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Wit and Wisdom

Gipper Gab

INTERVIEWER:  Thank you, President Reagan, for joining us posthumously as part of the overblown celebration of your 100th birthday.
REAGAN: You’re welcome. But for me it’s just another gig.
INTERVIEWER:  Are you at all surprised that after basically snoozing malevolently through the eight years of your presidency you’re now being held up as some kind of combination philosopher king, conquering hero and secular saint?
REAGAN: Not really. But you have to realize I worked in Hollywood. They made people believe Victor Mature could act.
INTERVIEWER:  So you’re not buying all the hype about you?
REAGAN: Listen, if I believed all my own press I would have cheated on my wives far more often than I actually did.
INTERVIEWER:  Did you help devise the “Reagan Naming Project”: the scheme by conservative zealots to slap your name on as many public buildings, streets and other venues as possible, in order to permanently ingrain your memory--and by extension, your ideology--into the public consciousness?
REAGAN: How old are you? Do you remember my governing style? I could barely keep awake through your question.  
INTERVIEWER:  You seem like the Reagan Conservative least excited by the Reagan Centennial.
REAGAN: Again: remember your history. Whether it was Warner Brothers, GE, or the White House, my only questions were: when’s lunch, when do I get paid, and when do I go home? Speaking of which...
INTERVIEWER:  Were almost done here.  Any final words for all your modern-day acolytes?
REAGAN:  Never share the screen with children, animals or reforming Soviet premiers.  Any idea, no matter how discredited and hurtful, can be resuscitated if you deliver it with enough ham. (Remember when they thought blaming the poor would never come back?) And no matter how much they dangle on the back end, get all your money up front.  You do know that just because I’m dead, that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to my customary speaking fee?
INTERVIEWER:  But this is a news interview!
REAGAN:  I care? I still get residuals from my press conferences. It’s all show business, baby.
INTERVIEWER:  Thank you, Mr. President.
REAGAN:  No, thank you-- and the William Morris Agency.

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