Saturday, May 3, 2008

Humor in the Democratic Primaries

J.F.K. distinguished himself in part by his wit, but in the (pre-Vietnam) 1960 election the mass media were still somewhat deferential, or at least courteous, to political leaders on the national stage. There was no Laugh-In, no Rich Little, no Chevy Chase, no Saturday Night Live yet. And so J.F.K. could dish out the humor, but wasn't generally an object of parody or derision.

Times have changed. Despite the Liberal U.S. news media's obvious favor, Barack Obama has nevertheless been satirized and parodied to an extent J.F.K. could never have imagined.

The news media abstained from any serious scrutiny of Obama until the cumulative primary election results were irreversible, but all good things must come to an end, and when Saturday Night Live broke ranks to parody its own (NBC) newsman Tim Russert, much of the news herd shifted to more even-handed treatment of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Neither would J.F.K. have recognized the cottage industry in humor driven by the news cycle, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Obama figured prominently in the Daily Show's April 14 "Gaffe-In" feature after his condescending comments about embittered, xenophobic blue-collar Pennsylvanians "clinging" to their (Christian) faith and their guns due to unkept political promises.

The most absurd and stinging parodies nowadays come from the blogosphere. Perhaps the zaniest is Red State Update, presented by two exaggerated "good ole boys" from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Here is their parody of former presidential candidate Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama, accomplished by overdubbing an actual joint interview. It is absurd, more than a little offensive, and side-splittingly hilarious.

1 comment:

chicagoowl said...

D and I love Red State Update. I think Saturday Night Live is going to have a field day with this election.