I've watched the ebb and flow of my father's career with varying degrees of pride, fascination, skepticism and-for reasons too numerous to mention here but especially appropriate in this case-a sense of humor.
Just when I thought the rabbit hole that is being the son of Regis Philbin couldn't get any weirder, Alice discovers, as James Brown put it, "Papa's got a Brand New Bag."
Reege, the man who with such loving clumsiness struggled with the safety pins, so called, to change my diapers, now "represents everything that is wrong with television," according to Adam Werbach, creator of, and spokesman for, the generally angry online game and Web site SMASHREGIS.COM.
Just when I thought [my father had] peaked, hearing of his newest achievement, I point-and-clicked my way to the Web site only to discover that Werbach is but another ambitious, enterprising young man who apparently
doesn't mind cashing in on his personification of evil to promote himself and his fiefdom of interests. These include his other Web site, thingreenline.com; his own commercial media entity, Act Now Productions; and the environmental "new" program he hosts, and his company produces, The Thin Green Line, airing on cable television's Outdoor Life Network.
For, you see, SMASHREGIS.COM has less to do with Regis Philbin and the new ABC game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, than it does with Adam Werbach's political agenda.
Frequently seen among the hipster-punditocracy on ABC's other hit game show, Politically Incorrect, Werbach, 27, simply wants what he knows is best for everybody.
In order to better our lives, this graduate of the prestigious and strange Brown University, shrewdly understands that media access is essential not only to exporting his message but to his quest for political power.
Werbach's no stranger to political power. At age 23, according to his Web-posted biography, he was elected national president of the Sierra Club, sort of the environmental movement's answer to the National Rifle Association. He's authored a book about how to annoy people, called Act Now, Apologize Later; and his articles are featured in numerous publications. In fact, his very name was an "answer-in-the-form-of-a-question, please, idiot," on Jeopardy.
Werbach even ran for mayor of San Francisco!
But don't dare to think that Werbach has put forth such a Herculean effort to enhance his own popularity, prosperity or political power.
According to a San Francisco Examiner article, also available at thingreenline.com, Werbach established the SMASHREGIS Web site with the aim of "crushing bad ideology in the media."
Ever read Animal Farm?
Werbach told the Examiner he's "trying to lead a takeover [presumably, of the media] for people who actually believe in something." Verbiage like this usually translates into "people who believe like Adam Werbach." "Media can be a tool for democracy," he declared.
Well, every single person in this democracy who freely chooses to watch Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? flunks Werbach's socio-economic sobriety test; "America is drunk with it's [sic] new wealth," he complains in his online column.
By watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Werbach continues, "We're acting as if more money will create more happiness." Oh, by the way, should you not be skillful enough to win a SMASHREGIS T-shirt by playing the SMASHREGIS.COM game, you can purchase one, with money, in medium, large and extra-large sizes for $15 a pop. Another $20 gets one for baby! Start 'em young, eh, Adam? Of course, the take from selling these material things is used only to maintain the Web site.
"It's the dawn of the new millennium, and it would seem that America could find something better to talk about than the bleach-toothed Regis Philbin and his quest to give away ABC's prize money." There may, in fact, be better things to talk about. But luckily for Adam, Regis Philbin and that good-for-nothing-game show is what people are talking about.
Perhaps, if we watched what he recommends, we would be better off. Adam shares that he "grew up watching.The A-Team." Why, even he laughed "every time Mr. Furley thought Jack was gay on Three's Company."
Television is "not being used to connect us to the wonderful diversity of life.to share our unique cultural traditions." What's he talking about? I can see back-to-back episodes of Cops on Court TV every weeknight!
Imparting a lesson, Werbach refers to the Muppets' creator, the late Jim Henson, who said, "Television is basically teaching you, whether you want it to or not." What troubles Adam is that Millionaire is not educating us according to Adam's approved "ideology."
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is just a game show, not a social indicator. Lighten up, man. Did your girlfriend hide the damned remote again?
In fact, Adam, many of those blessed with a whole lot of cash are known to give some of it to groups like the Sierra Club!
For emphasis, he reminds us of a great, important quote by legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow: "Television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us."
Is The Simpsons on yet?
Philbin is an editorial assistant at the FOX News Channel.