The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, May 17, 2002  

Anne Robinson Says Americans are Stupid
Yet She’s Not Going Home

Anne Robinson, the One-Hit Wonder game-show hostess, has been ranting to anyone who might listen that Americans are stupid.

Robinson’s latest broadside appears in The Mirror, a below-brow British tabloid for which she once worked, and one which, near as we can tell, is published in the back room of a massage parlor.

The evidence Robinson presents in support of the alleged stupidity of Americans: “You have to remember that only five per cent of Americans have passports,” says Robinson. “That explains a lot,” she adds, without, well, explanation. The fact that Americans live thousands of miles away from countries that require passports for entry seems to have escaped the allegedly bright game show hostess.

And this: “On one U.S. show I asked a young soap star how many minutes there were in half an hour. And she said 60.” Frankly, expecting to find members of Mensa among the casts of soap operas makes Robinson appear even more foolish than the alleged subject of her anecdote.

And for good measure, Robinson throws in a highly dubious story about President Bush: “I saw [President] George Bush at a benefit concert actually waving at Stevie Wonder. Someone had to tell him ‘he can’t see you.’”

There’s more.

“You can always tell Texans,” Robinson claims. “They wear big, bright, multi-coloured sweaters. Every time I see one, I think God’s made another rainbow,” a sorry attempt at humor if ever we saw one.

“Then you get the clean-shaven [r]ight-wing Christian types. The Jews on our team are always laughing at them saying: ‘He wouldn’t have let us hide in his attic,’” Robinson explains in a stunning display of bigotry.

Robinson may simply be upset. After all, “The Weakest Link” will be dropped from the airwaves come September because of disastrously low ratings. The inevitability of this outcome was apparent from day one, as Robinson’s nasty attitude and lame trademark -- the terse “good-bye” with which she dismisses losing contestants -- quite obviously had no staying power.

As for staying power, Robinson seems to have it in spades. When “The Weakest Link” comes to its most welcome conclusion, will Robinson pack her bags and head back to jolly old England? No! She’s planning to stay in the U.S., among the stupid Yanks. Robinson is reportedly in discussions regarding a possible talk show, “Anne Talks Tough.”

Granted, there are cultural differences separating Americans from the Brits, and perhaps this accounts for Robinson’s inability or unwillingness to appreciate the citizens of the country that is making her rich.

To cite just one example, in the U.S. the care of one’s teeth is considered the mark of a civilized being, whereas there apparently isn’t a single modern school of dentistry anywhere in Great Britain or Ulster, the citizens of which are immediately detectable by the resemblance of their dentition to Indian corn.

In the end, however, we are left with this thought: Since when does reading questions on a television game show, questions for which one has the answers in hand, qualify one as an intellectual?

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