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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pity the poor comedians, Part II

Three posts ago this blog discussed how today's TV funnymen had hamstrung themselves by making Barack Obama off-limits. Every Sunday the NY Times quotes highlights of the various talk show hosts' wit from the previous week. Today they included this gem from Letterman:

"President Obama declared that he's approving construction of two new nuclear reactors. And George Bush immediately stood up and screamed, 'It's nucular'!"

When a comedian must recycle material that old, it makes him seem a bit tired. And out of touch. And lame.

Yes, George Bush did mispronounce the word "nuclear." Seven years ago. And that mispronunciation got plenty of play at the time, as well it should have. But he has been out of office for over a year now, and in the meantime President Obama has given the comedians plenty of material. Yet they refuse to touch it.

President Obama recently mispronounced the word "corpsman" three times in one speech. He pronounced it "corpse-man," when it should be pronounced "cores-man," (as in "Marine Corps").

Imagine what Letterman or Leno could have done with this: "President Obama paid tribute to a soldier today. Only instead of calling him a Navy corpsman, he referred to him as a 'Navy corpse-man' -- as if he's already dead. Does Obama know something we don't? Is this one of the soldiers he plans to send to Afghanistan? You know, I just don't think this is the best way to raise morale among the troops."

We shouldn't hold it against Obama that he mispronounced a word. We all make mistakes. It's just a little dismaying to see the hypocrisy -- and fearfulness -- of our comedians. They seem to consider any jokes about Obama as radioactive as those nuclear plants he just approved.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for both posts, which were very funny and deserve wide distribution.

This topic brings up the question - how intelligent are George W Bush and Obama? What are their IQ's?

My guess is that Bush's intelligence is generally underrated and Obama's overrated. I'd like to see the results of a national poll on the subject - my bet is that people would rate Obama 20 - 40 points higher than Bush.

During the Bush vs. Kerry campaign, Kerry was presented intelligent and Bush as a dolt. Someone did a study of the military exam results of Bush and Kerry and extracted IQ's from them. Bush and Kerry scored about the same, somewhere in the 120's. Obama is probably right there too.

So, why is Bush widely regarded as an idiot and Obama as intelligent? Because the media cover for Obama day in and day out and hammered Bush at every opportunity - your comedians posts being one example of this.

How many weighty intellectual speeches has Obama given? I don't know the answer but am not aware of any. Bush gave a speech supporting his decision on embryonic stem cell research that gave a full ethical analysis of the subject, considering full arguments from both sides - and his answer wasn't obvious until the last paragraph. Obama overturned the policy without a word. (regardless of one's opinion on the subject, it is an ethical question that deserves analysis)

- Ed

John Craig said...

Thank Ed. My guess is that both Obama and Bush are in the 120's, though that's just a guess. It is an interesting question. I remember back in 2000 when Bill Bradley was widely considered to be a brainiac because he had been a Rhodes Scholar and then it turned out that his verbal SAT had been something like a 490. I think Gore was overestimated, too. I'm no fan of Bill Clinton's but I'm guessing he had the highest IQ of the recent Presidents or nominees.

Obama's over-reliance on the Teleprompter makes one wonder, and his refusal to release either his transcripts or SATs or LSATs makes me think that all of them were pretty mediocre.

John Craig said...

PS -- Please feel free to distribute both posts as widely as you wish.