October 22, 2021

The Waffle Cure

Posted on 14. Mar, 2013 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Say what you want about Cagney, Bogart, Mitchum or Wayne, one thing is for certain; they were men of few but powerful words. Sure, sure, I know they were actors, but their characters represented something Americans used to prize highly…brevity and sincerity.

You knew where you stood when Cagney gave you that piercing look or The Duke cocked his head just before unloading a four-word answer like, “you bet I do.” Mitchum may have looked like he ate something bad and was tasting it all over again, but you stopped and waited until the moment of his seeming indigestion had passed and he had rolled out his response.

It’s almost painful to watch their old movies because I’m constantly fast-forwarding to the present, to the current crop of weasel-wordsmiths that populate America’s political or celebrity world.  You know the ones I mean, the wafflers who are simply out to evade the questions we ask them. I don’t mind telling you, I’m fed up to the rim of my barracks bag with people who cannot seem to give a straight answer to a simple question.

True, there are some questions that make us dig way down deep into the well of our personal feelings, and I can understand when someone feels that a question is just too personal to answer. I can even accept an answer like, “Sorry, I haven’t thought that one through,” but what really sticks in my craw is hearing a person go way off the reservation into the never never land of high falutin’ rhetoric.  It’s like watching a sleep walker amble around not knowing where he’s going until he finally bumps into something and wakes up.

I realize that evasion by running out the clock is a normal tactic folks use when they don’t want to answer a question, but it has to stop. I have begun to blame the interviewers who don’t press their guests. They’re the real culprits – the waffle enablers.

There are solutions, however, but they are not politically correct ones. What about mandating that all Sunday interview programs (we’ll start small and work our way up) install guest chairs with seats laced with electrical wiring? You know, the stuff that’s similar to the wiring under our heated floor tiles.

A low electrical charge would be constantly present and be sort of comforting like the heated seats in our cars. BUT, when a guest starts to stray far afield from the question, an off-stage technician would turn up the rheostat and give the guest a little jolt of the juice. Just how much would be determined by a live studio audience (very democratic, no?).

I’m confident that this simple device would do the trick and make the programs considerably more fun to watch. Imagine your least favorite politician suddenly sit up straight and answer a question honestly after receiving a little electric shock to his/her derriere!

My mind is simply overflowing with images of certain people I would like to see on the ‘hotseat.’ As a matter of fact, that’s what we would rename the talk shows: Piers Morgan: Tonight on the Hotseat, Moyers and Hotseat Co., or my favorite, 20/20 @ 220 volts.

For a period of twelve years (1975-87), Senator William Proxmire from my home state of Wisconsin gave out the Golden Fleece award to the public officials or government departments that wasted the most money. I remember one of them vividly. It was the Dept. of Education that spent over $200,000 on a curriculum package that taught college students how to watch television.

Using Proxmire’s example, we could get nominations from all over America and create our own awards ceremony for ‘America’s Biggest Wafflers’. I’m betting companies would line up around the block to sponsor our show and that eventually we’d even overtake the Oscars. What kind of trophy should we give? What else, a golden waffle iron!

- Editor


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