Lux Interior once sang that “Life is short/ Filled with stuff.” That aphorism might apply to communists and homosexuals, but it hardly describes the long and uncluttered life recounted in Teaching the Pig to Dance by Fred Thompson. Fred Thompson, as you all know, is a Republican Renaissance man. First of all, he’s an important TeeVee and movie actor who has brought a certain basset hound charm to films like Die Hard 2 and The Hunt for Red October. Secondly, he is a master of the Joke-Tweet, an important new genre that has reached an advanced stage of development in our time. And according to this autobiography, he also moonlights as an unsuccessful political figure. So what figures more in Fred’s life: blue-blazered, malarial Washington or sex-ridden, demon-haunted Hollywood?
Your book reviewer relishes sordid Hollywood tales (true and fictional), so I was eager to get into Teaching the Pig to Dance. Sitting down to read this thing I thought, excitedly, “Surely all the traditional Hollywood horrors are in here: orgies at the Chateau Marmont, snorting cocaine off of a smorgasbord of hookers, driving a Harley into the pool of the Beverly Hilton, prima donna fist-fights with directors, smoking cigars with Clint Eastwood on the beach at Malibu, etc.”
I flipped the pages in vain. There were no hookers or fist-fights or Chateau Marmont orgies. There wasn’t even a motorcycle at the bottom of a pool. In fact, the only sexy Hollywood story in this book is about the time Fred lost a role he really wanted to Paul Newman. This made him angry at first, but then humble and understanding, because hey, PAUL NEWMAN.
The lack of seediness in this book was upsetting, but I learned to live with what it does offer: mostly tales of growing up the son of a used car salesman in Middle Tennessee. This book really isn’t terribly different from Fred’s yuks on the Twitter: folksy, whimsical, and full of jokes. Jokes in the most literal sense, with set-ups that make you go “uh huh, AND?” and punch-lines that engulf you in “haw haw haw.”
Speaking of literal, look at Fred’s important thoughts on interpreting the Bible-Constitution (as written by Church of Christ pastor Thomas Jefferson):
I guess I was a “strict constructionist” at an early age. Of course, this term, when applied to the Constitution, means that the Constitution means what it says.
Simple. Why is this so hard for you libtards to understand? He goes on:
In the Church of Christ, we wholeheartedly agreed with this concept. Except it was the Bible that was to be strictly construed. And the original intent was that of God Himself. It was pretty simple, really. You did what the Bible told you, and you followed the example of the early Christians.
Which Fred Thompson does every day, by knocking back a mint julep, passing out for a few hours, and mumbling his dreams to a ghostwriter.