Laura Bush's stand up routine wasn't all that bad. Honest. I am sick of hearing about it. Michael Savage, for whom I have great respect, and who happens to be my favorite conservative talk show host by far, has dedicated about NINE hours or so already to discussing how utterly disgusted he was with her performance. While that is certainly his right, I just think that perhaps he is reading a little too much into the whole ordeal.
Now, as I understand it, there was a dinner for all the media types at which the President is more or less expected to give a humorous little speech. To shake things up this year, Laura Bush took the microphone from her husband and gave her own little stand up performance.
Allow me now to address the two biggest points Dr. Savage raises.First of all, Dr. Savage claims that Mrs. Bush betrayed her core constituency by claiming she watched filth like Desperate Housewives and attended male strip clubs. Never mind that it came out essentially immediately afterward that she indeed does NOT watch that show and that you would have to be basically insane to believe she attended a Chippendale's show.
Essentially, Mrs. Bush made a joke by claiming things that obviously weren't true, but could possible be viable for someone else but certainly not her. That is, you know, how humor works. Wow, it's sarcasm! Imagine that I am wearing a shirt with a large picture of Reagan on it (not difficult at all to imagine, I would hope). Should, say, Verny comment on how much he likes it, it would be possible for me to make a joke, saying, "Yeah, well, I had to wear this because my Che Guevarra shirt was in the wash." That would be funny (I hope!) for the same reasons Mrs. Bush's comments were funny: they are obviously false and still contradictory in light of the fact it could be a true scenario. I would hope that my "core constituency" of friends and fellow conservative bloggers wouldn’t label me as some manner of traitor to my conservative beliefs because of a sarcastic comment like that.
Dr. Savage is often sarcastic himself; is it too difficult to imagine him making a sarcastic comment about having misplaced his headscarf if someone compliments him on his hat? I do not think so. It is a joke.
Secondly, Dr. Savage took issue with Laura Bush's comment that President Bush had tried to milk a male horse. Of course, it was not presented that way at all, but humor is nearly always much less appealing when its witty phrasing is removed and all subtlety destroyed.
The press, as I am sure you are well aware, like to make fun of the President’s intellect. They were also present at this dinner. One of the easiest ways to disarm people so often hostile is to emasculate yourself a little before they have the chance; they have no strategy left. Everyone chuckles, and life goes on. President Bush did this himself to great effect during the debates and various town hall meetings he has hosted. When someone makes fun of my receding hairline (and recede it does!), I agree and make a witty remark of my own. Both of us can laugh, I am not concerned with the insult, and life goes on without anyone needing to be upset at anyone.
Dr. Savage disagreed, however. All he could see was the horrific sexual implications of the statement. President Bush trying to milk a male horse!! In fact, only once have I heard him quote Laura Bush when describing this statement; from then on out he talked about Mrs. Bush's claiming her husband was playing with a "horse's phallus." This is obviously NOT what Mrs. Bush was intending, and to read into it this much is slightly over the edge as far as I am concerned. Humor works when something is unexpected; everyone knows you milk cows, so the mention of the horse was unexpected. Everyone knows that milk comes from females, so the male comment was unexpected. We have nothing more than unexpected sarcasm, with perhaps the slightest subtle sexual overtones. Dear God, it’s the end of the world as we know it!
Laura Bush's comedy worked exactly the way it was supposed to. She delivered everything well, and she didn’t write any of it herself, remember. She was fresh and unexpected herself, and her ribbing of her husband and many others in Washington was appreciated and applauded by all attendees. Conservatives who feel alienated from her and from the President because of this are overreacting. A lot. And people who feel that this action should alienate conservatives are also a little over the top themselves.
Lighten up and laugh!