Burt Prelutsky

Years ago, when I still worked in advertising, I was a copywriter on the Mattel account. It should have been fun because they made toys. But it wasn’t, mainly because of all the restrictions the FCC placed on commercials aimed at children. In one of the spots I wrote, a little boy, playing with his Mattel racing car on the floor, imagined himself leading the pack at the Indy 500. It never got produced. Even though it would have been shot as an obvious daydream, and even though every little squirt playing with the car would imagine himself winning at the Brickyard, we weren’t permitted to show the toys doing anything they couldn’t actually do in real life.

So, how is it that nobody else ever seems to get called on the carpet for their lies and exaggerations? How is it, for instance, that every liberal from Ted Kennedy to Jesse Jackson can get away with pretending that American blacks are still living like slaves, and that four decades after the Civil Rights Act, the only thing keeping blacks out of the cotton fields are Democrats in Washington?

How is it that every rotten movie can get away with lying about how terrific it is? And, unlike other products, they don’t come with money-back guarantees.

And, finally, how is it that Jimmy Carter, that sanctimonious phony who was a disaster during his four years in the White House and a disgrace in the quarter of a century since, can pass himself off as equal parts statesman and saint? While most of us wished that he would simply slink back to his peanut farm after Ronald Reagan whupped his butt in ‘80, we hadn’t realized how starved he was for the spotlight.

Recently, he has been barnstorming all over the country, peddling his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Carter contends that his purpose in writing the book -- in the unlikely event it was he and not some anonymous ghost who actually put Carter’s vile thoughts on paper -- was to open a dialogue about the Middle East. He calls upon America to take what he calls a balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. He claims that America unfairly favors Israel because of the Jewish lobby. He also compares Israel to South Africa in the bad old days, equating the fence they’ve built as protection against terrorists with apartheid.

Where does one begin to deal with all the lies foisted off by Mr. Peanut? Would he have called for a balanced approach to Germany and Czechoslovakia or Germany and Poland in the 1930s? Would he have carried Chamberlain’s umbrella back from Munich?