To Theodor Adorno, the writing of poetry after Auschwitz was barbarism. After 9/11, Graydon Carter, former editor of Spy magazine, declared an end to "the age of irony." As of noon today, after the inauguration of President Barack Obama—the "world's inauguration," according to the awful David Gergen—we have apparently entered the post-political humor era. Because there ain't nothing funny about Hope and Change.
First, the comedian and actor Chris Rock, speaking with CNN yesterday, made it clear that, if you aren't prone to verbal gaffes and you have a decent-looking first lady, you won't be a target. "It's like 'Ooh, you're young and virile and you've got a beautiful wife and kids. You're the first African-American president.' You know, what do you say?"
In an interview with The New York Times, comedian and screenwriter Dan Gregor worried about the future of his profession: "It's the death of comedy. We've entered the era of sincerity. That's unfortunate because sincerity is pretty bland. But if it makes the world better, I'll give up sarcasm."
Will Ferrell's writing partner Adam McKay, who directed the brilliantly funny film Anchorman, declared that one cannot make jokes at the expense of our 44th president because "Obama's an actual adult who knows how to work." At the Cato Institute's @Liberty blog, David Boaz points out that if our professional humorists cannot divine any Obama-related punch lines from the material he has already provided us, then perhaps "we need better humorists."
America, though, needs her comedians not only to provide laughter, but to offer heartfelt perorations on the state of the free market system. Take this brilliant assessment from Whoopi Goldberg, star of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit: "I find it extraordinary as I listen to folks talk about the free-market system that they don't recognize that the free-market system is truly broken and beyond repair so that we have to start all over again."
Lest you dismiss such prescriptions as the mad rantings of America's worst ex-center square, Goldberg explains that she came to Keynesianism only after a friend told her of the financial crisis's rotten, free market roots. "It was explained to me; I don't think I could explain it to you righteously (sic), but it made sense when I heard the explanation. Basically, the bank is sitting because they're not below what their paperwork should say and they're not above what their paperwork should say—they're right at their paperwork mark and they don't want to move from that."
Take that, Milton Friedman.
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