At a recent Obama fundraiser, Robert DeNiro got up on stage and joked, "Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you think the country is really ready for a white First Lady?"
As jokes go, it was pretty mild, a gentle parody of what some undoubtedly suggested four years ago about the country not being ready for a black First Lady.
Nonetheless, Newt Gingrich, that paragon of moral rectitude, immediately demanded an apology from DeNiro.
Pathetically enough, DeNiro gave one: "My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone, especially the First Lady."
The only thing even mildly off-putting about DeNiro's comments was that his apology seemed directed to Michelle Obama, when his joke seemed aimed at the other three women.
This minor flap is of course an outgrowth of the brouhaha over Rush Limbaugh's having referred to law student Sandra Fluke as a slut. Limbaugh was not seriously trying to impugn Fluke's sexual character; he was just engaging in his usual hyperbole to make a point about ObamaCare.
But ever since, both parties have engaged in an escalating war of primness and prudishness.
It's been gratifying to see the Democrats' hypocrisy (vis-a-vis Bill Maher) exposed. But Democratic hypocrisy has been exposed so many times before, to absolutely no effect. So it's safe to say that no good has come of this.
America, or at least American politics, has returned to its Puritan roots.
And we no longer have the right to laugh at India for its sacred cows.
In fact, we no longer have the right to laugh at anybody -- someone might take offense.