Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Off with Their Heads

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it… Not one now, to mock your own grinning?" [Hamlet]

In olden tymes, the court jester was allowed to do what no one else could: criticize the king.

But The Fool was only allowed so much leeway. He mock and jest and the king until His Majesty said, “That’s enough!” and then the court jester had to hold his tongue, or risk losing his head.

Today’s coMEDIAns (Get it? Chuckle, chuckle!) are the modern-day court jesters. Their skits, routines, and jokes must pass the Democrat Party censors, naturally, and the Republicans must be seen as the butt of all jokes.

For several generations, Saturday Night Live was the reining court jester. Their takes on President Gerald Ford were legendary. Their mockery of First Lady Nancy Reagan brought howls of laughter.

With the advent of cable television and new networks, pretenders to the throne challenged SNL’s crown as King of (Liberal) Comedy. The Simpsons began the new Golden Age of Comedy.

As Queen of my household, no one was allowed to turn the channel to that program, nor any of its ilk, particularly the cartoon, South Park. Other fools in other households in America notwithstanding, I would not give it house room.

South Park, however, went a step too far. Naively, its writers assumed there were no sacred cows. If they could mock Santa Claus and Jesus, why should Mohammed get any special consideration?

After a Danish cartoonist was placed under a fatwa for insulting Mohammed in a newspaper editorial cartoon, South Park’s creators evidently felt a movement of comic solidarity was in order.

In a two-part episode, they took on Mohammed. Never having watched the show, I don’t know what it was all about. Nor watching it, would I have found out, because before it ever made it onscreen, the producers of Comedy Central censored the program.

A character at the end of each show apparently delivers a Linus-like homily. This speech was supposed to be about standing up to intimidation. Instead, the speech was deleted because the creators had received death threats from Islamic extremists.

So much for standing up to intimidation. Meanwhile, it’s comedic open season on those dangerous Tea Party activists and by association, the Republican opposition. That “irrepressible” funny man, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, is show in promotional ads telling the Republican to go “fudge” themselves.

In the background, audience members titter hysterically. Once upon a tyme, to hear such erudite humor, you had to be at the bottom of the high school football team pile-up.

Now, you can hear it with the click of your remote. That is real progress, indeed.

Let us see if President Clinton will don his grandfatherly spectacles again and warn us all against making jokes about Islamic terrorists, the way he’s compared the Tea Parties to Timothy McVeigh, who railed against Clinton’s government.

How now, though. The present king (Obama) is displeased with both. He has ordered his predecessor and his chief of staff to denounce the innocent Tea Party protestors and Comedy Central has been given the order to flail itself.

Tea Partiers must not cajole the King and his own jesters must not cajole the King’s favorites.

The king is not amused.


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