I’ve long wished politicians could be as intellectually honest as stand-up comedians.
As Bittergate enters Day 5 or so, I wonder why is it that comedians are able to illuminate uncomfortable truths about our culture with laughter, while politicians who do it with oratory are called offensive or, in the buzzword of the week, elitist.
It’s really hard for me to imagine that a rural working class culture that embraces Larry the Cable Guy can be offended by… well, anything, but in this particular case by Barack Obama’s clinging to guns and religion comment. Maybe Obama would have been better off if he'd thrown in "Lord, I apologize," one of Larry's catch phrases.
Look at the picture of working class rural America that Jeff Foxworthy paints in his “you might be a redneck” jokes. Stupid. Violent. Drunk. Dirty. Even incestuous. “If you go to the family reunion to pick up women, you might be a redneck.” And does rural white America complain? No. It embraces this style of humor, just as black America embraces Chris Rock’s scathing critiques of urban life.
So it’s us, not the politicians, who are ultimately the hypocrites. Politicians are no longer expected to lift us up, to challenge us to a higher standard, to ask not what your country can do for you. They’re expected to sink to our level.
Contrast Obama’s intellectual honesty to the ridiculous spectacle of Hillary Clinton downing a shot and a beer at a Pennsylvania bar. Obama was almost stand-up worthy in painting a picture of the New York Senator as a hunter. But in the end, what’s worse: Hillary Clinton’s preposterous need to portray herself as a duck hunter, or our need to see our president that way?
Objective journalism reduces this flap to charge vs. counter-charge, and in our infotainment era, only the infotainers, straddling the line between journalism and comedy, can really get at the Bitter-gate truth. John Stewart said it well Monday night:
I know ‘elite’ is a bad word in politics, and you want to go bowling and throw back a few beers, but the job you’re applying for? If you get it and it goes well? They might carve your head into a mountain. If you don’t actually think you’re better than us, then what the (bleep) are you doing?!?
Obama’s just lucky he didn’t mess with NASCAR, too.