If a crabby, unpleasant nonagenarian who ceased being relevant 20 years ago retires from broadcasting, does the collective sigh of relief make a sound?
Andy Rooney will announce on Sunday's "60 Minutes" that it will be his last regular appearance on the newsmagazine. Rooney, 92, has been featured on the program since 1978.
Sunday's appearance will be Rooney's 1097th original essay for "60 Minutes," and will be preceded by a segment in which Rooney looks back on his career in an interview with Morley Safer, CBS News said.
I'd be lying if I said I've ever been a fan of his weekly bitchery. His first book, A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney, made its way into our house at some point in the early '80s and even then I found myself puzzled, and somewhat intrigued, that a person could fashion a career out of doing nothing but complaining.
I guess in one way, he was something of an inspiration.
Whatever insights Rooney offered when he first started his segments lo these many years ago have been long forgotten amidst almost two decades of commentary that made my Midwestern uncles sound like Joel Stein.
Here are a few choice examples.
Andy Doesn't Like A Lot Of Popular Music
"I think of myself as a musical ignoramus."
In which our fearless pundit trumpets his ignorance of Lady Gaga while calling young people out for never having heard of Ella Fitzgerald. I doubt he remembers the cultural critics who lamented the fact the Andy Rooneys of the world weren't paying enough respect to Jelly Roll Morton.
My [Great Grand-] Kid Could Paint That
"I'm one of those know-nothing boobs."
Is there anything that makes you sound like more of a doofus than admitting you don't "get" art? It's the cultural commenter's equivalent of jokes about airline food.
Because It's Boring, Right?
"I'm not much of a baseball fan."
The only thing I took away from this early Rooney segment -- apart from Rooney's disdain for watching the sport itself -- was his apparent hatred for Reggie Jackson.
"Everything about Kurt Cobain makes me suspicious."
It's next to impossible to find a recording or transcript of Rooney's comments on Cobain's suicide, probably because CBS rightly realized they made him (and the network, by association) look like a raging asshole. Let it be known, young people, that your pain and depression aren't legitimate unless they're identical to what Rooney himself has gone through. He even goes on to suggest someone more appropriate (a Harvard professor who died of natural causes) to mourn. Because gee whiz willikers, we're just too dumb to prioritize our grief ourselves.
Na Na Na Na, Get A Job
"More college graduates ought to become plumbers or electricians"
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Allow me to quote myself from the first time I addressed this:
Maybe this isn't the Great Depression, when doughty menfolk sought gainful employment by riding the rails and wearing onions on their belts, but I know a lot of people who are currently unemployed, and the reason they're having such a hard time finding a job isn't because they won't demean themselves in unglamorous work, it's because the work simply isn't there.
Goodbye, Andy Rooney. You won't be missed. And I hope your retirement gives you cause to reflect upon why so many people found issue with your nonsensical ramblings.
But I'm not counting on it.