Suppose I was running for president and a rumor was initiated by my opponent that my wife and I were ultra orthodox Jews, who funneled money and arms to extreme right wing militant groups in Israel.
Everybody with a fog free brain knows this is not so, but there are pockets of ignorance fed by this ugliness that want to believe it, and therefore do.
Soon after the rumors start, a magazine known for its great cartoons and brilliant writing publishes a cover cartoon satirizing the ridiculous accusations. It depicts me in a prayer shawl and yarmulke with a huge nose and bulging eyes, and my wife in the traditional wig worn by orthodox Jewish women, baking bread and cleaning an Uzi at the same time.
I would understand the satiric tone of the cartoon, and I would think that in a world blessed with a sense of humor, it would be a non-issue. Sadly, we do not have the same sense of humor we used to. The world has been made uglier by men of breath-taking greed, of a soullessness so grotesque that it stops decent people in mid sentence.
George Bush does not like to be criticized, he does not tolerate dissent or disagreement with an adroit hand. If you can't stand being criticized, then you can't laugh at yourself, and you don't get irony, and we then become a society that spends a lot of time telling people "that's not funny".
Bernie Mac told a joke without a curse word in it and got heckled at an Obama rally. That's right, heckled by people with enough jack to fork over $2300 for a seat at this event. Try this out: if you don't think it's funny, keep quiet. I promise no one paid to hear your tired behind carp and complain.
Whoopi Goldberg was hushed up for three years because she told a joke that no one got. How do you penalize someone for speaking in a language you don't understand?
None of the late night shows present comedic talent at nearly the rate they used to. Why? Can you name your favorite new comic? No? That's why.
I am going to write a piece now about what I would say if I were Barack Obama regarding the New Yorker cover. It depicts the Senator and Mrs. Obama dressed like they're about to blow up Shea Stadium (saving millions on the demolition job, so thanks. folks).
I would be upset if it were me, but that would not be my main message. More to come.