Monday, May 04, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

No, I don't mean the old Star Trek episode where everyone in the alternate universe was evil (yes, this is Star Trek week). I meant a more pernicious kind of narcissism.

Bill Maher, the perennially unfunny comedian whose shtick includes mocking George Bush and religion in equally sludge-like measures, was taken aback when no one found his jokes about Obama funny. I don't think anyone finds Maher funny. Having hit a wall, Maher backed away. He is not the only one. So many comedians find it impossible to mock the current leader of the free world or anyone associated with him. What was free game before seems sacrosanct now. I don't see why. Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary can be objects of obscene fun on South Park. Jon Stewart would opt to make the Holocaust sound "funny". There are numerous references to George W. Bush's alleged stupidity and his now-married daughter's escapades. There are fields of "humour" at Sarah Palin's expense. Will we grow tired of drawing parallels between Trudeau and Ignatieff? Yet, no jokes about Obama's sputtering (Teleprompter-in-Chief, anyone), his inexperience, his love affair with himself, his wife's vulgar materialism and self-obsession. These jokes could run for a hundred years with the right wit and excellent writing. So why not?

Narcissism. It's Obama and Oprah's best friend. The extreme love of self, the inability to take criticism, the pride despite the lack of accomplishments and the feeling that one is somehow a god. Has anyone pointed out how little Obama has done but how he loves getting credit for the mammoth tasks he thinks he's resolved? Did anyone notice how Oprah is on the cover of her magazine (surely there's a pretty vase out there)? Is anyone sick over Michelle Obama's fashion sense and lack of generosity? Does anyone feel the slightest bit of shame over drooling like schoolgirls over self-absorbed celebrities whose accomplishments include rolling out of bed and draping themselves in expensive slave-labour made clothes?

The ability to laugh at one's self or accept criticism is a sign that one realises how flawed and finite one truly is. Did anyone hear Bush complain about being called a "monkey" (even though I'm sure that hurt)? The current president has been in office for over one hundred days. Where are the joke books or skits about his unwillingness to stand up to Noriega? Even Bill Clinton got his chance to be in the gutter (he put himself there, really).

Are we living in a world without humour, or are we afraid to laugh?


Anonymous said...

There is no balance > absolutely right. Slam, denigrate, mock every public figure who is even slightly conservative, but not one liberal idiot ever seems to be represented in a less than complimentary way. I never saw Maher's "Religulous" cinematic endeavor. With so many experts have made films and programs on religious texts, religious archaeology, religious history and so forth, I have felt no compulsion to see it. Maher himself said of The Bible that he was exposed to it as a kid and has "...leafed through it a few times since then." Sounds so unique and intriguing, Bill! You can't effectively challenge something you don't understand or know well. I was a Philosophy major and I don't challenge engineers for the way they design bridges. Part of being "clever" is recognizing the areas in which you lack expert knowledge and refraining from "challenging" in areas where you don't know jack about the subject matter. A perusal of your blog has shown me that not everyone who has visited it has...viewed things that way.

Harold Hecuba

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

It's much easier to judge than it is to completely understand.