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As We See It

We’ve heard that one before, Andy Rooney

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Will the indignities never stop? In the last week alone, we learned that Jim Belushi will play a “hard-charging” “Vegas” lawyer—not, alas, in the Glenn Lerner biopic we’re all hoping for, but in The Defenders, a new CBS series sure to reinforce every Vegas cliché; that the city ranks No. 2 in divorce, according to some no-shit list concocted by a magazine. And Andy Rooney (ask your grandparents) curmudged about Vegas on 60 Minutes. “Who’s better for America,” he wheezed, “a machinist in Detroit or a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas?” Rooney’s point, nearly as old as he is, is that gambling doesn’t create a tangible, useful product—quite an indictment from a guy whose network airs Gary Unmarried. Also, in gambling, you know, people lose. But people lose at a lot of things they shouldn’t gamble on; that’s why the world needs hard-charging divorce lawyers. And when that machinist is on his deathbed, reviewing his life, will he think about all the metal he’s tooled, or about his Vegas vacation (or family trip to Disney World, for that matter)? Rooney forgets that experience is a product, indeed a human need, as fundamental to a well-lived life as machine parts. Still, you have to be mildly grateful to him for briefly distracting us from the true indignities of our economic, political and creative (I mean, Jim Belushi?) realities. Compared to our unemployment rate, Rooney’s snark is nothing.

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