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National Lampooning

Elliot Gonnella
By Elliot Gonnella Antelope Staff
Elliot Gonnella
By Elliot Gonnella
Antelope Staff

With rising popularity of social media, public opinion forms quite differently

News, politics and, most importantly, comedy are now being told, responded to and dissected in real time. While mass broadcasting has given the established media a near instant platform to these events, with social media anyone and their uncle can weigh in on a certain subject mere seconds after it is released.

Because of that, political satire has become polarizing. This may not be entirely be because of social media, as comedy relating around politics is deprecating by nature. My favorite comedian George Carlin said “Comedy doesn’t work unless someone is being offended.”

At the end of the joke to make it work, someone has to have their pride challenged. Done correctly, the joke causes even the individual who is the butt of the joke to laugh. If not, then the thinly veiled insult allows the easy cop-out of saying it is just a joke.

This is brought to light comedic TV shows and stand-up shows, with “Saturday Night Live” (commonly shortened to SNL) and other late night shows bringing relentless unabashed criticisms about Trump and his administration.

The responses have been mixed, though aside from the childish antics of Trump and his various mouthpieces, his supporters fall into one of two camps. 1: The comedians have no right to do this. or 2: They weren’t as tough on Barack Hussain Obama.

The answer to the first one is bloody obvious. Yes, they do have the right to say these jokes because there is free speech. They are not supporting violence against the Cheeto in a suit or making threats against those who share his blood; they are mocking his inability to lead a nation and the circus that is his administration.

Besides, aren’t those conservatives who claim you can’t criticize the president the same ones who supported Ben Carson when he cracked a Holocaust joke while speaking at a ceremony honoring the bravery of a survivor? Please be consistent with your standards.

By that same standard, if it isn’t OK to make jokes about Trump, then it should have been totally illegal when Obama was in office.
 However, if anything, a very vocal group of conservatives began to make many jokes, deprecating comments and thinly cloaked threats toward him, his wife, children and his administration. Some of them were hilarious but many were in poor tastes, using the veil of a joke to hide blatant racism. I don’t recall the press secretaries of the Obama administration shouting insults at comedians or other individuals who made those comments, though I am sure those with death threats were investigated.

That transitions into my second point, the only reason why it seems that Obama wasn’t joked about as much: he rolled with the punches, even on the occasion make some self-deprecating jokes.

SNL cracked many jokes about him and Biden, making the latter look like a 6 year old in an old man’s body whose Christmas wish was to have Batman trade jobs with him while the former was subjected to some pretty biting commentary about speaking out of two sides of his face and “f*cking with” foreign leaders over when debts would be paid and agreements honored.

Even at the annual White House correspondent dinners, Obama cracked jokes about himself alluding to what hacks like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones would say about him. A few zingers that stand out in my mind are “I am not the young, strapping Muslim socialist I used to be” or “I like Bernie.  Bernie is an interesting guy. Apparently some folks really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all.”

 But Obama was also keen at throwing them back tactfully such as my personal favorites. “These days, the House Republicans give John Boehner a harder time than me, which means that orange really is the new black,” or “Dick Cheney was supposed to be here but he is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled ‘How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.’”

Trump, on the other hand, is the definition of “dishing it out, but can’t take it.” He berates and insults those who oppose him by constantly bringing up race or questioning it, (examples are calling Senator Warren “Pocahontas” because of her Native American ancestry and mocking Jon Stewart for changing his name).

But the moment Trump or family members are criticized, he goes on a temper tantrum that even 3 year olds would find excessive. That is why it appears he is being joked at more, because he makes a fuss about anything no matter how trivial.

The jokes against him are par for the course, and if he can’t take that, he should buckle up because he is in for a looooooong four years.


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