Famous in a Small Town

By Bill Maher

Benjamin Smith, 44, of Pittsford, New York was living the American Dream, sitting in his car with a rifle and a machete, when he was arrested by the Secret Service. According to Reuters, he had been ratted out by his own mother, who found a note in his room that said: "I'm going to work for George W. Bush and the Pentagon. I have to slay a dragon and then Barbara Bush is mine." (We're pretty sure he meant the daughter, not the grandma.) After his arrest, when questioned about his marital status, Smith said he was "working on a relationship with Barbara Bush." So you have to admire him for that. In this crazy, hook-up world, how many men are willing to work on a relationship? 

Here's the other neat thing about this story. Benjamin Smith - dragon-slayer and prospective Presidential son-in-law, is from Pittsford, the same small town as the late Christopher Lasch, who wrote The Culture of Narcissism. The book that warned us that our culture was turning us into ego lunatics, suffering from "the fascination with fame and celebrity, the fear of competition... the shallowness and transitory quality of personal relations, the horror of death." And this was the 70s, before Duck Dynasty and the Kardashians. 

Lasch wrote: "Long-term social changes created a scarcity of jobs, devalued the wisdom of the ages and brought all forms of authority (including the authority of experience) into disrepute."  

The family unit fell apart, and this left us easy pickings for People magazine to tell us they knew we were special and sell us shit that would "put a premium on the manipulation of interpersonal relations, discourage the formation of deep personal attachments and at the same time provide the narcissist with the approval he needs in order to validate his self-esteem."  

We kind of felt like dirt, but in our hearts we knew we were all going to slay dragons and marry the President's daughter if we ate enough Snickers. Welcome to Pittsford.