Gene Weingarten's Chat
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© 2003 Brian F. Schreurs
Even we have a disclaimer.

Pat the Perfect pedantically protects punctuation.
Gene Weingarten is cool, at least on paper. From what we hear he may not make the top of the guest list for a dinner party -- but then, we don't get many invitations to dinner parties, so who are we to talk? -- but when he's faced with a keyboard he can lay down some witty keystrokes. His column in The Washington Post Magazine, "Below the Beltway", is one of the best humor columns out there. So we really enjoy his online chat every Tuesday (when it isn't tyrranized by discussions of grammatical minutae), and we spend the hour lobbing crazy comments at him to see which ones he takes. This is our score.

Of course, one has to wonder what kind of rube excerpts his own chat entries and archives them for posterity. Well, you're here, aren't you? You get what you pay for. We know sooner or later Gene will do an egosearch, find this page, and that'll be the end of the party, so send your snarky comments now while you still can.

We were rather embarrassed to discover that this page is now in the top five on Google for the search term "Gene Weingarten". This goes a long way to illustrate how search engines are still not particularly adept at providing useful information to users. Considering what he does to the poor buggers who work for customer service departments, we're shaking in our boots over the skewering we'll get for what is possibly one of the most pointless and pretentious webpages in creation. Maybe we'll get lucky and he's a technophobe who never surfs the web.

From October 21, 2003:

Blan, KY: Here's your blanket question:

Just who do you think you are, anyway?!

Gene Weingarten: Very good, but I suspect very few will answer that.

From September 16, 2003:

Dallas, BC: The Steve Dallas character literally pulled me out of a mid-college funk when I was on my last nickel and ready to hang it all up and serve fries for the rest of my life.

Thanks, Berke.

Gene Weingarten: Just posting a bunch of these.

From September 9, 2003:

Doonesbu, RI: Regarding your Doonesbury rant.

I am sick and tired of people trying to sanitize the world for children.

First off, such efforts are doomed to failure. Children are not morons. (mostly)

Second, even if such efforts actually found success, these sanitized-children would be useless to us as adults when they discovered that they'd grown up on a different planet.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, thank you. We should not patronize our kids.

From August 26, 2003:

Ago, NY: You've been writhing in pain for over a WEEK?

When you're done with this you ought to be able to publish a book on stupid but well-intended comments and gestures. Offers to bring you bags of ice, admonishments that pain is a state of mind and/or temporary, platitudes of inclusion in various prayers, and volunteers to take you out back and shoot you if the operation doesn't work out.

Gene Weingarten: Actually, I am working on precisely this.

From August 26, 2003:

Circle Jokes: I keep writing those silly fake word etymologies -- you've seen some, like 'pluck yew' and so forth -- in the hope that someday one of mine will either get forwarded back to me or else get posted on Mine must suck though, coz it's never happened.

Gene Weingarten: Liz, this person not only said "suck" but used a VERY suggestive place name.

From August 19, 2003:

Encourage, MT: Hey, we live in a country where speedometers were mandated by law to top off at 85 mph because the Federal Government believed putting on more numbers than that "encouraged" people to drive faster.

No word on why we even needed 85 mph when the national speed limit was 55 at the time.

Anyway, in case you were wondering why digital speedometers becaome common in the 1980s... that's it. The regulation didn't include digital readouts, coz when it was written, there weren't any.

Share this little bit of trivia with your knee doctor after you kick him in the chops.

Gene Weingarten: Wow. Is this true? That's great, but it sounds wrong. I believe my little 1978 Dodge Colt had a speedometer that went to 120. Which is like a midget ostentatiously buying a huge condom.

From August 19, 2003:

Re: two sticks and a ring: My question with the whole gay-marriage thing is, why is ANY marriage government-sanctioned? This strikes me as strictly a religious issue that should not have any more legal weight than any other contract between two people.

Gene Weingarten: Well, I have made this point before, and incurred the wrath of Gina and others of her "ilk," but I find the entire institution of marriage silly, religious or not. In the absence of children, I see it as nothing more than going steady. Kids change everything.

From July 22, 2003:

2-U Phill Terr.: Gene, are there chatters who frequent this forum that you try to ignore?

Gene Weingarten: I have no idea who the chatters are. So I wouldn't know whom to ignore. I tend to ignore blatantly self-promotional posts. I am the only one permitted to be self-promotional in this chat. That would be me, the author of The Hypochondriac's Guide to Life. And Death.

From July 22, 2003:

Levey Reducks: It amuses me that Levey would side with Ravitch, considering that he, in 1999, proposed replacing "him" and "her" with "herm". I have the exact quote rattling around here somewhere.

Gene Weingarten: Yes, there is a language movement that wants to replace "he or she, him or her," etc. with zie, zir, and zirselfs. They should go f--- zirselfs.

From June 24, 2003:

Cha, TN: Gene, do you ever have trouble falling asleep from pondering the cruel inequity of the host always having the last word on these chats?

Whooo, I gotta read the whole thing now. Is there a sequel for when she's, you know, 18?

Gene Weingarten: No. And you are an idiot.

From June 24, 2003:

Boffo, Okla.: Incredible. I can't believe the comics editors ran it.

They must have been too far out of touch to get it, like trying to explain to someone who's never met an Australian why the name "Randy" is so dang funny.

Gene Weingarten: Hell, what about "Randy Johnson"?

From June 24, 2003:

Cube City: I got to tell you, your chat is the most fun I can have here at the office, at least until I get an office with a door.

I wish you could make it last longer.

Gene Weingarten: You must be a woman. Women are always complaining that men can't make things last longer.

From June 2, 2003:

Vix, IN: Tell you what, that link is the first time I've read a piece of the original Peter Pan, and I never realized what a vixen Wendy was.

Whooo, I gotta read the whole thing now. Is there a sequel for when she's, you know, 18?

Gene Weingarten: It is true! Wendy is a temptress! And peter is a ... pan.

From May 27, 2003:

Re: Harry: So sorry and I hope he lives for a while yet. I lost a dog to a brain tumor earlier this year. I guess it's "fortunate" that she only managed to rack up $400 of vet bills before the tumor got her. Funny how we get so attached to the little critters.

Gene Weingarten: I once had a parrot who cost $1,200 in 1978 dollars to die. I had to borrow money to pay it.

From May 20, 2003:

Toilet Geography: Just for the record, toilet water doesn't spin the other way in Australia. Their toilets just go GLORSH and suck it all down like a starving subterranean elephant trunk. No swirling of any kind.

Gene Weingarten: Thank you. But this is a plumbing-related observation.

The Coriolis Effect does, indeed, swirl water in the opposite direction in the lower hemispher.

From May 13, 2003:

Metacomix: Seems like you probably loved the way "Bloom County" ended, with all the major characters moving to other strips.

Man I miss Breathed. The comics page seems grayer since he left it.

Gene Weingarten: I miss Breathed, too. Coincidentally, I just talked to him for the first time in years. He is in Hollywood, happy, working on some Hollywood stuff. I really miss him.

Speaking of great strips ending, I wasn't crazy about the way Calvin and Hobbes ended. They went off in a sled, together. I would have preferred to have Calvin look at Hobbes and, for the first time, we see Calvin alone with Hobbes, and Hobbes look like a stuffed toy. Then Calvin shrugs and walks off.

From May 6, 2003:

Concord, Mass.: I may not like what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Apparently withheld from longstanding allies who have the guts to call us on it when they think we're behaving like maniacs.

I may not agree with them, but I am impressed that they didn't cave under pressure.

Gene Weingarten: Interesting point.

From April 29, 2003:

Troublemaker!: The fact that YOUR column is considered controversial says a lot about Washington.

Gene Weingarten: Agreed!

From April 29, 2003:

Lonelyville, Va: Carolyn,

My boyfriend routinely stands me up on dates. I'd dump him completely if he weren't so good elsewhere, if you know what I mean. But his constant failure to appear at our dates is really putting a lot of stress on the relationship. And get this -- his excuse is that -I- have a problem remembering what day it is! Shifting the blame to the victim is a classic tactic of manipulators, isn't it? Should I dump this guy for someone with a clue, or stick it out and hope he learns some manners?

Gene Weingarten: Gina's husband once dropped her off to go shopping in New York and then failed to show up at the appointed time to pick her up. She waited a half hour, then took a cab back to her hotel. His excuse was that he forget where he dropped her off. The doorman considered him a God. It was the best excuse he'd ever heard.

From April 22, 2003:

Chucky: You guys did a profile on Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, while I was in J-school. Each week we had to submit an article from a newspaper that we felt was significant in some way. Of course I submitted that article (if I hadn't, this post would be even more pointless than it already is). My prof thought it the strangest article she could remember seeing, but gave the reporter props for admitting he had no story and then writing for three pages anyway.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Maybe you can do a profile on me.

Gene Weingarten: This was a truly great profile. It was by Frank Ahrens, about 1995. Liz?

From April 15, 2003:

Squiggle me this: The black squiggle uses more ink, which costs The Man more money.

Gene Weingarten: Hahahaha.

From April 15, 2003:

Germantown, Md.: What kind of person has time and energy to [female dog] about a humor contest entry?!

Gene Weingarten: An Arab person who really, really took offense. I don't think this person was a jerk. It's why I spent a lot of time discussing it.

From April 8, 2003:

FUVs: Hey, I'm grateful for every single one of those lumbering monstrosities. Before they came along the blame-everyone-else weenies were picking on us sports car drivers.

Gene Weingarten: I know! You are off the hook. So are Mercedes drivers.

From April 1, 2003:

4077th: I got to thinking about this pesky war, which got me to thinking about M-A-S-H, and I sorta started thinking that M-A-S-H was so brilliant that no one in their right mind would ever try to make a war-based sitcom again, as the inevitable comparison to M-A-S-H would destroy it.

What characteristics of a war do we need to make a funny show about it? Will Gulf II ever measure up?

Gene Weingarten: I think a sitcom about the American Revolution might work. The tights alone would be good for a laugh.

From March 18, 2003:

Just, BC: Gene, you should go to a two-hour chat like Carolyn Hax. My job really sucks.

Gene Weingarten: Hax is a god. I could not handle two hours. I am exhausted after one. Sometimes, I even cheat and leave a minute early.


Let's hope we're all happy next week at this time.

From March 11, 2003:

Vatican City: I tend to think of organized religion as much the same sort of thing as alcohol or marijuana: something mankind would do well to avoid, but which seems to cause even more problems when banned.

Gene Weingarten: This is quite a thought. If it is original, it is brilliant. Actually, it's brilliant even if it is not original.

And yes, when Communist China banned religion, they wound up eating their own babies to survive.

From February 18, 2003:

Peda, NT: Why does your chat attract so many rubes who get their knickers in a knot over simple accidents of spelling and punctuation?

Gene Weingarten: Nobody gets his knickers in a knot over "accidents" of spelling and punctuation. The discerning persons in this chat get their knickers in a knot over shocking illiteracies and stupidities and butcheries of the English language, such as the fact that twice in the last three days the Washington Post has used "beg the question" incorrectly.

From February 18, 2003:

College Park, Md.: HA! There is NO town in the Northern Territory called "Peda"! Gene, your readers are faking it!

Gene Weingarten: Liz, I hold you responsible for this.

From February 18, 2003:

Silver Spring, Md.: Your DOG has his own ROOM?

Man. Mary and Joseph should have stopped by YOUR crib before wasting time in that stable.

Gene Weingarten: Every dog has his own room. It is the room in which he sleeps. Harry sleeps in the room in which we watch TV.

From February 18, 2003:

Illiterati Bestseller: Man, I wish one of MY books would sell 400 copies. Geez. Lucky bugger.

Gene Weingarten: I'm guessing it's up to about 450 by now. Eat your heart out.