THE GREAT PRETENDERS

At the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, Jimmy Kimmel joked ““Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room.”  The room was filled with politicians and journalists, so where’s the joke?  There wasn’t a single plumber or a carpenter in the place.  The builders of America were absent, only the demolition crew showed up.

Do we really need this annual show?  John Hinderaker writes in Power Line that it is an event where “The politicians pretend to engage in self-deprecation that shows they don’t take themselves too seriously. The comics pretend that they are just trying to be funny, lampooning politicians impartially in search of laughs. But, even though some of the lines are indeed funny, the premise of the event is fundamentally false. In fact, politicians, comedians and even the celebrities present are pursuing an agenda that is both self-aggrandizing and political”.

Like all roasts, it is also a DIDDID event.  If you are going to be a target you have no choice whether or not to go because you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  The Brits do a good job laughing at themselves, we don’t.  Humor is a fragile thing and goes bad when it’s not handled carefully.  The best humor is 100% fun for 100% of the audience.  One little barb can render a joke flat.  A not-so-hidden running agenda turns even funny humor bad.  There is no way in Washington, as they say, that you can assemble a room full of politicians and journalists without an agenda.  Let’s stop pretending we can.

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