin

    I’ve never been impressed with Ernest as a great writer. Maybe I just don’t get it, but personally, I don’t think there is anything to get. He had tremendous influence as a man of his times and an icon of despair, but a great writer? I just don’t see it.

    (In case anyone actually responds, I’m willing to concede The Old Man and the Sea.)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    This threatens to hijack the thread, but what else have you ever read of Ernest Hemingway? “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is absolutely phenomenal. He indeed was a great writer. Some of his books were a bit on the lousy side. But he had a lot of good ones, well worth reading.
    For the rest of it, I tend to believe that Tina and Baldwin meant Mark. The deeper irony in all this is where they were trying to slam his writing abilities, they were in effect admitting that he was a writer to take notice of.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Dan,
    This threatens to hijack the thread, but what else have you ever read of Ernest Hemingway? “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is absolutely phenomenal. He indeed was a great writer. Some of his books were a bit on the lousy side. But he had a lot of good ones, well worth reading.
    For the rest of it, I tend to believe that Tina and Baldwin meant Mark. The deeper irony in all this is where they were trying to slam his writing abilities, they were in effect admitting that he was a writer to take notice of.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror,

    I agree that I don’t want to hijack the thread, but Ernest Hemingway as a great author is an enigma that I have pursued for some time. I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, expecting to be wowed. The effect was just the opposite. I read The Sun Also Rises. My lack of impression increased.

    I’m not saying that he was a bad writer or that his books are not worth reading–they are certainly valuable as a vivid window into a significant historical time–I just don’t get how he is makes the cut as a “great” author. How is it that we seem to elevate anyone who is self destructive, cynical, and suicidal as brilliant? Perhaps that is at the heart of my struggle.

    Btw, if you want to read a brilliantly written book by a suicidal author, try A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror,

    I agree that I don’t want to hijack the thread, but Ernest Hemingway as a great author is an enigma that I have pursued for some time. I read For Whom the Bell Tolls, expecting to be wowed. The effect was just the opposite. I read The Sun Also Rises. My lack of impression increased.

    I’m not saying that he was a bad writer or that his books are not worth reading–they are certainly valuable as a vivid window into a significant historical time–I just don’t get how he is makes the cut as a “great” author. How is it that we seem to elevate anyone who is self destructive, cynical, and suicidal as brilliant? Perhaps that is at the heart of my struggle.

    Btw, if you want to read a brilliantly written book by a suicidal author, try A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Try “A Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” in which Hemingway (Ernest, not Mark) tells about a love triangle in the midst of a thrilling hunting safari, entering every point of view–including a lion–except for the woman. It’s a tour de force, and he’s got a lot of force, despite his existentialism.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    Try “A Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” in which Hemingway (Ernest, not Mark) tells about a love triangle in the midst of a thrilling hunting safari, entering every point of view–including a lion–except for the woman. It’s a tour de force, and he’s got a lot of force, despite his existentialism.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I loved that one too, Veith. I generally like Ernest Hemingays short stories and books though. Perhaps we need another post to talk about that on though. Some of his writing, Old Man and the Sea, for instance had strong Christian themes in it. But I am not a literary critic that picks up on all that stuff.
    Women, I understand, tend to not like his work. “He doesn’t write women well.” Oh well, he develops human characters, and writes women as a man sees them.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I loved that one too, Veith. I generally like Ernest Hemingays short stories and books though. Perhaps we need another post to talk about that on though. Some of his writing, Old Man and the Sea, for instance had strong Christian themes in it. But I am not a literary critic that picks up on all that stuff.
    Women, I understand, tend to not like his work. “He doesn’t write women well.” Oh well, he develops human characters, and writes women as a man sees them.

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. Veith,

    On your recommendation, I will do that.

    And since I have already been rude enough to disrupt the thread, I would love your literary perspective on “a confederacy of dunces.” I chuckled out loud to myself this morning just remembering it, and I haven’t read it in years.

    Bror,

    Something in your comment clicked with me. Perhaps part of the reason for Hemingway’s (Ernest, not Mark) iconic status is his unabashed masculinity in an era of feminization. Say whatever else you will, he definitely wrote as a man. Thanks for the insight.

  • Dan Kempin

    Dr. Veith,

    On your recommendation, I will do that.

    And since I have already been rude enough to disrupt the thread, I would love your literary perspective on “a confederacy of dunces.” I chuckled out loud to myself this morning just remembering it, and I haven’t read it in years.

    Bror,

    Something in your comment clicked with me. Perhaps part of the reason for Hemingway’s (Ernest, not Mark) iconic status is his unabashed masculinity in an era of feminization. Say whatever else you will, he definitely wrote as a man. Thanks for the insight.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And back to Mark.
    I must say, I haven’t read any of his stuff. I don’t read much on the political scene these days, but perhaps I ought to start.
    As for tODD’s assertion that they could have put any first name their for the punch line, I suppose in a way it is true, but they didn’t use Mollie’s. I imagine the joke only came about after the writers had been introduced to Mark Hemingway’s writing. Why would you make up a fictional character named Mark Hemingway for a joke?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    And back to Mark.
    I must say, I haven’t read any of his stuff. I don’t read much on the political scene these days, but perhaps I ought to start.
    As for tODD’s assertion that they could have put any first name their for the punch line, I suppose in a way it is true, but they didn’t use Mollie’s. I imagine the joke only came about after the writers had been introduced to Mark Hemingway’s writing. Why would you make up a fictional character named Mark Hemingway for a joke?

  • J

    Tina Fey seemed to doing her great Sarah Palin impression again, what will all that pompous incoherence.

  • J

    Tina Fey seemed to doing her great Sarah Palin impression again, what will all that pompous incoherence.

  • Julie Voss

    Our LCMS pastor has a relative on the show.

  • Julie Voss

    Our LCMS pastor has a relative on the show.

  • Julie Voss

    The man who plays Lutz is a LCMS PK I believe.

  • Julie Voss

    The man who plays Lutz is a LCMS PK I believe.

  • Kirk

    @J

    Nice trolling. You win!

  • Kirk

    @J

    Nice trolling. You win!

  • revfisk

    Q: Why did the chicken that E. Hemingway owned cross the road?

    A: To die. In the rain.

  • revfisk

    Q: Why did the chicken that E. Hemingway owned cross the road?

    A: To die. In the rain.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mark and Mollie Hemingway are bright, young, serious, and religious conservative writers with a good sense of the modern scene, similar to Veith and the Cranach blog except perhaps for the young part.

    As to Tina Fey and Rock 30, neither have much redeeming value. I tried the show a few times and found the humor good but the content shallow.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mark and Mollie Hemingway are bright, young, serious, and religious conservative writers with a good sense of the modern scene, similar to Veith and the Cranach blog except perhaps for the young part.

    As to Tina Fey and Rock 30, neither have much redeeming value. I tried the show a few times and found the humor good but the content shallow.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    The Sarah Palin–sorry!, I mean Tina Fey character was going on with a weird bird metaphor. I believe that Mark Hemingway also used a rather bold bird metaphor in one of his National Review columns. Does anyone recall which one that was?

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    The Sarah Palin–sorry!, I mean Tina Fey character was going on with a weird bird metaphor. I believe that Mark Hemingway also used a rather bold bird metaphor in one of his National Review columns. Does anyone recall which one that was?

  • Dan Kempin

    !!Unrelated Post!!

    Dr. Veith,

    I thought I would share this thought provoking story from Minnesota: (I am placing it in an old post in the hope that you will see it without disturbing the other posters.)

    http://www.startribune.com/local/north/79699227.html

    A young man stole from his grandfather. Rather than take the matter to the government authorities, the family took the discipline of this man on themselves. They are now being charged as felons.

    Regardless of the specific details of the case, which are rather like a low budget spoof of ‘Goodfellas,’ this got me thinking about the fourth commandment, the family, and the state. Should the uncles, however brutal their method, be given some credit for maintaining discipline within their family, or does the state have the right to claim any or all authority that is rightly vested within a family? (e.g., spanking children, educational curricula, etc.) Where should that line be drawn, and what clarity can we bring to the discussion from a Lutheran perspective?

    Just a thought . . .

  • Dan Kempin

    !!Unrelated Post!!

    Dr. Veith,

    I thought I would share this thought provoking story from Minnesota: (I am placing it in an old post in the hope that you will see it without disturbing the other posters.)

    http://www.startribune.com/local/north/79699227.html

    A young man stole from his grandfather. Rather than take the matter to the government authorities, the family took the discipline of this man on themselves. They are now being charged as felons.

    Regardless of the specific details of the case, which are rather like a low budget spoof of ‘Goodfellas,’ this got me thinking about the fourth commandment, the family, and the state. Should the uncles, however brutal their method, be given some credit for maintaining discipline within their family, or does the state have the right to claim any or all authority that is rightly vested within a family? (e.g., spanking children, educational curricula, etc.) Where should that line be drawn, and what clarity can we bring to the discussion from a Lutheran perspective?

    Just a thought . . .

  • Dan Kempin

    Since I now know that you check posts to old threads, I thought I would add this:

    I shared lunch today with an elderly gentleman from my church. We had planned it for some time, since he had landed at Normandy on June 8, and I wanted to hear more about it and thank him for his service.

    It was a fascinating conversation.

    He showed me the original maps (stamped “Top Secret”) given to the regiment for their designated landing site. They had fortifications and obstructions carefully drawn, and were well worn. He also had a Nazi flag in almost pristine condition that he had liberated. I got to hold that as well. Though he did not fight with the infantry, (he was in communications), he slept between the heavy artillery and the fighting front for most of the advance. He was part of the four man team sent ahead to make contact with the French the day before the liberation of Paris, and he once shared a shelter with Ernie Pyle under bombardment.

    Most surprising, though, was a small 5 franc note with two signatures on it: Ernie Pyle, and Ernest Hemingway. They met, it seems, at some point during the liberation of Paris.

    Huh. Amazing.

  • Dan Kempin

    Since I now know that you check posts to old threads, I thought I would add this:

    I shared lunch today with an elderly gentleman from my church. We had planned it for some time, since he had landed at Normandy on June 8, and I wanted to hear more about it and thank him for his service.

    It was a fascinating conversation.

    He showed me the original maps (stamped “Top Secret”) given to the regiment for their designated landing site. They had fortifications and obstructions carefully drawn, and were well worn. He also had a Nazi flag in almost pristine condition that he had liberated. I got to hold that as well. Though he did not fight with the infantry, (he was in communications), he slept between the heavy artillery and the fighting front for most of the advance. He was part of the four man team sent ahead to make contact with the French the day before the liberation of Paris, and he once shared a shelter with Ernie Pyle under bombardment.

    Most surprising, though, was a small 5 franc note with two signatures on it: Ernie Pyle, and Ernest Hemingway. They met, it seems, at some point during the liberation of Paris.

    Huh. Amazing.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Wow, Dan. What a story. What an experience of history, not only to hold the artifacts but to talk with a guy who was there!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Wow, Dan. What a story. What an experience of history, not only to hold the artifacts but to talk with a guy who was there!


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