Joel Stein's Paper Trail: Mocking Christmas and Wanting to Boogie Down With Janet Reno

For those who are not well-acquainted with Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein, the "humorist" who wants "no parades" for the troops, there is a bit of an MRC dossier on him going back to his days as a quirky Time writer:

December 11, 2000 Time: Stein interviewed Bill O’Reilly and asked: "Does Fox News get money directly from the GOP or does it have to launder it first for the sake of the FCC?"

– July 29, 2002 Time: Stein’s fantasy of dancing with Janet Reno, unfulfilled: Stein recounted his attendance at Reno’s dance party in Miami, a self-deprecating fundraiser based on Will Ferrell's "Saturday Night Live" skit brought to real life for the Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate in her failed attempt to turn out Gov. Jeb Bush. Stein rued: "I leave my friends behind and rush the stage to try to dance with Reno, only to find myself in a small crowd of men living the same fantasy. When I finally push my way past them, she is gone."

(The column was titled: "Who Knew? The Lady Is a Dancin' Machine." The weird subhead: "Think Elian brought out Reno's wild side? Step past the velvet rope at her rave.")

December 6, 2005 Los Angeles Times: Foreshadowing his attack on American soldiers, Stein mocked Christmas and its fans:

[Jerry Falwell's] Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign newspaper ads tell you to call "if you are facing persecution for celebrating Christmas." I'm thinking too much time spent studying Jesus can give you a persecution complex.

As a Jew, I don't care that much about Christmas. It's hard to celebrate someone's birth when you supposedly killed the guy. It would be like Arnold Schwarzenegger giving gifts for Tookie Day.

We Jews find it a little embarrassing that adults can still make such a big fuss over Christmas. To us, Jesus was just a cool guy everyone liked because he died young. And even 16-year-old girls eventually take down their James Dean posters...

I get that I live in a Christian nation. And I'm fine with it. I like you guys. I think it's adorable that you ring giant, white pipe cleaners around streetlights and make everything taste like peppermint and thought the world was going to end when the calendar went to three zeros in a row. It's like living with children.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis