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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 17, 2009 / 25 Sivan 5769

Presidential satire takes Hopium break

By John Kass

John Kass
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Has President Barack Obama inadvertently killed off presidential satire?

Is this American art form, once practiced expertly by late night television comedians, now dead?

All signs point to "yes."

It's not that he did it on purpose. Obama has a fine sense of humor and can take a joke and tell jokes on himself. And he's got a magnetic smile.

But according to one theory, he came home exhausted after a long day in the Oval Office, tired from transcending the politics of our past, and from appointing another couple of dozen czars to run things. So he sat down hard on a pillow on a White House couch, oblivious to the fact that presidential satire was underneath, hiding.

There was a terrible crunch. A look of surprise. A tiny muffled scream. Then it was over. It really doesn't matter if it was a mistake or by executive order. The little critter is dead just the same.

Not all political comedy is dead. David Letterman feels free to make jokes about the teenage daughter of Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin having sex with a Yankee slugger. But Democratic presidential satire has gone into a cryogenic freeze.

Just about every other president you can think of in modern times has been lampooned. It happened to Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon and Johnson.

Kennedy? Not so much.

But then Kennedy, like Obama, was born in Camelot. All the others got a merciless thwacking.

These days, though, it seems that our present-day comics, particularly the TV comics, can't tell a snarky joke about Obama.

It just might be all that Hopium most writers have been smoking. Scientists will no doubt discover that Hopium has a devastating side effect: The human laugh glands shrivel like forgotten grapes that rolled behind the fridge.

I just might let those scientists take a slice of my brain after my Hopium crop comes in, once I scrape it off the Obama Chia Heads on my desk, the Determined Chia Obama head and the Happy Chia Obama head. But that could take some time. Those little buds aren't growing as fast as I planned.

In the meantime, aren't there any comedians who can stay off the Hopium pipe long enough to write a few skits about the Obama White House?

Where's the one about Michelle Obama refusing to accompany Barack to Saudi Arabia, saying "Honey, I can't go with you to Saudi! I don't have anything with sleeves!"

Or the president sneaking a smoke in his bathrobe out on the White House lawn in the middle of the night, waiting for family dog Bo to finish his business. Obama forgets the plastic bag, so he's forced to order a maid to pick up Bo's leavings, yet suffers sharp pangs of liberal guilt as she stoops to clean up. Hilarity ensues.

Or an Obama character in a Star Trek uniform, as another black Vulcan with big ears.

But you don't see any of this from Letterman or Jon Stewart, or the writers at "Saturday Night Live."

"Maybe they just want him to succeed, because these are very serious times, with the economy in chaos, and he must succeed or we're in big trouble," said an Obama supporter who, through the slitted eyes of a Hopium smoker, has nevertheless observed the presidential satire deficit. "Did they make fun of Bush right after 9/11?"

No, they waited a couple weeks.

But as the president keeps telling us, the time of Obama is the most serious time since the Great Depression, so that theory might explain things. You don't make fun of a president as the nation waits to be driven from their homes, to huddle along railroad tracks, building fires in garbage cans, dreaming of a single potato to eat, while a small child plays the harmonica in the cold mud.

Yet there have been other serious times, during war and chaos, and comics still made fun of the guy in the White House. So that can't be it. Making fun of the president is one of the few joys left to impoverished people.

In Obama comedy land, he's always the cool guy, the most interesting man in the world, but without the Dos Equis and the fake chest hair. In some Obama skits, you wait for the Obama character to turn to the camera and say "Stay thirsty my friends. Look, these are difficult times, yes. But stay thirsty."

In Obama comedy land, other politicians are grasping, desperate madmen. Hillary Clinton was a psychotic shrew one twitch from a nervous breakdown. Funny stuff. Joe Biden was a paranoid lunatic. Ha! John McCain was a paranoid grumpy old man.

And Obama?

He's so cool.

One theory about why the TV comedians lay off this White House is that we're still in the presidential honeymoon phase, which should last about seven more years. Another theory involves race. He's the first president with black skin and they're terrified of making jokes lest they be condemned as racists, and that's not funny.

But if Obama is truly the guy who fed the multitudes at his inauguration, with two McFish fillets and five hot dog buns, then he's the one who should have mercy on the TV comics, find that little critter under the pillow, and bring presidential satire back to life.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Comments by clicking here.



Previously:


06/11/09: E-Verify works, so, of course, let's not use it
06/09/09: First Lady Macbeth's the man, so in your face, Eminem
06/02/09: Judge Sotomayor would think me most unwise
05/12/09: Parents, enjoy this time, in all its creepiness
03/18/09: Stem cell policy shift brings a sinking feeling
03/09/09: Name That Blago Book contest names its winner
03/05/09: Contest: Name Blagojevich's book
02/16/09: Dems undercut aid for U.S. workers
01/20/09: Let the carving begin on Tombstone's tomb
01/12/09: Obama serves Reid taste of Chicago Way
01/02/09: Jesters don't pick up the race card in a nationally televised news conference and slam it into the face of every Dem in the Senate, a palm heel strike to the tip of the nose, leaving all of them watery-eyed, their lips stinging
12/24/08: Governor waxes poetic, but Combine rolls on
12/23/08: Got corruption? Get Jesse Junior G-Man
12/18/08: Will ‘feditis’ spread to Obama and Daley?
12/15/08: Man behind curtain is wizard of Rod, Rahm

© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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