Dave Barry for Safire’s Job

In “Dave Barry – Elegy for the humorist,” Slate’s Bryan Curtis explains why the humor columnist, who last week decided to stop writing for a while, is “the most heroic newspaper columnist in America.” After a brief career retrospective and a discussion of what makes a Dave Barry column a Dave Barry column, Curtis hits us with a novel suggestion:

In his valedictory, Barry refused to rule out a return to column-writing. Here’s an idea: As soon as William Safire shuffles off to the Old Columnists’ Home, put Barry smack dab in the middle of the Times editorial page. Barry confessed a few years ago that he’s a raving libertarian—just the kind of dyspeptic crank who would take pleasure in thumbing Washington in the eye. Give him 14 inches twice a week and let him write whatever he wants. Why settle for another graying libertarian when you can have a libertarian who makes booger jokes?

I like it.

Update: So does Stephen Green

FILED UNDER: Humor, Media, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. JakeV says:

    I don’t know– sounds like it might be an example of the Peter Principle in action.

    I like Barry, and feel a certain connection to him since he went to the same college as I did and once worked for my hometown’s local paper. He used to be fantastic. But when I’ve read his stuff recently it seems a little tired. I think most of the comedic high points the Slate column refers to come from quite a while ago. And the attempted novel of his I read a few years back (Big Trouble?)was pretty much a mess.

    It seems to me that humorists tend to fizzle out sooner or later. It happened to Garry Larson, Bill Watterson, and Berke Breathed. It seems to have recently happened to Garrison Keillor and Garry Trudeau. Once the fizzle occurs, I think the best option is probably to hang it up.

    Of course, he’d be an improvement on Safire no matter what.

  2. McGehee says:

    It happened to Trudeau all right, but I wouldn’t call 20 years ago “recently.” 😉