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As a journalist, I’m paid to see both sides of the story and I can certainly be objective about the furor over the clown and announcer making fun of President Obama at the Missouri State Fair rodeo.
I don’t blame Obama supporters and people of color for being upset. To hint at violence against the Commander in Chief and portray him with a broomstick in his rear and a caricature face is in poor taste at best. The fact the message was partly conveyed with taxpayers’ money leaves them a very shaky leg to stand on.
It also shows people still don’t understand racism can be unintended but still apparent because somebody didn’t think things through.
Conversely, I agree the proverbial mountain was made out of a mole hill here and the sensitivity level of folks these days is over the top.
Perhaps what bothers me most of all is the reaction proves satire is a misunderstood and dying art.
Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus thrived for 100 years when the majority of Americans could laugh at themselves, which is the ingredient satire lives on.
Now people are so politically correct they can’t laugh at themselves or even the smallest notion that their favorite hero, politician, preacher, singer, ballplayer, actor or parent can actually be criticized as a human being with tongue in cheek. These days, a satirical comment to one person is a hateful screed to another.
I also understand that I might be oversensitive to things like what happened at the state fair if people treated me with utter disrespect several times a week because of the color of my arm.
Personally, I’m not pleased when someone mixes politics with entertainment I’ve paid for, unless it’s advertised as such and that’s what I’m seeking.
I feel like folks are pretty strapped for extra cash in America these days and when they can afford a night out for relaxation, they don’t deserve to be hit over the head with any side’s political banter.
I remember when Crosby, Stills and Nash bashed President Bush and the Iraq War on stage a few years ago and got roundly booed.
I thought they deserved it. People wanted to hear “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” not the latest Kumbaya mantra from three balding hippies.
I don’t go to ball games, concerts or movies to here political rhetoric. That’s what city council meetings are for.
In the end, what happened at the state fair represents free speech, which as I’ve said before, includes the right to be stupid, and does not demand political correctness.
If I had witnessed the state fair rodeo event, I would have been somewhat offended. I also would have understood it and quickly turned my attention to something far more compelling, like cotton candy and corn dogs.