The Joker

by John J. Miller on March 23, 2011

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

My profile of Walter Williams in the current National Review includes this anecdote:

Yet he’s a born showman. In 1997, at the Cato Institute’s 20th-anniversary black-tie dinner, Cato president Ed Crane buzzed through his opening remarks. He skipped the routine, common in Washington, of introducing a long list of dignitaries. “I just asked all the famous people to stand up,” he says. “It was sort of a joke.” But Williams rose from his seat near the front of the room and waved a white handkerchief over his head. “He stood up and brought the house down,” says Crane. What most observers didn’t notice was one of Williams’s table companions: the actor Kurt Russell, whose movie Breakdown would open No. 1 at the box office the next day. Russell remained planted in his chair, laughing at the stunt with everyone else. Remembering the incident, Williams quotes his grandmother: “It’s a poor dog that won’t wag its own tail.”

I was at this dinner but had forgotten about this incident until my friend Deroy Murdock reminded me. The Cato Institute has a photo from the event.


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