Little Men

They’re everywhere – these little men.

No tendentious description of the phenomenon is required, nor is a detailed and boring historical context necessary, since they (like the poor) “have always been with us.”   But the sudden “surge” of poseurs, fakers, demagogues, deadbeats, and crooks stands out right now, as our vaunted world economy teeter-totters, and institutions – from colleges to banks to temples of journalism, and pinnacles of power – croak under the strain.

Here’s a partial list, culled from today’s headlines, of new and emerging Little Men.  Please feel free to add a name which may have been missed in this initial installment.  Step right up!  There’s room for everyone, and probably no end to it, once the battle has been joined.

Herewith:  The Little Men Of The Moment!

Silvio Berlusconi - the blessedly former prime minister of Italy.  The ultimate Mistero Buffo of Italian politics pledged to resign (and by God he did!) if a new, technocratic government now in formation can begin cobbling together a fiscal plan to prevent massive default by Italy, a member state in the Eurozone.  But like the magician/clown he is, some skeptical Burlesquecrony-watchers are wondering if this world-class fraudster and cockmaster will ever leave the stage (and, by God! – he hinted upon departing he might continue lurking behind the arras, in Milan).  What is not in dispute is Berlusconi has diddled and fiddled within his court of  whores and bunga bunga hangers-on, while failing, over twenty years, to do the job he was elected to do, so that Italy – more than Greece, Portugal, Spain, or Ireland – may truly sink the European “common market,” and possibly, the world economy itself.  Basta!

Joe Paterno – the disgraced former head football coach of Penn State.  Whereas Berlusconi was not a great man, Paterno might have been, to the extent he fashioned a winning, and honorable, sports tradition.  He did win a lot of football games; ya gotta give him that!  Brought truckloads of money to Beaver Stadium too!  His teams won, or contended for, quite a few national championships.  And he did, judging by the loyalty of the Penn State community, demand and get excellence from his players, on and off the field, for over two generations.  Some of them actually read books; most graduated.  He did not, sadly, measure up when faced with an unavoidable moral dilemma.  He has experienced a great fall.  His catharsis, and that of Penn State, awaits.

Jon Corzine – resigned CEO of MF Global, former Democratic governor and senator from New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs honcho.  Corzine took a mere year and a half or so to capsize MF Global, which traced its lineage to the sugar trade in late 18th century England.  Corzine bet on sovereign debt and lost.  Big.  MF Global under Corzine, a darling of Democratic big wigs, reported a nearly $192  million quarterly loss after betting on European government bonds.  At the end of October the company’s credit rating went to junk, and it filed for Chapter 11.  About a thousand Wall Street wizards went out on the dole.  Just like that.  MF Global’s demise has been logged in as the 8th largest bankruptcy in American history.  Corzine, a little man posting big losses, appears to have a few little Democratic Party leaders around him, saying:  “sssshhhh.”

Bill O’Reilly – reigning Fox News gasbag.  O’Reilly, a little twit with global reach, has been enjoying a two months-long perch on the New York Times bestseller list with a book he “wrote” on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  However, the “no spin” king’s tome has been banned from the shelves of the Ford’s Theater book store, operated by the National Park service.  Ford’s Theater was where Lincoln was shot by the mad thespian, John Wilkes Booth.  Among numerous errors cited in the book, O’Reilly asserts there was an Oval Office in Lincoln’s White House, when in fact the executive suite was not built until 1909, when, presumably, there was a federal budget surplus.  In another egregious error, O’Reilly for some reason had Honest Abe “furling” his brow sometime before he was shot (he might have been furling about the feckless Gen. McClellan).  Everyone knows a man would “furrow” his brow, not furl the damn thing, whatever the situation, right?  This flap from Ford’s Theater appears to be a collection of minor quibbles to the author.  O’Reilly’s publisher says the little man is working on another quickie about presidents, to be written in a “narrative, novelistic fashion.”  O’Reilly responded to the Ford’s Theater critique by saying, “Enemies are trying to hurt my book.”

Rick Perry - governor of Texas and Republican presidential candidate.  Perry doesn’t know which federal departments he wants to shut down, but he does know he wants American foreign aid under his administration to start with no money.  Way to go, little man!  Perry may seem drunk at debates he’s appeared in, but it’s just the best a little man from Texas can do.  What can you expect from a guy who used Whiteout on a rock at the entrance to his family’s vacation retreat, but can’t remember why exactly?  Also, such a little man should be cut some slack if he thinks real, light amber New England maple syrup might work as a companion to barbecue sauce!

Michael Bloomberg - mayor of New York.  Well now he’s done it!  There’s a lot of talk in the city about how bored Bloomberg is with his job; and a guy I know who was hanging around Zuccotti Park on Tuesday morning while the cops were mopping up says simply that Bloomie will run for prez as an indie and pull close to 20 percent, drawing the indie vote,  while cutting into Obama’s hide.  Result:  one crazy Republican president, unless it’s Willard the flip-flopper.  Maybe Bloomie will turn out to be a little big man.

Karl Rove – formerly Bush’s brain.  During an appearance at Johns Hopkins recently, Rove, evidently exasperated by taunts from OWS protestors and other unsavory characters, actually challenged one (or all) of them to a fight.  This does not compute.  It’s just hard to imagine this dweeby little man stepping up to his own challenge.  Bombast knows no bounds.

Rush Limbaugh – radio bombasterbasta! – par excellence.  This week the little man of the airwaves used every slur in the book to denigrate the OWS protesters, particularly those evicted from Zuccotti Park, since Tuesday was not a slow news day, and therefore an opportunity for el Rushbo to spike his sagging rating a tad.  Limbaugh spent minute after minute on one of his shows this week obsessing about the OWSers’ tendencies to spew precious bodily fluids all over public spaces across America’s fruited plain, just to call attention to their sad state, which to dittoheads means they’ll have to move back home with Mom & Dad when it’s all over – as a spent force.  Only a man with a little whatnot could stoop to that.

Well, there you have it!  But there are many other candidates to be nominated, to say nothing of the untold millions of Honorable Mentions, past and present.  Step right up.  Tell the nation who you’d like to see on the Pedestal of Heroes in this category.




  1. retzilian says:

    Hi and long time no comment. I was on a sort of news hiatus, although I did glance, through the fingers of my hand, at the news for the past few weeks. Not much changes from day to day, so I needed a break. I found myself getting angry all the time, and I can’t punch seniors (my customers), so I had to cut back on the dope…or should I say DOPES.

    Another bitter Little Man, John Kasich, also known as the Buyers Remorse Governor, lost a big battle with the senate bill that did away with collective bargaining. The bill was revoked via referendum in the recent election by a seriously large margin – something like 63-37. Sweeeeet.

    Meanwhile, there was an Occupy Cleveland group, but I am not sure how effective they are. Unemployment in Cleveland is probably 15%, so I’m surprised there are not more taking to the street. I wish the Occupy movement would field a candidate or two, for Senate and President. I could get on board with that. I almost donated to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, but frankly I think she’s going to walk away with it.

    Anyway, I’m all caught up reading your entries of the past couple of weeks. I could not get on your blog for some reason for awhile. Not sure why it was down. Glad to see everyone still here.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Nice to see you, too, Retz…. Hope all’s well. I’d add to the list Mayor Sam Adams, who isn’t exactly little but evidently he is where it counts. He hid out in Asia while the storm troopers rolled in. (Sorry I didn’t pop in earlier, Dirigo; I didn’t see the post… too busy typing, and marching.)

  2. dirigo says:

    Newt Gingrich – historian. Really old wine here in a new bottle.