It is not so much that we should leave humor to the comedians. We all make jokes. Laughter, as the trite saying goes, is the best medicine; especially if you laugh yourself into injury. Maybe you hear something on the radio and drive the car into a telephone pole while cracking up. Perhaps you catch something on television, and laugh so hard you fall off the couch and gash your forehead on the coffee table. Or maybe you read an article on the internet and double over in agonizing amusement until you pull a muscle.
Okay, so it’s not that funny, but here’s the thing: Politics in America is a nasty business, and some people resent this. Many of them, of course, are perfectly willing to support their own brand of nastiness while condemining others. Sometimes this is justified. Wit, after all, is a bit more civilized than punching someone’s teeth. And, probably, a little less unhealthy to the wit than the fist.
Still, though, while our political cycles often play out amid a cacophony of disgusted and derisive laughter, sometimes genuine humor arises. In 2010, we had Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, to say the least. Or that Nazi celebrant from the midwest. Or the DA in Colorado who had a rape accusation and a rape confession, but decided to not press charges because it was obviously a case of buyer’s remorse.
I know, I know, I’m only picking on one side of the aisle right now. Fine, to be fair, we can all chuckle at the fact that Sen. Harry Reid survived his re-election bid, but that only brings the Democratic side of the aisle back to Sharron Angle.
In 2008, it was Sarah Palin.
I even remember in 1996, when President Clinton stuck his foot in his mouth about some cheap rap song by Sistah Souljah, Republican candidate Sen. Bob Dole came to his rescue by saying if he was president, he would outlaw that kind of music. I mean, c’mon, Bob: Before we can even argue about whether you can legislate like that, tell us, just how exactly would you destroy, evade, or otherwise overcome that nasty little thorn in your side called the First Amendment?
Yet none of these people are the issue for the moment. Rather, let us turn to Michael Reagan, son of the late former president, Saint Ronald:
We are rapidly becoming a nation whose distaff leadership is allowing radical feminists to redefine the role of motherhood.
Our moms are being all but ostracized by a raging cadre of radical feminists should they dare to consider cooking for their families to be a major part of their traditional role as wives and mothers.
Frankly, I have no idea what he’s talking about. I mean, certainly I might presume that Mr. Reagan is distorting an issue. That is, it doesn’t seem to me so much the idea of cooking as it is learning to cook in order to be a good wife in service of her husband. I’ve heard that argument before from feminists. But maybe Reagan has a point, and real feminists only eat at McDonald’s, or P.F. Chang’s, or Red Robin. Which, of course, is why there are no attractive feminists, right? Because they’re all eating unhealthy restaurant food.
In modern America, the feminists would take Mom out of the kitchen and put her in the drive-thru lane at the local fast-food chain (ironically, that’s verboten also).
This is the sort of thing that sounds like a guy who is looking for something—anything—to complain about. Doesn’t matter how important it is or isn’t, or how relevant. It doesn’t even matter if it’s true, or self-contradictory. The point is to make a joke.
If mothers would once again start teaching their daughters the time-honored role of family chef, and fathers would make sure that their wives are honored and cherished for making the kitchen one of their principal domains, we’d be a lot better off.
Instead we have a First Lady who sees her role as First Mother not only to instruct us on what we victuals we should eat, but warns us that the menu at the local fast food emporium is the diet from Hell.
She goes so far as to dig up patches of the White House lawn, formerly the site of the so-called Easter egg hunts, and plant the seeds of what she tells us are the staples of a healthy diet — a diet regimen in the White House kitchens one doubts includes whatever puny edibles grown on the lawn of the Executive mansion.
And he goes on. If only Michelle Obama would celebrate healthy food, we could put women back in the kitchen, where they belong. And then we can reward Mom once in a while by taking her out to McDonald’s, so she doesn’t have to cook.
A happy home is one in which moms teach their daughters how to cook tasty meals for their future families and dads teach their sons that one of their roles in family life is drying the dishes and otherwise doing chores around the house to lighten Mom’s burdens.
Finally, women should understand and act on the time-honored truth that the fastest route to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and not always through the drive-in window at the nearest fast-food restaurant. That’s one way we can begin to put the family — and America — back together.
This is just one more piece of evidence that conservatives, in appealing to traditional marriage, are actually hoping for a June Cleaver kind of 1950s throwback.
But we should not forget, when we pause to think about disgusted and derisive laughter, that it’s not always a matter of elitism. That is, if conservatives like Mr. Reagan would stop telling us such bad jokes, the rest of us might start taking them seriously.
On the upside, at least he’s not Ken Buck. Reagan’s kind of stupidity is something we can genuinely laugh at, like the village idiot routine on Monty Python.
Although be careful: Banging your head against your desk while trying to figure out if Reagan expects us to take him seriously could lead to cranial concussions.