Rich-Induced Synchronous Head-Bobbing

Bryan Curtis writes cleverly in Slate today.

“A few weeks ago, I went to see Times columnist Frank Rich among the faithful, giving a talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. Each year, the 92nd Street Y brings in a roster of eminences, from Alan Alda to Barbara Boxer, designed to draw out the old lions of Manhattan liberalism.

A sign of Rich’s star power is that tickets for his “evening with” had sold out well in advance, as they do every time he visits the Y. The lobby had the giddy buzz of a rock concert, and I spotted an elderly woman, suffering from age or just desperation to see her hero, attempt twice to sneak into the auditorium without a ticket.

Inside, the audience hung on Rich’s every word, nodding vigorously when he skewered George W. Bush (“I think he has lost the trust of the country”) and resignedly when he skewered the Democrats (“I think the Democrats are pathetic”).

Within a half-hour the synchronous head-bobbing had reached a level achieved only by a few rock acts; I imagine the aging ladies in the front row were ready to pelt Rich with their underwear, if only they had been able to stand.