Making Fun of Politics, or: Shooting Fish in a Barrel

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

            I’m sure most of you wondered why I haven’t commented on politics lately, what with this being a Presidential election year and all. You didn’t? Huh.
            I guess no one cares, which is also the reason why we keep putting the same bozos back into those plush Washington offices.
But to a humor columnist, getting material from the political world is like being handed the keys to the chocolate factory: There’s just so much wonderful stuff there, you don’t know where to start.
            It’s a deadly serious business, but it’s also so pretty ridiculous. It’s said that democracy is the worst possible political system – except for all the others – but it’s the best for writers looking to make fun of something.
            How to proceed? Try to understand why the process is so vital and important, and pass that on to the reader? Or stick with satire and allegedly witty wordplay? As a student of history and politics I want Barrack Obama out of office, badly enough to support this year’s Republican third-stringers as they aim political pistols at their own feet.
So shouldn’t I make reasoned arguments, try to get people to understand and make educated decisions of conscience?
            Nah.
            Why worry? I’m not going to change anyone’s mind. An Obama supporter who happens to read me isn’t going to say, “Gee, he’s right: The President’s a dunderhead and his mamma wears combat boots made in another country. I mean the President’s mother, not Mark’s mother. Hers are American all the way.”
Since I’ve already come out as an Obama opponent, I doubt many Republicans are going to send me hate mail addressed to “That pinko lamestream media hack”. Well, we’ll see … I’ve got something to say about Republican candidates, who back at the start looked like the cast of a new reality show: maybe “Tap Dancing With America’s Most Ridiculous Public Video’s”. I’ll work that title out with the network execs.  
What I’m saying is: I’m not going to change anyone’s mind. Add that to the fact that I’m firmly convinced Obama will win the 2012 election, for reasons I’ll probably make fun of in a future column, and the conclusion is clear: What I say doesn’t matter.
So – might as well have some fun with it.
In the best traditions of humorists, maybe in the end I’ll succeed in upsetting just about everyone. If you expect me to be a staunch conservative, forget about it. If anything I’m a moderate libertarian, if you can picture that.
(I took an internet test – just to see – which informed me that I’m an anarchist. I doubt that very much … maybe it’s the test that was anarchist. The second test I took pinned me as a right leaning moderate.)
Besides, Obama has done some things I approved of. He killed that fly with his bare hands, remember? Very cool. I think he’s ready to star in the next Karate Kid movie.
The best I can do for you, the reader, is to make it plain in my headline when I write something about politics, so you can veer off if this kind of thing annoys you.
One of the great tragedies of modern American society is that so many people don’t educate themselves about politics, but while I work hard to keep up with things myself, I wouldn’t expect people to look to me for the straight scoop any more than I’d expect to find balanced coverage from anywhere in the mainstream media … which is another of those great tragedies. In fact, the feeling that sent chills down Chris Matthews’ leg in the 2008 election was journalistic ethics, slinking shamefully away for the last time.
The main difference between me and the rest of the jokesters is that I’ll try to not only stay educated, but keep stuff in context. It’s the least I can do. Besides, by the time this campaign is over opportunities for cheap jokes will be flying through the air, almost as thick as the mud being slung.
When it’s all over, and my side hasn’t won (well, my side won’t really be represented), you can be sure that I will not leave the country in a huff, the way Eddie Vedder, Alec Baldwin, and Robert Altman did to keep their promises when George W. Bush was elected.
What … they didn’t leave?
Well. Looks like I’ve got some writing to do.

8 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you. Nothing anyone can do can change another person's mind. Besides, Mitt....uhg!

    I think I'll just vote for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck this time.

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    1. I hate the idea of voting against someone instead of for someone, but I'm doing it this time.

      Unless ... wait ... is Mickey running?

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  2. Sometimes we need humor in politics to keep us from crying! It is my dream things will improve! We need a miracle. And why not a third party? And yes, it is sad that some people have lost the ability to care, but maybe politics just squeezed the life out of them. Take care, Mark!

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    1. yeah, it does get hard to care, but I keep plugging away at it! It sure would be nice if we all just abandoned the two old parties and started over from scratch ... it's happened before, so why not again?

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  3. Glad one of us folks who enjoy writing humor want to stay educated. :)

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    1. I *like* learning -- now that I don't have to take tests!

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  4. Alec meant to leave, really he did, but one thing got in the way of another, and then another, and another....

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    1. Ha -- his mouth gets in the way of his brain!

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