Fandango’s Friday Flashback — July 5

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. I’ve had this blog for two years, so I have only 2017 and 2018 to draw from.

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer followers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 28th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

It would be great if everyone who reads this post would scroll down to the comments and check out the posts that others provide links to.

I originally published this post on July 5, 2011 in my previous, now defunct blog. Bear in mind that it was written eight years ago, so some of the specific references may be dated, but I still stand by the message.

Politically Correct Stand-up Comedy

D9B2D27B-E1F1-4242-A43D-ECB5528BF099You know what an oxymoron is, right? It’s a rhetorical device, a figure of speech, in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect. Some examples include “jumbo shrimp,” “the silence is deafening,” “final draft,” “voluntary regulation,” and, of course, “military intelligence.”

I’d like to add another phrase to the oxymoron list: politically correct stand-up comedy.

Why should this be an oxymoron? Because stand-up comedy is, by definition, meant to be somewhat controversial, which implies that it is not intended to be politically correct.

After all, stand-up comics are not politicians, heads-of-state, captains of industry and commerce, or religious leaders. They’re friggin’ comedians. They try to make their audiences laugh a lot — and squirm a little. One of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, George Carlin, said, “I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

I enjoy stand-up comedy but I’m concerned for its future in this country if every time a stand-up comic tells a joke that someone feels is not “politically correct,” the comedian feels compelled to make a public apology.

It seems that there is an expectation these days that making jokes about our differences is inappropriate. Even making caricature voices that evoke ethnicity seems to be considered out-of-bounds by some. Bernard Goldberg of Fox News recently accused Jon Stewart of being a racist because he used a “black voice” when doing a bit on GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

I am a fan of Jon Stewart, and, to his credit, rather than apologizing, he shot back at Fox News by pointing out that he makes liberal (no political meaning assigned to that term as used herein) use of humorous, caricature, ethnic voices nearly every day in his Comedy Central program.

Note that Stewart’s show appears on Comedy Central, not on Fox News.

I find it interesting that the poster-network for conservative political views is critical of Jon Stewart for using “black voice,” when it’s the conservatives who claim that political correctness is part of the contemptuous liberal agenda and that it’s the liberals who have taken PC to an extreme.

At the same time, though, and in a certain twisted way, I find myself agreeing with the conservative perspective that political correctness is out-of-control. In the name of political correctness, America has lost its sense of humor.

Lighten up, America

And that’s a shame. I think it’s absurd to come down hard on comedians for making jokes that some might find offensive during a stand-up comedy routine. For those who are so thin-skinned that they are offended by jokes told by stand-up comics, perhaps they should find a different venue for entertainment than comedy clubs.

The reality is that, for as long as there has been comedy, there has been offensive comedy. Although not stand-up comics, humorists, philosophers, and writers Mark Twain and Will Rogers were often biting in their witty social and political commentaries. In the Fifties and Sixties, political and social satire worked its way into small folk music and comedy clubs, where comedians like Mort Sahl expanded both the language and boundaries of stand-up.

Carlin was inspired by Lenny Bruce, a stand-up comedian in the Fifties, who was one of the first to really push the stand-up envelope with his deliberately provocative routines. His obscenity-filled rants about our prejudices and skewed perspectives, which ultimately led to his arrest, set the stage for later controversial comedians like Richard Prior, Dick Gregory, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, and, of course, Carlin, who was also arrested in 1972 for performing his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine.

Make that six words, George. I regularly hear the word “shit” on TNT these days.

If you want to be offended, America, be offended by the economic mess Wall Street, the banks, and the anti-regulation Republicans have hoisted upon us. Take offense at the political process in Washington that has essentially and almost irreparably divided this country along extreme, dug-in, partisan positions and has America on the brink of financial default.

Don’t waste your time being offended by stand-up comics who might be a little off-color and insensitive in their efforts to get us to laugh at ourselves and our human condition.

Political correctness is running amok and America needs to regain its sense of humor. Stop being so damn thin-skinned. It’s stand-up comedy, for crissake. It’s supposed to make you a tad uncomfortable.

Can’t you take a joke anymore?

Another Clown Show


F1A2D0EE-B615-4D19-972B-97B1751FF7AB“He’s doing another rally somewhere tonight,” my wife complained. “It’s like he thinks he’s a rock star going on tour.”

“That’s exactly what he thinks,” I responded. “Just ask him. He’s not at all bashful when it comes to telling anyone who will listen how great he is, how he’s an ‘an extremely stable genius,’ and not merely a ‘stable genius.’ He’s a moron.”

“Yes, and then he starts reciting verbatim the things he heard Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham on Fox News say,” my wife added, shaking her head.

“Right,” I said, “and as if following some sort of invisible prompt, the lemmings in the audience applaud whatever he says, no matter how incoherent, idiotic, inane, or uninformed it is.”

“I’ll turn on the TV, you go get the popcorn, and let’s watch him,” she said.

“Yeah, another one of his clown shows should be good for a few laughs,” I said.

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (tour), Your Daily Word Prompt (bashful), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (verbatim), Ragtag Daily Prompt (prompt), and Word of the Day Challenge (applaud). Caricature by Niall O’Loughlin.

S is for Sycophant

F837D866-F5E1-4652-B069-C8AFACC30DACI’ve known the meaning of the word sycophant for a long time, but to be honest, up until about three years ago, I don’t think I used it very often, if at all. Now, in the Trump era, it’s a part of my everyday vocabulary.

As I’m sure you know, a sycophant is a person who tries to win favor from wealthy or influential people by flattering them; who praises people in authority in a way that is not sincere, usually in order to get some advantage. Like, you know, the “personalities” on Fox News.

The political arena has always been populated by people who lust after access to power. But Donald Trump, hardly the first politician to attract self-serving followers, seems to attract more of these ass-kissing, butt-licking, self-promoters than most.9934DCA1-D3AD-48F6-8C18-E2EA9263DFC9But what amazes me more than those who flock to Trump like flies to shit, are the Republican members of Congress who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil when it comes to Donald Trump.

Trump is their man, and they’re all harmoniously singing Tammy Wynette’s 1968 classic “Stand By Your Man.” It’s the GOP theme song, and nothing, it seems, can dissuade either Trump’s base or the Republicans in Congress from standing by their lying, corrupt con artist of a man, no matter what crazy shit he says or does.

It’s inexplicable to me how these GOP sycophants continue to stand by Trump at the expense of standing by — and for — their country.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:

2019 is 1984

3864C99C-26BB-4EC5-A9D0-2EEF7B540A9AThe assemblage of Trump lemmings down in Mar-a-Lago are fist-bumping and high-fiving this weekend. The talking heads at Fox News are delirious in their joy today. That’s because the long-awaited and much-anticipated Mueller Report has been delivered, and even though few people know what’s actually in it, the Trump faithful are pounding their chests and claiming vindication. “No collusion, no obstruction,” they are gleefully yelling.

Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner have all escaped indictments (so far). As has Donald Trump himself. The Mueller probe is over, and from all outward appearances, it looks like Donald Trump and his kin will get off scot-free.

I don’t know what’s in the Mueller report, but it’s hard for me to imagine, given what we have all seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, that there is no hard evidence of collusion and obstruction on the part of Donald Trump. But then again, Trump did tell his supporters, “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening. Just stick with us, don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

I wonder if all of America, including Robert Mueller, has been somehow brainwashed to the point of denying what we all know to be true. Donald Trump and his see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil Republican sycophants in Congress have redefined the American identity, and it’s not for the better.

War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, lies are truth, and 2019 is 1984.

Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (assemblage), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (delirious), and Word of the Day Challenge (identity).

Mister MITOO

The way Republicans, Fox News, and, especially, the MITOO (moron in the Oval Office), manufacture fear and loathing among Trump’s gullible followers makes me seethe with rage.

For example, the so-called migrant “caravan” (or what Fox News and Trump call an “invasion by a hostile force”) slowly heading north toward the US/Mexico border was the red meat Trump was throwing to his base. But as of today, this caravan is still hundreds of miles from the U.S. border. And that means those people seeking asylum are still weeks away from even the nearest US border crossing.

Now that the midterm elections are over, though, when was the last time you heard Donald Trump and his sycophants going nuts over this manufacturered invasion? The bogus, partisan crisis has apparently passed, due to the apparent failure of this scare tactic to motivate enough diehard Trumpsters to vote enough Republican candidates into the House of Representatives to maintain a GOP majority.

Democrats need a muse to inspire them, and while they did pretty well on Tuesday, they must figure out how to guide this victory into a path toward saving the American democracy.

And I also need a muse to figure out how fit the word tactile into this post. Oh wait. I just added this photo I found on Google Images. I think it is illustrative of tactile, don’t you?7AEEC518-3FC6-4B42-9D89-DD944E5CF100

Written for these one word prompts: Scotts Daily Prompt (manufacture), Ragtag Daily Prompt (seethe), Your Daily Word Prompt (nearest), Daily Addictions (muse), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (guide), and Word of the Day Challenge (tactile).