Saturday, October 23, 2010


So one of my conservative friends forwarded the following joke to me today:

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam going into downtown Chicago .
> Nothing is moving north or south. Suddenly a man knocks on
> his window.
> The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened, what's the hold up?"
> "Terrorists have kidnapped Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rosie O' Donnell, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
> They are asking for a $10 Million ransom. Otherwise, they are going to
> douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We are going from car
> to car, taking up a collection."
> The driver asks, "On average, how much is everyone giving?"
> "About a gallon."

Now as a sometime comedy writer and cartoon gagwriter who has often used sarcasm for humorous purpose, and even occasionally mean-spirited humor, perhaps I should just let this one go by without comment. But I won't. First of all, it is beyond mean-spirited and definitely reminiscent of some of the jokes aimed at Jews by German comedians in the 1930s and white racists during the civil rights turmoil. It resembles some of the bad jokes told at Ku Klux Klan rallies in the South that I covered as a reporter in the 1960s.

I know it also seems like some of the jokes about lawyers, suggesting that the only good lawyer is a dead lawyer--but by not being about specific lawyers, the harmful intent in those is greatly diluted and not worthy of being taken nearly as seriously as the above joke. Perhaps conservatives and Tea Partiers won't be willing to admit it, but if you belong to neither group, don't you agree that many of them would not be upset if someone actually did set fire to all the above-named people?

I recently heard and agreed with an analyst who said that the difference between the people on the extreme far right and the extreme far left is that those on the right are nasty, self serving, and willing to lie to get the results they want. And just like ordinary non-racist citizens in the South and in Nazi Germany didn't protest at the attacks against blacks and Jews, ordinary, otherwise decent conservatives don't protest some of the outrages of the lunatic fringe--often won't even admit it's happening, even though nowadays there are videos of almost every political utterance.

Here's an example of appropriate anti-Obama humor:
President Obama and the first lady say they will not be exchanging Christmas gifts this year. Michelle Obama says they used to, but she got tired of Barack promising big things and then not delivering.
Pretty cutting, but funny rather than mean. And a few of my own gags:
"Well, Sidney, I'd like to tell you the results of the last election. Do you have room to turn over down there?"

"The bad news is you lost your appeal, the good news is you won reelection."

"I think I lost the election because of the underhanded way in which my opponent kept on repeating every stupid statement I made during the campaign."

Many in the Tea Party and the conservative movement would say that, of course, this joke isn't seriously suggesting all these liberal icons be doused with gasoline and set alight--that can't anyone take a joke, for gosh sake? But this is the epitome of rightwing denial. Here's what Glenn Beck, the presumptive head and most admired spokesperson of the Tea Party, had to say:
"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out."
Obviously, Beck's vaunted born-again Christianity doesn't run to acceptance of or adherence to The Ten Commandments.


Please do check out my other blog, focused on prosperity:

No comments: