"Oh, how the mighty have fallen": Readers write in about Dennis Miller.

Published April 22, 2003 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read "Dennis the Menace," by Heather Havrilesky.]

Sounds to me like Heather just doesn't like Miller's politics. Is someone feeling a little thin-skinned lately? If Miller was turning his scathing humor on Bush, Cheney, Enron, and all the other "funny" topics, I bet she'd be singing his praises.

-- Mark Jankus

"Dennis the Menace," and its depiction of what Dennis Miller has become, filled me with the sad sensation of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen." The gung-ho, irascible tough guy and his right-wing sentiments are surprisingly different from the Dennis Miller I enjoyed on "Saturday Night Live" episodes from the late '80s. Frequently accompanied by A. Whitney Brown's sharp monologues, Dennis Miller was the anchorman of a "Weekend Update" segment that witnessed six years of Reagan-Bush administrations and didn't hesitate to criticize them through puckish wit. One example: Looking at a photo of Bush dressed in workout clothes and doing stretches, Miller cracked, "Wish he could be as flexible on abortion."

Although "Weekend Update" took many memorable jabs at Republican leaders, Miller did joke about other aspects of life and culture, including Democratic pols (e.g., the scandals of Gary Hart).

But in the SNL episodes I saw, I got no indication of the rancorous, small-minded man he seems to have become. Recalling those old episodes where he and Brown roasted Bush, it is mind-boggling to see his current praise for Bush's son.

To see statements like how Dubya has made him "respect the American presidency again" ... "I would call the French 'scumbags,' but that would be a disservice to bags filled with scum" ... "What about Alaska? ... Are we just never gonna do anything with Alaska, ever?" ... Yikes. Sounds like he might want to trade the suit for a vinyl jacket and change his name to Miller Savage.

-- D. P. Pare

Ever since he left SNL, moved to L.A., and married a model, Dennis Miller has been working his way to the far right of his stage. Like so many others of his (my-our) generation, once he got a few bucks in his pocket he turned into someone who hates taxes, social services provided by the government, public schools, people who have kept their conscience, etc., etc. I saw him on Leno a while ago and literally had to change the channel, he was raving about how wonderful it would be to kick some ass in the Middle East. I suppose once his looks went, short-man syndrome caught up with him. Ever notice how tiny his hands are?

-- Kathleen Schultz

The review of Miller's HBO special is a pathetic attempt by Heather Havrilesky to punish him for not agreeing with her politics. Funny to read this obvious lightweight thinker criticize Miller as being juvenile. What a joke. I'm sure Heather is a seasoned and experienced political thinker doing TV and entertainment commentary as a part-time gig to supplement her income from the Council on Foreign Relations.

What a truly dishonest review written by a poorly educated hack and illuminating the left-wing lock in higher education.

Some things are obvious. It is clear that Heather does not like conservatives and does not understand politics, our culture, or human nature, and is unconfrontable with ideas that do not resemble her own.

I listened to Dennis on Jay Leno and he was absolutely perfect in his criticism, and all of his points could certainly withstand a rebuttal from the esteemed Heather Havrilesky.

-- Steve McKee

Dennis Miller is a comedian. His job is to sum things up with one punch line. He's not doing anything different than Salon does with, for example, its article headlines. The fact that he doesn't oppose war does not automatically mean he has a "childish grasp of politics." If having a strong opinion one way or the other equates with a simplistic view, then you should be attacking Jon Stewart, too.

It seems to me that Salon generally champions those whose opinions align with their own, and attacks those who don't. I wish someone on this site would own up to that fact instead of cloaking it behind "objective reporting."

-- Debra Lowe

Thank you for finally writing about Miller's sad demise. I remember the days when he was clever, perceptive and interesting. Recently I find him hateful, misguided and, frankly, disturbed. I very much appreciated your reasoned analysis of his recent positioning and what I've also found to be childish and inadequate take on politics. I've often found myself embarrassed for him as he fails to trouble himself with a point and instead aims for the quick laugh. No doubt, he is now a pathetic figure unworthy of comparison to Jerry Seinfeld or Chris Rock. I only hope that both Miller and his hip brand of hate leave the public forum ASAP.

-- Ladan Atai

Heather Havrilesky was dead right about Dennis Miller. I've always thought Miller was his own best audience. I'll bet he has a lot of fun, alone in his den at night, acting out his TV routines for his own amusement, laughing out loud at himself, giving high-fives to the mirror, and marveling at his own self-infatuated wisdom.

-- S. Keister

By Salon Staff

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