I'd been missing you, Mike. It's good to hear from you again. I confess I don't enjoy our political exchanges as much as our exchanges about poetry itself because I have a much better sense of you in the larger sense as a poet and I confess to have difficulty getting any kind of clear understanding of you as a political guy. This is my fault, I'm sure, because I can tell you're trying to be as out there as you can about your political thoughts and feelings. I was particularly impressed, for example, by our discussion about Chavez, when I felt I saw you trying to deal with the whole awful mess from a really deeply sympathetic place. Sympathetic with the Venezuelan people, I mean. I feel exchanges like that are good for me personally and they change my feeling and thinking about the world and the way the world works.
This doesn't mean I always end up agreeing with you, but it does mean that the contact does alter me in some personal and substantial way. Any one particular piece of our ongoing dialogue may click for me and be helpful for me in that way or not, but the dialogue itself is important to me. The discussion here, about the late night comics, I'm not certain how to talk about or how to deal with, so I'll simply bumble along the best way I can, as honestly as I can with myself and with you and with whomever else is here. I'll be writing in fits and starts below because I'm not certain at this point how to prioritize any particular points or even which points are of importance and which are more or less defensive. I try not to be defensive, but really that's impossible for any of us, isn't it?. . .
I don't mind joining friendly laughter, when it's friendly and when I enjoy it. I should be able to tell it's friendly, shouldn't I?
Friendly is that happy feeling a guy has when everybody's having fun, Balladeer; not the feeling you get when everybody tells you you're a spoilsport for not joining in with the derisive laughter when things you have the nagging feeling may be important are held up to ridicule.
The tip off for me was your use of 14 quotes and noticing that none of them were about Republicans.
Watching the occasional late night talk show as I do, I've seen that, oddly enough, most of these guys make the occasional joke about Republicans, too, though not apparently in THIS world of Late Night Comics, where only Democrats look foolish.
My speculation about why this might be seemed pretty obvious from there. If only Democrats were funny, What did that make the Republicans?
When I take this premise and extend it, I'm apparently a terrible spoilsport, even if I happen to connect my speculations pretty solidly with reality. I would think you'd welcome knowing how unfunny the Republicans are. It certainly would account for you leaving them out of the list of ready butts for political humor.
If it were me, and I were setting up the premise, I would suggest that both parties were pretty silly folks for some pretty good reasons. I'd list some of the jokes you listed in your original list, even all of them, and toss in a few about McCain and his temper and his ability to flip flop on issues depending on his audience and his soliciting the support of some fairly odd (to my mind as odd or more so than the Republican feelings about Obama's pastor) far Right religious folk. I'd laugh about all of them, make sure everybody knew that laughter was my sole agenda item, and I'd be done with it.
What you got from me was a humorous response to balance the partisan message that came across very clearly to me. I'd call this sort of humor "irony" rather than joke telling. There is often a quality of bitterness to it. Many people have difficulty with it because it tends to find its humor in the ways that people mistreat others as though there was nothing wrong with that. "Irony" always lets us know that yes, there is something wrong with that, even though folks would have it otherwise.
Use of irony often makes a guy unpopular at times. I probably shouldn't lay it on so thickly.
Thank you, Bob K. You managed to inject into a topic that had nothing but fun replies and a little humor and turn it into a serious let's bash Bush campaign once again.
The fun replies and a little humor were probably in the eye of the beholder, I guess. I certainly didn't feel included in it. And my comments about the past eight years were only tangentially about Mr. Bush. I would no more expect you to go along with an attempt to bash Mr. Bush than you should expect me to go along with a one-sided attempt to bash purely Democratic primary candidates. The question in my mind is why you would expect every Democrat to go along with a one-sided attempt at Democrat bashing without noticing there wasn't a single Republican joke in the bunch? And why you think it would be ill-spirited to react?
"Nothing but" is something you state as though it weren't a highly questionable premise. Do you have, offhand, 14 nothing but fun jibes from late night comics you might care to share about Mr. McCain or the various Republicans in the administration at this point? Or would you rather have another discussion?
P.S. If you care to explain how the late night talk show hosts cracking funnies about the current candidates relate to Iraq, WMDs and that evil, lying Bush...please do...but then, why bother, right?
As we've discussed above, Mr. Bush is tangential. At this stage, of course, if the past eight years could be fastened to him and he could be sent out into the wilderness as a scape-goat to take on the sins of not only the Republican party, including Senator McCain who was one of the party's most faithful supporters, but also (Dear Balladeer) those Democrats who should have stood up and fought them on economic, social, geopolitical and human rights issues and did not do so, we would all feel much better.
We, Republican and Democrats alike, would not be in this mess. The Republicans for running off a political cliff, cheering popular slogans, and the Democrats for limiting themselves to wringing their hands and whining while the Republicans did so. Believe me, there's plenty of irony to go around,
And Balladeer, you shouldn't be so quick to assume that you're the only one that needs to deny they deserve any blame. I'm standing tall and proud as the dickens in that same line, and so are all the Democrats I can think of. None of us great at this point in time.
It's simply being partisan at a time like this is too stupid to be borne when the country needs all of us to dig ourselves out of the hole the last eight years have put us in. I don't mind laughing, I simply want to laugh at the whole thing. I don't want to pretend somebody else did it.
[This message has been edited by Bob K (04-16-2008 03:33 PM).]