Friday, January 20, 2006

Message to Frank Abramoff: Lighten Up.

Abramoff's dad bashes George Clooney's 'glib and ridiculous attack' in Golden Globes speech

What started as a joke at an awards ceremony has turned into another ludicrous "controversy." George Clooney, in his Golden Globes Award acceptance speech characteristically made some silly (and quite funny, as evidenced by the considerable audience laughter) off-the-cuff jokes about Jack Abramoff--a guy who is prominent in the news due to his central role and admitted guilt in the Washington lobby scandal.

So let's agree that George Clooney's obviously joking comments about Abramoff are rather innocuous compared to the quite nasty and very serious allegations journalists have been making about him.

Let's also agree that John Stewart, Bill Maher, and others of their ilk, regularly lampoon public figures for the sake of a laugh and nobody says "boo."

Let's further agree that a laugh is always at someone's expense. I defy you to think of any joke you know that doesn't lampoon some person or group or both. That is the nature of comedy.

My advise to anyone offended by Clooney's very funny comments is simple: get a sense of humor.

See Clooney video here.

See and Read Frank's actual letter here.

Erica Solvig of the Palm Springs Desert Sun writes:
The Rancho Mirage father of controversial Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is responding to actor George Clooney for what he’s describing as a “glib and ridiculous attack” on his son.

Frank Abramoff, in a letter addressed to Clooney and sent to The Desert Sun this morning, said he was watching the Golden Globes Monday night when Clooney, during his acceptance speech for best supporting actor, thanked Jack Abramoff “just because” and made a comment about the lobbyist’s name.

“Who would name their kid Jack with the last words ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up,” Clooney said during the internationally televised awards show.

In the letter, Frank Abramoff furiously defends the name, saying his son is named after Frank’s father. In the two-page letter, he calls Clooney’s acts a “lapse in lucidity” and an “obscene query.”

In a telephone interview with The Desert Sun this morning, Frank Abramoff said Clooney was “an idiot” and described the actions as “pure, unadulterated stupidity.”

“You want to make fun. You can do that, but you don't make fun of someone else's hardships and misery,” the 78-year-old Abramoff said. “We’ve gone through quite a bit in our family. But the political end of it and the media end of it and all the other areas are one thing. When you see something like that on a show for 500 million people, it was not only a slap in my son’s face but in my father’s.”

Clooney’s representative in Los Angeles declined comment, saying he had not seen Abramoff’s letter yet.

Jack Abramoff’s spokesman, Andrew Blum, also declined to comment.

In the letter, Frank Abramoff says he “wonders how your father would respond, were the roles reversed.”

Clooney’s dad, Nick, is an Augusta, Ky., resident who ran unsuccessfully for Congress and now writes a column for the Cincinnati Post.

In a phone interview with The Desert Sun today, Clooney said he wasn’t surprised by his son’s “off hand and flippant” remarks, but did relate with Frank Abramoff’s concerns.

“I understand what it is like to have one's son criticized in a very public way,” Clooney said. “It's very painful and it's very difficult.

“The difference here, and it must be said, is Mr. Abramoff's son, instead of pursing some positive efforts to do what he hoped would change the climate of the American politics has confessed and has been convicted by that confession of subverting the political process,” Clooney said.

“It’s not Mr Abramoff senior’s fault that he turned out to be who he is any more than it is to my credit that my son turned out to be what he turned out to be.”

Look for updates today at and see Friday’s edition of The Desert Sun for more on this story.

The dictionary defines "joke" as:

joke |jōk|
a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, esp. a story with a funny punchline : she was in a mood to tell jokes.
• a trick played on someone for fun.
• [in sing. ] informal a person or thing that is ridiculously inadequate : the transportation system is a joke.

be no joke informal be a serious matter or difficult undertaking : trying to shop with three children in tow is no joke.
can (or can't) take a joke be able (or unable) to receive humorous remarks or tricks in the spirit in which they are intended : if you can't take a joke, you should never have joined.
the joke is on someone informal someone looks foolish, esp. after trying to make someone else look so.
make a joke of laugh or be humorous about (something that is not funny in itself).

Photo: Jack Abramoff

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