United States of Anger: Liberals are killing comedy in the Age of Trump
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge
If ever the United States of Anger needed an industrial-size dose of comic relief injected straight into its gluteus maximus, now is certainly the time. The entire country is heading for political divorce court, if not outright civil war along deeply entrenched battle lines. And don’t expect the next generation of Americans to provide any answers.
These so-called millennials, the snot-nosed offspring of this dysfunctional marriage who would sooner trash their own campuses than hear a voice that clashes with the one rattling around inside of their soft heads, are a lost generation. Comedy could act as the perfect antidote against this national contagion.
In order for comedy to work its subtle influence, however, the people must be willing to laugh at themselves, and accept a bit of self-deprecating joking. But alas, America has lost its sense of humor. Much of the nation is struggling just to breathe inside a strait jacket of stultifying political correctness, a fake puritanical righteousness predicated on victimhood that was coming into fashion long before a man named Trump stormed the national stage. Today, a simple thing like drawing attention to aspects of race, gender and religion is punishable by the harshest public condemnation. Americans were not always so touchy about the many differences that are supposed to define and unite us.
At the same time, something has gone drastically wrong of late with the political part of the comedy spectacle. Once upon a time, comedians ‘roasted’ American politicians without malice or ill-intent, thereby carrying on an ancient practice. In medieval times, every European court had its jester, while even the pharaohs employed “licensed fools” who could say the things nobody else dared. It has been said that the purpose of these jesters was far more than simply to induce laughter. Rather, it allowed the king or queen to hear criticisms that nobody in the court would utter aloud for fear of losing their head. It needs to be emphasized that the purpose of the court jester was certainly never intended to help supplant or impeach the ruler, as seems to be their ultimate purpose today.
Up until the moment Trump entered the White House, there had always been something inherently innocuous about political comedy. Regardless of which party controlled the White House, the president was regularly the subject of good-natured ribbing and impersonation, as seen by the numerous skits performed by the likes of Johnny Carson, for example, who dominated the late-night comedy circuit for 30 years.
And oddly enough, although Republican two-term president George W. Bush bombed the sovereign state of Iraq back to the Stone Age for no reason whatsoever, Hollywood liberals were always willing to put aside their pretensions regarding morals and human rights, rarely if ever dragging him over the comedy coals.
The sort of bias that gives warmongering American leaders a pass on humanitarian violations continued with Barack Obama, who spearheaded the 2011 invasion of Libya. This military offensive against a sovereign nation led to the crack up of the most economically and socially developed African country, while unleashing a wave of terror throughout the region. Finally, in his last year in office, Obama dropped 26,171 bombs in the Middle East and Central Asia.
So now that Donald Trump is in the White House, with bold promises of ‘draining the swamp,’ the liberals in the entertainment industry have been on an absolute feeding frenzy, attacking the US leader with every cheap joke in the book. However, aside from promising to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, which failed to get the necessary funding in the latest spending bill, it’s difficult to understand what Trump has done to trigger liberals to such a degree. Trump, like his beloved predecessors, has also done his share of bombing foreign countries, so what is it that makes Liberals hate him so much?
The comedian John Oliver, for example, who isn’t even American (nor funny), gets paid a prodigious amount of money regularly trouncing Trump on his ‘Last Week Tonight’ program. See, the great thing about being the host of a news satire program is that laughs – as opposed to facts – are all that really matter. Thus, it was nothing less than a travesty to watch as Oliver lampooned Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing to the Supreme Court, casually cherry-picking some choice comments completely out of context. This not only made Kavanaugh appear ridiculous, it portrayed the Republicans as unsympathetic to Christine Blasey Ford’s story. Meanwhile, Oliver never once employed the same acerbic comedy line to the many holes that punctuated Ford’s story. This sort of unbalanced, agenda-driven ‘comedy’, which many Americans now associate with hard-hitting journalism, should come with a very large warning label. It’s simply dangerous to the health of the nation.
Although there were too many ‘honorable’ mentions of Brett Kavanaugh by the late-night comedy circuit to list here, they could best be summed up with a stunning remark by Ariel Dumas, a comic writer for Stephen Colbert, yet another late-night hit-job artist, who wrote of Trump’s Supreme Court pick: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.”
Funny how truth always finds a way of bursting into the open if one waits long enough.
And then there is Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night liberal host who employs the same predictable ‘humor’ against Trump every chance he gets, which is quite often. Just last week, in light of allegations of “fraud and tax evasion” leveled against Trump by the New York Times, Kimmel’s routine included an appalling apparition of Trump’s deceased father, Fred Trump, appearing on stage, where, aside from saying he is “living in hell,” goes on to call his son a “moron,” and other such things comedians like Kimmel find so hilarious.
In addition to this late-night ritual abuse, which no other US leader in modern times has had to endure, the Trump administration has also suffered a million little cuts, ranging from ‘comedian’ Sarah Silverman suggesting that the military should overthrow the US leader, to yet another has-been comedian, Kathy Griffin, posing in a photo shoot with an effigy of the US leader’s severed head held aloft. This is what passes for humor today in these bipartisan, bipolar times, when actual calls to insurrection and cheap insults are the best material comedy writers can come up with.
What these comic geniuses fail to understand, however, is that much of America is not laughing with them, but rather laughing at them. Even for people who genuinely dislike Donald Trump, and there is a lot not to like, the routine has become so old, so predictable and so worn out that if it wasn’t for the ‘Applaud’ signal that accompanies these predictable and lame performances, the sound of crickets chirping in the background would be audible.
In the end, the liberals themselves have become the punch line of their own hateful jokes, and that is certainly no small tragedy in today’s United States of Anger. For how long can a nation survive without the remedial effects of comedy and laughter to get them through the difficult times? Americans are now in a position to find out the answer to that question, and probably sooner rather than later.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.