Will Farrell Doesn’t Stand a Chance

A lot of folks are buzzing about next year’s Anchorman 2, in which Will Farrell will reprise the role of Ron Burgundy almost a decade after he first had conversations with dogs, displayed his mad skillz as a jazz flautist, and gave us that unique translation of “San Diego.” Me? I’m not so sure he’ll be up to it.

No, this prediction has nothing to do with the fact that he single-handedly managed to make my previous ride uncool. (“You must respect me! I drive a Dodge Stratus!”) Best to pursue that vendetta some other time. “We” will also ignore, for the moment, that many of his comic movies lo this last decade have not done so well. Some comic vehicles work, others don’t. It happens.

The real threat to Ron Burgundy is competition. Life has left his satire in the dust, making it that much harder to top the first Anchorman flick. What am I talking about? Meet Ken Bastida, real life, bona fide, actual California news anchor who won an Emmy, according to his suspiciously bland Wikipedia page. The way he opened his newscast one night accidentally made for one of the funniest short videos I have ever watched. Let’s see if San Diego’s finest can top this:

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Exclusive Jeremy Lott Q&A!!!

Q: Why Jeremy Lott’s Diary?

A: So my readers will have something interesting to read on the train.

Q: People still take the train?

A: I did recently, all the way from Bellingham to DC.

Q: What were you doing in DC?

A: I went to cover the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, and I went there to help launch the latest website for my company, Real Clear Policy.

Q: How many Real Clear websites do you edit?

A: Three-and-a-half, roughly. I edit Real Clear Religion and Real Clear Books outright, co-edit Real Clear Policy and lend a hand on Real Clear Science when needed.

Q: How do you sleep?

A: Deputies, colleagues, and co-editors help me do most of this. Joseph “Joe” Lawler handles the day-to-day with Real Clear Policy and Real Clear Religion is a thorough collaboration with Nicholas “Nick” Hahn. Alex Berezow is the insomniac mad scientist behind Real Clear Science. I mention them here because they are sure to get name-checked from time to time.

Q: Sounds like a busy schedule. Why are you making time for a blog?

A: It is busy, but I’ve always done a lot of writing for Real Clear and other outlets. Writing is a way of thinking. Forcing oneself to write regularly is a way of staying sharp. It is thus a good way of giving readers the best “intelligent aggregation” possible, because the product we are really selling is our best judgment.

Q: You mentioned you went to CPAC. Are you a conservative?

A: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party, but party membership doesn’t mean much in the great state of Washington. Rush Limbaugh one day repeatedly called me a “liberal” on air. My Baptist minister father was flooded with calls from parishioners telling him he ought to call up Rush and set him straight. Dad wrote an e-mail and called Rush a liberal. I found the whole thing highly amusing.

Q: Why amusing?

A: It’s consistent with my general outlook. One stock question that I will ask old friends and new enemies alike is: “Why do you get out of bed in the morning?” Their off-the-cuff answers can tell you a lot about what animates them. I’ve gotten answers from a general sense of duty to “hatred of the left” to fear of being deported to Canada.

Q: OK then, why do you get out of bed in the morning?

A: Because I find life so very amusing.

Q: You wrote “my Baptist minister father.” Was that a way of drawing a distinction?

A: Yes. He’s Baptist, I’m Catholic.

Q: What’s the story there?

A: It’s a long one. The shortest way of getting at it is to say when I was 13 the Baptist congregation we were at went through a very painful “church split.” Some of the pastors and about half of the members walked away to start a new church. I thought that was clearly a bad thing, but that presented a logic problem to my young mind. I was aware there had been this little thing called the Reformation. So I thought: this could be OK now and OK then or wrong now and wrong back then, but it didn’t seem possible it could be a bad thing now but A-OK back in the day.

Q: So you, a pastor’s kid, joined a church that requires clerical celibacy?

A: There always have and always will be PKs, of varying shades of legitimacy, but we’re not the greatest idea. I often tell people that PKs know where all the bodies are buried. I could add “literally.” We’re too close and see too much too early. It becomes pretty hard to shock us with church scandals.

Q: So why not just chuck God, religion, the whole metaphysical ball of wax?

A: Tried that. It didn’t take.

Q: You were an atheist?

A: No, I wanted to be an atheist. I just never could find a way to pretend God doesn’t exist or that what we do here and now has no greater significance. Francis Schaeffer put it memorably. God is there and — in the long run, anyway — he is not silent.

Q: What do you do for fun, when you’re not being ponderous?

A: Too many things. I bowl and go for long, meandering walks. Dirt races are fun. Just got a set of golf clubs and a ridiculously high powered bb gun. All the neighborhood crows are suddenly giving the house wide berth. Of course I read, for fun as well as profit, and go to a ridiculous number of movies.

Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: It’s a tie between Tombstone and My Fair Lady. Val Kilmer’s Doc Holiday and Rex Harrison’s Henry Higgins are both immortal fictional characters.

Q: Real Clear Religion has been described as a “Mormon-interested website.” What’s your own take on Mormons?

A: They’re great!

Q: Sarcasm?

A: No I really have liked most of the Mormons I’ve met and corresponded with and I find their religion deeply fascinating. It’s the most ambitious religion I’ve ever encountered.

Q: So when are you going to convert?

A: Oh, probably never. I think you get one conversion in life before you start to court absurdity and I’ve already did that. Besides, my religious notions are pretty well fixed at this point — basically a Baptist-flavored Catholicism, a degree in Biblical Studies and an Irish temperament, and the Jeremy Lott prayer thrown in for good measure.

Q: What in the world is the Jeremy Lott prayer?

A: It goes like this: Dear God: I’m wrong, you’re right, I’m going to bed.


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