Simanaitis Says

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CULTURAL SATIRIST Fran Lebowitz has been called a latter-day Dorothy Parker. Here are some of my favorite examples of Lebowitz’s wit gleaned from here and there.

Frances Ann Lebowitz, New Jersey-born 1950, American author, wit, and cultural satirist. Image by Christopher Macsurak,

Lebowitz and Algebra. According to her Wikipedia entry (a very witty one), she described algebra as “the first thing which they presented to me that I absolutely could not understand at all, and had no interest in understanding.”

Wikipedia continues, “She was sent to a psychologist after taking the SAT, because the margin between her 100% score in English and her extremely poor score in math was the greatest on record in New Jersey.”

Lebowitz on Politics. Wikipedia says, “Lebowitz identifies as a liberal Democrat but is often critical of Democratic politicians and policy. She has been a vociferous critic of the Republican Party for many years and more recently of President Donald Trump…. She has called Trump ‘a cheap hustler,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘lazy,’ and ‘a little crazy, but mostly he’s dumb’ ”

Geez, no wonder I like Fran.

Her view on Ronald Reagan: “… a template for a stupid President… before Reagan there was no idea a President could be stupid.”

On guns: “These people who love Trump and they love guns, these are the most frightened people I have ever seen in my life… I was an 18-year-old penniless girl in the middle of a dangerous city and I was never as afraid as these men in Texas, living in a state of terror.”

Justice Lebowitz. In a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interview on May 21, 2015, Lebowitz said, “My dream job is to become a Supreme Court Judge. I actually read Supreme Court opinions. I make snap judgements; I’d be very efficient. And you don’t have to be a lawyer to be on the Supreme Court—and I’m already not a lawyer.”

According to, “Lebowitz is a fan of Law & Order. During a visit to the set, she asked the producers for a role in the series.” In fact, she portrayed Judge Janice Goldberg on Law & Order and its sequel Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Judge Janice Goldberg of Law & Order.

Lebowitz and Children. In her book Metropolitan Life, Lebowitz addressed “Children: Pro or Con?” Among the Pros: “I must take issue with the term ‘a mere child,’ for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult.”

Metropolitan Life, by Fran Lebowitz, E.P. Dutton, 1978.

Ever the practical person, Lebowitz observed, “Children are small in stature, which makes them quite useful for getting at those hard-to-reach places.”

“Children,” Lebowitz said, “ask better questions than do adults. ‘May I have a cookie?’ ‘Why is the sky blue?’ and ‘What does a cow say?’ are far more likely to elicit a cheerful response than ‘Where’s your manuscript?’ and “Who’s your lawyer?’ ”

Also, she said, “Children sleep either alone or with small toy animals. The wisdom of such behavior is unquestionable, as it frees them from the immeasurable tedium of being privy to the whispered confessions of others. I have yet to run across a teddy bear who was harbouring the secret desire to wear a maid’s uniform.”

On the negative side, Lebowitz wrote, “Children respond inadequately to sardonic humor and veiled threats” and “All too often children are accompanied by adults.”

Thanks, Fran, for your sense of humor. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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