Me and Michael Medved

Me and Michael Medved

Like his reactionary radio compatriot Dr. Laura, Michael Medved casts himself as a paladin of “judeo-christian” values, which seems rather curious to this particular third-generation nonbeliever. And I would guess that even the most politically conservative American Jews would find Medved’s peculiar avocation to be ill-advised at best when you consider how often anti-Semitism has been held up as a “Christian virtue” over the last two millennia. But Medved took his curious brand of self-flagellating philo-Christianity to a new level when he suggested that American Jews really shouldn’t get so worked up about Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which is, after all, fundamentally a tribute to Christian piety. This all brings me to the brush with greatness I experienced with Mr. Medved a few years back:

So there I am at my local Border’s in Montclair, California, listening to the latest Burt Bacharach tribute cd, when I looked up and saw a familiar face. It took me a second to figure out who it was.

“Do I know that guy?” I thought. Then it hit me—It was that reactionary movie reviewer creep, Michael Medved. It really is weird to see one of those little talking heads in person, outside of the idiot box.

So I took off my headphones and sauntered on over to the edge of the crowd—it wasn’t a crowd exactly, perhaps a dozen or so people. Medved was hawking his new book (Saving Childhood) about how The Media, public schools and radical left-wing textbook publishers are terrifying our children into believing that our world is on the brink of an ecological catastrophe. Unfortunately for Medved, this new book, which I’m sure he worked very hard on, was not selling very well, particularly in relation to his previous book which was about how Hollywood scorns (you guessed it) “traditional Judeo-Christian values”. The scanty sales of the book he was peddling, coupled with the sparseness of his audience, seem to have triggered a rather unattractive side of the author’s personality.

Medved began by offering some examples of how textbooks are designed to terrify children into becoming rabid environmentalists. Had I chosen to speak, my first point would have been that it was obvious that Medved had done an extremely selective examination of said textbooks, a topic upon which I, as an elementary-school teacher, could have spoken to with some authority. However, I would have conceded the point that there is never a good excuse for frightening the kids, even if the world really were going to hell in a bucket.

But like a coward, I stood in silence. (Or perhaps it was wisdom and prudence which kept me silent. As Castiglione noted, “Every vice has its corresponding virtue.”) Anyhow, I continued to listen to the second part of Medved’s argument, which was basically that Global Warming is really just a bunch of hype.

At this point, a young women in the audience had the temerity to question some of his points, and Medved completely lost it.

“How old are you?” He thundered.

“I really don’t see what that has to do with anything?” The young lady wisely and bravely responded.

“Just answer me!” He continued to shout.


“Nineteen! This is nothing personal, but at nineteen a person simply doesn’t have the experience to…”

“Are you saying that my opinions are invalid simply because of my…”

“You are being very rude!” Medved cut her off. “Do you know the scientific background of the people who signed the Kyoto Protocol? Do you? Most of them were behavioral scientists!”

At this point, Medved looked up at me at the outskirts of his diminishing audience. I grimaced, slowly shook my head back and forth, and walked away.

When I got home that night, I went over the discussion several times in my head, coming up with lots of wonderful rejoinders to Medved’s rant. For example: “Even if what you say about the scientific credentials of the Kyoto signers were actually true, there are plenty of real scientist who believe that Global warming is a real threat.” But I didn’t say anything when I had the chance, and I left that poor young girl to fend for herself against the maniacal Mr. Medved. Maybe I really am a writer.

by Richard W. Bray

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