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TRANSATLANTIC FOLLIES
TRANSATLANTIC FOLLIES
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TRANSATLANTIC FOLLIES 

For satirists it’s been a time requiring them to pillory
The issue of those e-mails and their handling by Hillary.
 Of course t
hey still are skeptical that Donald Trump eventually
Will actually begin to start behaving presidentially.

 But even though we seem beset by sheer illogicality
It seems it’s not the habit of a single nationality
For British politicians have been incompetent and jittery
In how they’ve been responding to their imminent Brexitery. 

            The mocking of the candidates for the Presidency intensifies as it always does as we approach the two parties’ national conventions. But this year satirists have two especially vulnerable targets.
            Though Hillary Clinton is not to be prosecuted for her admittedly “mistaken” handling of her personal e-mails, the FBI director’s conclusion that she had been “extremely careless” intensified a widespread concern about her integrity and trustworthiness. Inevitable this was reflected in a great flood of cartoons. Mad Magazine offered us “ Hillary’s Mrs Clean Magic Hard Drive Eraser…Obliterates the most damaging and embarrassing correspondence – even when doing so violate federal law.illary’s Mrs, Clean Magic hard Drive eraser. In Politico Wuerker draws her, with Bill at her side, assuring us : “I did not have inappropriate email with that server.” Gary Varvel has her claiming: I deleted only my personal e-mails…Honest,” while a long shadow of Bill looms over her. And for the conservative Americans for Limited Government Branco depicts her as an evil harridan denying everything and asking: “What difference does it make?’ 
            But there is also a liberal perspective from columnist Maureen Dowd in her New York Times column. Usually Dowd enlivens her comments with a flashing wit; but on Hillary Clinton intense dislike leaves little room for humor. A tweet by political scientist Norman Ornstein makes the point: ¨This is the 7,673d time Maureen Dowd has written this column.”
            For The Onion, on the other hand, Hillary is a natural target of humor. It has her insisting “ I am fun…Fun is a word that accurately describes me and a large quantity of things of which I am fond. I appreciate if and when I encounter it, and I have even been known to partake in activities that produce fun for myself and others…..” 
            Of course, none of this took the satirical spotlight away from Donald Trump who continued to confound the hopes of many Republicans that he would suddenly take on a presidential aura. Certainly it was the same old Donald who, commenting on Brexit as he visited one of his Scottish golf courses, said it would bring the pound down and thus would be good for his business. (A neighboring landowner planted a Mexican flag close by.)  Maureen Dowd was among those who commented satirically on Trump’s continuing haplessness. As a fellow New Yorker she had followed him for years as “a cocky huckster swanning around Gotham with a statuesque woman on his arm and skyscrapers stamped with his brand.” Subsequently it was unfortunate to see him “jumping into the race with an eruption of bigotry.” Still she speaks of him more in sorrow than in anger. And her essay ends with:”Now Trump’s own behavior is casting serious doubt on whether he’s qualified to be president.” 
            “Serious doubt” indeed! But as every day brings more examples of one pratfall after another by America’s leading politicians, the recent behavior of British politicians in the Brexit mess makes it clear that we are not alone in committing political absurdities. Since my last blog on this topic we have seen the leading Brexiteers knock each other out of prime ministerial contention and the accession to the top job of a “moderate” Remainer – who, however, must proceed with the totally uncharted task of cutting its economic bonds with Europe. The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz sums it all up very nicely with a headline: “British Lose Rights to Claim That American Are Dumber.” As he sees it: “Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over the Americans’ has long been a favorite pasttime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts and snooker.” However, he offers a quote from a British pub owner: “This is a dark day. But I hold out hope that, come November, Americans could become dumber than us once more.”     


Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 (Archive on Wednesday, April 10, 2019)

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