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February 15, 2004 - Political Comedy This Week

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With the political year getting into full swing of course the comics are getting quite active once more.  Dave Barry, as usual, is doing his satiric run for president.  His opening salvo is here.


It's that time again: Dave Barry for President!

Dave Barry, The Miami Herald, Saturday, February 14, 2004


This is his usual stuff - lame in places, but amusing.  Curiously it contains the following paragraph...


Yes, voters, I trust you, because I am one of you.  I even talk like you.  For example, when I'm campaignin' in the South, I leave the "g"s off the ends of words, and I use old country expressions that express the homespun wisdom acquired by rural people over years of drinkin' contaminated groundwater, such as: "Don't light a match 'til you know which end of the dog is barkin'."  As your president, I will govern the nation, or at least the South, in accordance with those words, whatever they may mean.


Geez.  Making fun of Southerners.


Well, from deep in Georgia my friend Phillip Raines sent this along.


While knocking back a shot of Jameson's Irish whiskey with the articulate Rick Brown he pointed out there was only an identity of being southern, not the cultural identity of being northern, or mid-western, or basically non-southern.  Like the disciple Peter (or was it Paul, or Peter and Paul's Almond Joy bar - I get confused) I have at time denied being southern, even thrice as some rooster crowed.  The reason is simple.  I don't want the archetype of the Dukes of Hazard to be laid on me - and all those predetermined behavior patterns associated with the way I think.  Who has a reference to the southern leftist they can summon up?  Maybe Mark Twain could come to mind though he is more an icon of an articulate smart-ass, cynic, and comedian.  Well. I identify with him at least when I'm smoking tobacco.  Even now I look at my office floor covered with dropped "g's" and ashes soon to be vacuumed up.  These dropped "g's" have a power, well almost a "g" force, even though they, like our president only show up for duty when they feel like it, at the end of the day.  But to say I'm southern would lump me in with the biblical literalist who tried to drop the word evolution form our high school curriculum and upon further investigation have dropped the big bang theory and even plate tectonics because it would upset biblical literalist and God knows you don't want to piss them off because they get so upset and make a big deal about things which causes them to speak a lot and then the whole world laughs in a quiet ridicule.  Me, Southern?  Naw, you must be talkin' about some one else - and then I kick the dropped "g" under the sofa.


You all see the challenge here.  Find a white southern leftist.  Jimmy Carter doesn't count.  Go!


As for other identities, one might think of mid-western types.  See Woody Allen in "Annie Hall" where he visits her folk in Ohio - the two creepy brothers both named Dwayne who like to drive their Camaro at high speed at night with the lights off - Allen declines to join them - and the Thanksgiving dinner where suddenly Allen finds himself in full Hassidic garb.  And there is the Los Angeles "type" - the same film opens with Christmas in Beverly Hills and the comment that the only contribution we out here ever made to western civilization was the right turn on red.  Steve Martin did a whole movie based on the "types" out here - "L.A. Story" - and one might look at Robert Altman's "The Player" or many others.  Michael Moore took on the Canadian "type" in "Canadian Bacon."  And on and on.  And of course Kerry is a "Massachusetts Liberal" - and the Democratic convention will be in Boston, the evil core of that evil part of America that would allow gay marriages - kind of San Francisco East.  Or read "Babbitt" again for a look at the Ohio-Indiana types.  Yep, I disagree with Rick.


Well, a little Bill Maher will cheer us up, won't it?  He has a web log, a blog, full of good stuff.


You might like these: 

According to the same finely-tuned analysis that led them to believe the stuff about the WMD, how we'd be greeted as liberators and the like, the White House now says the economy will create 2. 6 million jobs in 2004.  Not just jobs, but fantastic jobs.  And leprechauns.  I'm a tad skeptical of his powers of prognostication, however.  You might remember last year when he told us if we passed all his tax cuts the economy would create 1.8 million new jobs last year and 3.7 million in 2004.  Well, we did pass the tax cuts and we lost 53,000 jobs last year.  But if you don't believe we'll have 2.6 million jobs in 2004, would you believe 3.6 million jobs in 2005?  Well, they're saying that, too.  It's like we're watching a bad re-run of Get Smart. 

On Neil Bush:


An example of the Bush double standard.  Every president has a scandalous brother, it just seems to be part of the deal - Billy Carter, Roger Clinton - and the Bush family is no exception. 


If Billy or Roger had been caught in going through a messy divorce where you could read in the paper through depositions about their infidelities, herpes and Asian hookers, it would be endless material for late night comedians.  Billy and Roger were household names and automatic punch lines - why not Neil Bush, who also cost the taxpayers a cool 1.3 billion when his savings and loan Silverado went bust in 1989?


Billy Carter pees on a runway; Roger Clinton kills and dismembers a drifter - big laughs.  But the Bushes of Maine?  They have integrity!  This whole business with Neil is just a sad mess - let's give them some space. 


Oh, and Neil Bush also got a $2 million consulting contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation - which is backed by the son of Jiang Zemin, at the time, the absolute ruler of Red China. 


If Roger Clinton did this, they'd have re-impeached Clinton as a Chinese spy!


No, the Bushes aren't spies, just sleazy corporate-whore types.  Neil knew absolutely nothing about the semiconducting business - and these jobs are always called "consulting."


'Hey, Neil, you're making 2 million dollars here: give me your best consulting - what do you think President Bush would say about a deal between Grace Semiconductor Company and, say, the United States government - hypothetically of course! - just off the top of your head.'


Neil Bush, consultant - the guy hiring him for qualifications is as believable as thinking two chicks show up at your door, fuck you and leave, just for fun (which is what Neil says happened to him in Asia.) Yeah, I can see the CEO: "Bush, Bush, Bush... where have a I heard that name before - he's no relation to... nah, couldn't be.  Well, if he's completely inexperienced with semiconductors, that's what we want, no experience is good.  Just like in politics."


Neil, it turns out, is an even worse businessman than his brother George.  He not only started an oil company with other people's money that never found any oil, he also started a methane gas company with other people's money that never found any methane gas. 


After the Silverado debacle, one of the endless supply of rich Bush family friends gave him a job at his cable TV company.  "Anyone who hires Neil Bush is going to get some heat," the TV guy said, "But somebody had to do it."


Four months after 9-11, Neil went to Jeddah for an economic conference where he told the Saudi audience that, while "in the U. S.  for years we believed in Israels right to exist," we might change our minds "with a sustained lobbying and PR effort."  Thanks, Neil, here's the check.  Oh, and if a girl comes to your room tonight - no tipping, please!


There's much more.  You could check it out.


And if you want a daily rundown of the opening monologs from the late night comics (Leno, Letterman and so forth), NewsMax, the right-wing political site, provides that service here - so by the middle of the following morning you'll be all caught up.  And this is actual reporting, not slanted one way or the other - just what was said. 


This is probably the best gauge of the nation's political mood.