CHICAGO, September 8, 2011–On Thursday night, President Obama plans to unveil his $4 billion jobs plan to the nation. He has promised that, finally after almost three years, he is going to fix the economy. But, so far, he has been long on speeches, short on answers.
He is one big long, short story.
Let’s face it: President Obama is in trouble. But, more importantly, America is in trouble too.
The President needs all the help he can get. Even from former Saturday Night Live comedian Colin Quinn.
Especially from Colin Quinn.
Quinn is currently starring in “Long Short Story” at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago. The live show, directed by Jerry Seinfeld, is a humorous history of the world in 75 minutes. It takes some people more than 75 minutes to get out of bed in the morning. The history of the world in 75 minutes? Whew!
Quinn is one of those classic Irish funnymen; the kind of guy you’d like to have a Guinness with, maybe sing a rousing chorus or two of “Wild Colonial Boy.” He’s a guy’s guy. No sissy stuff here.
More importantly, he put up with me for a half-hour interview; that says something. We made it through the madcap interview, prevailing over publicist eye-rolling and various other interruptions.
And when we were done, I thought, here’s a guy who has actually studied the rise and fall of great civilizations and asked the question, “What have we learned?”
In “Long Short Story,” Quinn uncovers the bad habits that have toppled the great civilizations of the world. For instance, he’s got the Greeks down: “So the search for the self didn’t work. And while the Greeks were busy thinking, the Romans came in, conquered them, and said ‘what do you think about that?’”
That’s the thing about Irish humor. Humorists like Quinn wrap their truths and insights in an everyman smile and a laugh. We find we learned something and we didn’t even realize it. That’s what “Long Short Story” is all about. See, how tricky we Irish are?
President Obama could also learn something from Quinn’s “Long Short Story.”
With unemployment at 14 million and the country facing $15 trillion in debt, Americans are asking the tough questions: Is this our epic decline that world historians will mark as our America’s swan song? Is President Obama the last American President?
According to Quinn, whether it is the Greeks, the Romans, or the Sumerians, all great civilizations follow a troubling pattern: They rise, contribute to the advance of human technology and culture, implode on excess and stupidity, and disappear into the annals of world history, only to reappear briefly in classroom texts that some eight year-old smart-aleck is forced to read. And that’s that.
The only question that remains is: Is this it? Can you stop the civilization train from falling off the tracks? Is America too big to fail? With Snooki and Dr. Phil as our main cultural achievements, Quinn might say that America already has.
At least, that’s Quinn’s long, short story and…he’s sticking to it.
Commentator William J. Kelly is also a contributor to Breitbart.com and edits the Tea Party Reports for the
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