Friday, October 26, 2012

laughing with the left

Gareth joined us to watch a recording of Steven Colbert last night.   The show had all of us rolling. 

It was the first time we watched with Gareth, and I got to thinking: what a great way to teach kids about politics.  I certainly don’t think comedy should be anyone’s only source of news, but it seems comedy could be a good vehicle for engaging youth.  You usually have to know something about what’s going on to get the jokes, after all.  

And it doesn't hurt that comedy can make even bad news entertaining.

For example, Donald Trumps bizarre pseudo-extortionist offer to pay $5 million for Obama’s college transcripts struck me as a disturbing.  I didn’t think there was anything funny about this grotesque show of money until Steve Colbert got hold of it. 

 60 second parody of Trump's offer
It’s crude, yes.  But it had a triple positive effect.  First, it allowed us to talk to Gareth about Trump’s stunt with laughter instead of the more bitter or cynical tone I might have adopted after first hearing the story.  Second, it gave us a context for discussing power and money in an election where their connection has become so exaggerated.  Third, and most importantly, it helped us show Gareth how cool his parents are because we can laugh at a joke about dipping balls into people's mouths.  egad.   

So, I'm thinking about how I might be on to something:  I'm thinking we can exploit comedic news programs to engage Gareth in political discussions!  Imagining how that would work, I realized, “Wow. People on the Left are really funny! We have a ton of material to choose from!” 

Win or lose, it seems like it's a lot more fun to be a Democrat than a Republican.

They have Fox News with its flashing lights, dramatic music and low-intelligence messages of fear and doom.  We have Steven Colbert making fun of Fox with his faux-Fox set, his mock drama, and his clever spoofs on their stories and reporting styles. 

They have the blustering of Bill O’Reilly with his arrogant and oversimplified messages of outrage through which he hopes to breed indignation and suspicion for all things Left. 

We have the blustering of Jon Stewart who, rather than instill us with outrage, uses humor to relieve us of it.

 "Chaos on Bullshit Mountain" - from a month ago
 and an unfortunate 10 minutes long, but still has me laughing

And good god, they have Rush Limbaugh.  If you dare venture to listen to his red-faced, spittle-laden hate-speech for more than sixty seconds, it will surely leave you feeling that you need a shower.  I don't begrudge Rush's right to say what he wishes, but I’d trade his world where hatred rules, for Bill Maher’s “New Rules” any day. 
Bill concluding his argument that if we can't manage to tolerate offensive language in others,
 we end up with "The Least Interesting Man in the World." 
If all that’s not enough, we have Andy Borowitz on Twitter:

Romney: "Not only do I believe in drones, I am one." #debate

Sarah Silverman on line:

Sarah: "Let My People Vote!"

and Saturday Night Live on the old fashioned telly: 


Spoofing the first presidential debate

Everywhere I turn, someone’s making me laugh about an election that otherwise makes me want to cry.  That has to be good for my health, right?

With our country so polarized, and our political commentary so full of vitriol, I am grateful that our family can rally together around laughter instead of hate.

And no, it is not lost on me that I just posted a bunch of videos full of crude jokes and profanity and claimed them as something my "family" can rally around.  I guess that's the beauty of having a teenager!

Keep smiling!   J



  1. look at YOU posting videos in your blog! getting the technology down! :)

    the extreme right is just making it so easy to make fun of them!

    1. i am trying! :)

      yes - i think that's why there are so many more comedians on the left. when your politics are ridiculous, it's easy to make fun of you!