In the past month, millions tuned in to "Saturday Night Live" just to see Tina Fey do her spot-on imitation of Sarah Palin. Fey's hilarious sendups of the vice-presidential candidate quickly became the stuff of water cooler legend, and Palin's own appearance on the show brought "SNL" its largest audience in 14 years.What if it was NEVER a good idea to begin with?
Our perverse Palin-mania revealed a deeply felt need for a humorous escape from a broken government and financial system that the two presidential nominees pledged to fix. Because the present reality is this: Now is a very unfunny time for America. U.S. troops are fighting two very different wars in two very different countries, and neither campaign is succeeding as promised. Many Americans are uninsured, left to battle catastrophic illness on their own. Oh, and the American economy is in the crapper.
Given their angst and frustration, it is no surprise that liberals have been enjoying the loudest (and last?) laughs during our current, pioneering age of dark, ironic humor. The chuckles produced during the George W. Bush era by a veritable legion of satirists and comedians, ranging from Fey to Jon Stewart to Chris Rock, have been particularly therapeutic. Unfunny times demand the tonic of humorous distraction.
[ cf The end of the satirical industrial complex? ]
What if a central part of the current crisis was the development of the Military-Industrial-Infotainment Complext? And the collapse of Actual Governmental Transparency, as well as the general openness of society?
What if the rise of the so called 'satirical industrial complex' - which is not industrial - but may be a 'complex' in the DSM-IV sense, is a part of the collapse of american culture?
What if folks were to start reading again?
Would they want to read Nation of Secrets: The threat to democracy and the american way of life.
Or should we just keep on amusing ourselves to death?
What if America were Broken, and we really needed to fix it????
What if it were no longer a laughing matter?