Has America lost its sense of humor? If it seems that way, perhaps that's because dourness is effective politics. In Minnesota, former SNL comic Al Franken hit trouble in his Senate race because of the dark legacy of his past: not drug use or infidelity but a joke he made in 1995 about 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney being a rapist. His opponent, Norm Coleman, and Coleman's surrogates jumped on the joke, accusing Franken of thinking rape is funny.
Of course, Franken's joke was never about rape being funny but about the absurdity of imagining a beloved TV curmudgeon as a rapist. That may not be your cup of tea, but it's the same kind of dark impulse that inspires gender-conscious comedian Sarah Silverman's humor: "I was raped by a doctor--which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl." Does that mean she hates women too?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Time on Satire
Common sense can be found here. A teaser: