Saturday, May 06, 2017

Make 'em laugh

"Nobody has a sense of humor any more, " Jeff Sessions complained only last week, after people objected to his description of Hawaii as "a rock out in the Pacific" where another so-called judge had blocked Trump's latest version of the Muslim travel ban.  To be honest, I wasn't aware he was going for a laugh; maybe it was the delivery.  But he's right about the lack of funny in our time.  Or rather, there's funny and then there's funny.

Desiree Fairooz thought it was funny when, at Sessions's confirmation hearing, Richard Shelby, the other white meat (from Alabama), said the nominee's record of "treating all Americans equally under the law is clear."  She laughed out loud.  As a result, she was prosecuted and convicted of "disorderly or disruptive conduct."  Clearly a nasty woman, and a warning to all us jokesters. 

Judging by the high-fiving at the Rose Garden beer bust yesterday, something funny must have happened.  Turns out it was the passage of the Definitely Not Obama Health Care Act by the House, where it sailed through by two votes, relieving the terrible tax burden on the rich and condemning all the Billy Kimmels whose parents can't afford open-heart surgery.  Now it's up to the Senate to come up with something even more amusing. 

In such an atmosphere, it's not surprising that a professional comedian should be attacked for being intentionally, unquestionably funny.  Stephen Colbert talked for ten minutes about John Dickerson's (let's say) interview with Trump -- the one that ended when Donzo scuttled out of the room to avoid any more embarrassing questions.  (Sean Spicer has adopted the same technique.)  The last minute was devoted to this over-the-top, completely cathartic rant, addressed directly to Trump and requiring quotation in full:

"Mr. Trump, I love your presidency.  I call it Disgrace the Nation.  You're not the POTUS, you're the bloatus.  You're the glutton with the button.  You're a regular Gorge Washington.  You're the presidunce.  But you're turning into a real pricktator.  You attract more skinheads than free Rogaine.  You have more people marching against you than cancer.  You talk like a sign-language gorilla who got hit in the head.  In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's cock holster.  Your presidential library is going to be a kid's menu and a couple of Juggs* magazines.  The only thing smaller than your hands is your tax returns, and you can take that any way you want."

As Homer Simpson would say, it's funny because it's true.  We all wish we could say it like Colbert and his writers.  And anyway, CBS censored two words:  "cock holster."  But those are the words that have caused all the "controversy," with demands that Colbert be fired and the FCC getting involved.  I haven't seen any objections from the LGBT people, but plenty on their behalf, pouncing on  "cock holster" as hate speech instead of what it is, an accurate characterization of Trump's creepy admiration for yet another dictator.  Nobody seems to care that "glutton with the button" is pretty insulting to overweight people, or that gorillas come in for gratuitous abuse.  (It's hard enough for a human to learn to sign, and these creatures don't even have opposable thumbs.) 

Relax, Colbert's job is safe for a reason even Trump can understand:  ratings.  He may be audited but he won't get fired, or even furloughed like Andy Rooney.  Neil Cavuto, one of the few Fox pundits not accused of behaving like an oversexed yak around the office, has promised to keep an eye on him and report back to the base, so that's all right, isn't it?

Now more than ever seems it meet to laugh.  Hard and often.  Trump has no sense of humor and if his skin was any thinner he could be used for anatomy lectures.  Every day I miss George Carlin and Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks, and the less funny but equally mordant Molly Ivins, but we still have Colbert and Andy Borowitz and Louis CK and a few others keeping us more or less sane.  And "cock holster" is pretty mild.  I mean, you should see the stuff Lee Papa (the Rude Pundit) comes up with. 

*I believe this is the correct spelling.  Now that ISPs can sell our personal information to the highest bidder, I refuse to do a search.  Don't need those ads popping up.        


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