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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's so funny I forgot to laugh

Where's Gilda Radner when we really need her?

I was going to ignore the Tempest in a Teapot du Jour until by copy of The New Yorker arrived today (what you didn't think I was an elitist liberal to boot?)

Taking a good close look at Barry Blitt's cover, I thought Barack Obama should have responded to the cliche- (or, for the sake of argument, smear-) ridden drawing and said something along the lines of:
"My ears are all wrong and Michelle couldn't get her hair into an Angela Davis-'fro even if she wanted to."
Instead, Obama and his aides responded with an answer that brought make memories of Radner's Lisa Loopner:
"It's so funny I forgot to laugh."
It's clear that after 7 1/2 years of a president who would be a joke if it weren't so serious that this is a nation that has forgotten how to laugh. Obama seems especially humor-challenged -- whether it's because of the fishbowl in which he lives or maybe he really doesn't know how to give and take a joke.

Blitt's cartoon is clearly satire, freighted with every slam aimed at the Kansas-born, Indonesia and Hawaii-raised son of an African man and a white woman. Yes, the rumors and innuendo floating around about the Obamas are nasty and refuse to die.

But by raising the protest, Obama and his aides succeeded in only making sure the cover cartoon would be seen by people just over the Hudson River in California (recalling Saul Steinberg's famous satirical cartoon).

Presidential candidates are now apparently judged by whether Americans want to have a beer with them. George Bush (a recovering alcoholic) got that vote over Al Gore and John Kerry. Obama will need to buy a lot of rounds to get that vote.

But imagine what he could do if, when the next slight surfaces, he reacts like Emily Litella, the frumpy, hard-of-hearing editorial reply maven who waxed indignant about "presidential "erections until she was set straight by anchorman Chevy Chase.

Or better still, how about the gum-chewing Roseanne Roseannadanna, who would go off on a mind-bending screed on some topic raised by a Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey, until, in the end, she would come to a conclusion something like this:
"If it's not the Muslim rumor, it's about his anti-American priest. If it's not about the flag pin he doesn't wear, it's about the flag in the fireplace. If it's not Osama, then it's Hussein. It just goes to show you, it's always something."

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