A Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer on Sunday responded to a query from "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer by saying, "As the immortal Marisa Tomei said in 'My Cousin Vinny,' that's a bulls--t question."
Edmund Morris, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for "The Rise of Teddy Roosevelt," apparently felt Schieffer was being too "presentist" with his questions that were trying to "pluck people out of the past and expect them to comment on what's happening today" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: What would Teddy Roosevelt think of today's politics, Edmund?
EDMUND MORRIS, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING BIOGRAPHER: You keep asking these presentist questions, Bob. As the immortal Marisa Tomei said in “My Cousin Vinny,” that's a bulls--t question. Because you cannot pluck people out of the past and expect them to comment on what's happening today. I can only say that what he represented in his time was that what we look for in our presidents now, what we hope for in our presidents now and we're increasingly disappointed. He was somebody who understood foreign cultures. He represented the dignity of the United States. He was forceful but at the same time civilized. And what I really feel these days is we've become such an insular people, and I'm particularly sensitive to this as I suppose Arianna [Huffington] is as an immigrant because I represent, I come from another culture. I can call myself legitimately an African-American. And I'm aware of the fact that people elsewhere in the world think differently from us. I can sort of see "us," us Americans with their eyes, and not all that I see is attractive. I see an insular people who are insensitive to foreign sensibilities, who are lazy, obese, complacent, and increasingly perplexed as to why we are losing our place in the world to people who are more dynamic than us and more disciplined.
This was the second time during the segment that Schieffer asked Morris what Roosevelt would think about what's going on today, and it appears that twice was too many.
But despite the comedic value of the exchange, why else would Morris - whose third installment in his Roosevelt trilogy is scheduled to be released Tuesday - be invited on such a program?
It certainly wasn't to tell viewers Americans are lazy, obese, complacent, undisciplined, and stupid.
After all, just about any liberal media member could do that.