James Carville, the Cajun Who Can’t Stop Ragin’

A few years ago, when James Carville was teaching at Louisiana State University, he heard that one of his students had gotten into the school of her dreams to work on an advanced degree. He wanted to toast her.

“I get a $25 champagne and four plastic flutes,” he recalled, “and I said to the students: ‘All right. You are not going to get out of James Carville’s class unless you know how to properly open a bottle of champagne.’

“I said: ‘Here’s what you’re going to do. You don’t pop it like you see in the movies or you’re going to poke somebody’s eye out. You take the foil off. Now you’re going to take a dishcloth, and you’re going to execute the classic counterclockwise movement. The bottle is going to go one way; the cork is going to go the other way. You just ease it out, and the sound that you are looking for is the sigh of a satisfied woman.’

“The next Tuesday, the dean comes into my office and he said: ‘I’m closing the door. We need to have a talk.’”

A female student had complained about the sighing line.

He wanted to mutter to the dean, “Her boyfriend has never heard that sound,” but he simply said, “OK, I’ll endeavor to do better.”

But this is the Ragin’ Cajun we’re talking about, so “do better” really meant “go further”: “I went back in the classroom, and I told the Gilbert Gottfried joke from ‘The Aristocrats,’” Carville continued. “I said: ‘Girl, you wanted me to get in trouble? This is what you do when all is lost and you’re up against the wall.’ Of course, it’s the grossest joke ever.”

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