(Sorry, no history post today – just too much going on and I am too steamed about this particular First Amendment issue. It seems that in the eyes of certain parties, our current president may not be mocked by the peasants.)
That useful concept (thank you, the French language for putting it so succinctly!) is defined “as an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler” or “an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people.”Well, it appears that our very dear current occupant of the White House is certainly held sacred by a substantial percentage of our fellow citizens. How else to account for the perfectly earsplitting howling from Missouri Democrats and the usual suspects over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask to yuck it up before the crowd – most of whom seem to be laughing their heads off. All but the desperately sensitive, who breathlessly insisted that it was just like a KKK rally, practically. The rodeo clown’s name apparently is Tuffy Gessling; his supporters, and those who, as a matter of fact, support the rights of a free citizen to mock authority figures of every color and persuasion, have set up a Facebook page. He’s also been invited by a Texas congressman to come and perform the skit at a rodeo in Texas.
Never mind that sitting presidents long before this one have been ridiculed, mocked, hung in effigy and otherwise made fun of by one and all and in all sorts of venues. Such ridicule is usually defended as being a matter of free speech, man! And so it is. Occasionally distasteful, sometimes unfair, and always infuriating to partisans of the one towards whom it is directed. But there it is; either we have the freedom to ridicule the elected head of state of either party, or we have a monarch whose dignity demands that we peasants hold our tongue … lest we be banned from performing or doing our jobs, or else get investigated by the Secret Service and/or the FBI at the request of the Missouri Chapter of the NAACP … who at the very least seem to be a little vague on the whole freedom of speech concept. (Hint, people – freedom of speech does not mean that you are free from being offended.)
I wonder if it’s the preference cascade beginning; quietly and without much fanfare at first, ordinary people are beginning to openly mock Obama. There was a story about a country fair where contestants were throwing darts at a picture of him – the picture taken down and a hasty apology made … but people were participating gleefully, just as they were laughing at the rodeo clown in the Obama mask. I have heard mention in certain right-of-center blog comment threads of a ‘pin-the-tail-on-Obama’ game. How much of this mockery is bubbling under and breaking out at county fairs, over a late summer where the job situation is not getting any better, the cost of groceries is creeping up, and the smoke and fallout from various fires – like Benghazi, Fast-n-Furious, and the IRS-facilitated abuse of political opponents grows thicker? Could it be that parties like … oh, I don’t know, the head of the Missouri NAACP and the leadership cadre of the Democrat Party and the old news media (just to mention a few) are surprised and disconcerted to discover that the current president is not worshipped and glorified universally? Has it come as a complete surprise to those luminaries that people living from slender paycheck to paycheck, or facing cutbacks and layoffs might very well resent the heck out of a president ostentatiously going to Martha’s Vineyard (the playground of the 1%) for his fifth vacation of the year after not doing very much in particular to address those problems?
Later on this month, Mad Magazine’s new issue is lampooning Obama for the various electronic eavesdropping programs. I can hardly wait. Let the ridicule begin, loud and long. It’s the American way. We don’t do lese-majeste here.
(Cross-posted at www.ncobrief.com)
11 thoughts on “Lese-Majeste”
“It’s the American way. We don’t do lese-majeste here.” On the contrary, I – like many foreigners – am routinely amazed at the extent to which so many of you seem to make obeisance to your Presidents who are, after all, in the main a parade of slimy politicians.
That’s because we don’t have a slimy royal family.
Sgt. Mom – After I put up my rather similar post two days ago, I was amused to see that a contributor at the National Review had made the same argument, independently (with more detail, but, I thought, a little too much sarcasm).
I hesitate to say this, but someone has to: Great minds think alike.
(From time to time, I have suggested — entirely seriously — that the NYT should get a court jester to remind them when they are being foolish. I am beginning to think that we need one for the nation, too.)
“we don’t have a slimy royal family.” Don’t be so rude about the Kennedys.
“All but the desperately sensitive, who breathlessly insisted that it was just like a KKK rally”
That’s the plan, isn’t it? Any criticism or mocking of Zero (or his policies) is, by definition, racist. It’s BS, and we shouldn’t let them get away with it.
No, we shouldn’t, Michael – and he should be mocked, loudly and frequently for every one of his policies, his actions, his complete and total lack of clue regarding the military, the real world as those of us who have been out in it see it, his thin skin, his eagerness to hassle those who don’t seem utterly enchanted with the beauty of his presence, his inability to make a speech without a teleprompter and his overall general Urkelness … the list is endless. And frankly, I don’t give a good g*ddamn what the Missouri chapter of the NAACP, or the SPLC thinks of it. I aim to misbehave … in a political sense.
(It’s chicken quesadillas tonight, duty NSA-guy. Let me know if I should make up an extra one for you. 6:30 Central – you know the address.)
When I first heard about the calls for official investigations and government harassment of someone simply having a little fun with the pompous personage of our president I was surprised at the vehemence of the attack (calling it a hate crime and wanting legal ramifications for teasing the president.) As I thought about it, though, I realized that this is a crack in the dike for the Democrats. If they don’t respond with full force and fury to intimidate others from mockery, the floodgates may open wide. All of the Alinsky tactics could be reflected back on the people that were so successful using them against GOP candidates over the last few years. The over-reaction here shows a bit of fear on the part of the left that Americans are starting to see through the charade, to notice what the Emperor is not wearing, so to speak. We must support freedom of speech even when we might not necessarily like what is being said. It is the American Way.
Oh, and perhaps we should make sure the MAD Magazine is sold out to encourage more of the same irreverence of the occupant of the WH.
We plan to trot over and buy a copy – Barnes and Noble, perchance, although neither of us has read MAD since we were teenaged …
Such a silly thing – I remember my Dad chuckling over a copy of MAD in about 1959 and being eaten up with a desire to know WHAT he was laughing at. I remember the cover logo very well – and I just had to know what it was that was so funny that he wouldn’t share. So … I knew that I would have to learn to read…
So President Obama can’t be hoisted on his own petard?
The event is state authorized and state funded and all those who banned the fellow from the event were Democrats appointed by the Governor of Missouri. It can’t be stressed enough. This is government retaliation over an exercise in political speech.
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