Tickle Me Sullum



Reason's own Jacob Sullum is becoming legendary for his O'Reilly Factor appearances. The latest issue of Esquire has a list (not available online, alas) of the most memorable eruptions by the Zeus of Mt. Loofah and the tally includes part of this hilarious, vein-popping Socratic dialogue between Gentlemen Bill and the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use:

O'REILLY: Look, you irresponsible libertines cause so much damage to this society, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I'll give you the last word.

SULLUM: Well, my message is not a message of libertinism. It's a message of responsibility, and I'm saying we should apply responsibility across the board, regardless of the current legal status of the substance and that…

O'REILLY: Let me break this to you gently, all right.

SULLUM: … temperance is better than abstinence as…

O'REILLY: Getting intoxicated is not responsible. Let me break this to you. Getting intoxicated is not responsible.

SULLUM: So you don't drink.

O'REILLY: Correct.

SULLUM: You don't drink coffee. You never drink alcohol. You don't smoke cigarettes.

O'REILLY: Oh, stop it. I'm not even going to get into it. I'm not a hypocrite. Mr. Sullum, you're not either. You want to get stoned, have a good time. Don't get in a car, and don't come near my family.


That's from a show that originally aired on May 28, 2003. And just this past Sunday, the NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait…Don't Tell Me, cited the same episode during a segment in which Sesame Street's Elmo and puppeteer Kevin Clash were asked questions about O'Reilly's unwillingness to, in fact, give guests the last word. Check out the audio by clicking on the Not My Job audio link and going to about 10 minutes in.