It’s so sad to see how people just can’t take an obvious joke. (Say, like on a site called Jumbo Joke!) There was a political item today, and it resulted in a lot of whining — and protest unsubscribes.
Ray in Utah was the first to complain about today’s item on Jumbo Joke: “Some things are funny and some things are not. Everyone is different when it comes to humor. If you believe things are fixed politically, you need to order a ‘Get Out of Jail’ free card. You are going to need it.”
Whoosh! Right Over His Head
Well, “here we go again” as Reagan liked to say. They’re “Get Out of HELL Free” cards, dummy, not jail. And, um, Ray? I don’t have to buy GOOHF cards: I have thousands of them already.
And taste the irony: “Everyone is different when it comes to humor.” Why yes, they are. But one joke offends his tiny little conservative heart and he has to run away crying.
Les in …Italy(!) was hot on Ray’s heels, with “I feel we need to apologize to the world for what happened between 2008 and 2012.” Maybe we will, and maybe we won’t — we need to see first, Les. And if so, you can be sure I’ll joke about that, too.
And Arthur in Texas couldn’t come up with anything better than “Phttttttt.”
Oh Boo Hoo!
The joke that they all just couldn’t stand, and had to shield themselves from the possibility that there could be another they don’t like? It’s called “Dear World” …but the site is sold and now offline, so I can’t link you to the joke. Suffice it to say, it’s a Republican slam.
Yeah, “The Ten Dumbest Things Hillary Clinton Has Ever Said” brought a few complaints, but no unsubscribes.
I’ll bet every conservative that saw it laughed at “Donald Trump’s Daughter” — because, simply, it’s a funny lesson in conservative values.
Heck, one entry there manages to slam both the left and the right: “Liberals and Conservatives Tell a Joke” — I’m an equal-opportunity basher, which is the entire point.
It’s called Jumbo Joke because they’re jokes. No, I don’t expect everyone to laugh at every one of them. But when someone laughs again and again and again, and then stomps their feet like a child and whines that one is “so unfair!” while others laugh at it? Well, it simply just leaves the rest of us laughing at them!
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I sold Jumbo Joke in 2015, and (alas) it later went offline completely.
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85 Comments on “Laugh, or the World Laughs At You”
Randy, I consider myself a conservative, and I find the joke funny. Just, probably not in the way you intended it. Working in software development, I see these kinds of announcements all of the time. Almost none of them are actually fulfilled. :^) Take care and please keep pointing out all of our foibles.
Actually, that’s exactly why I think people would find it funny: it’s patterned after the sort of “service interruption” notices so many of us have actually received. Conservative or liberal, I’m glad you enjoyed the item; that was the point, and it doesn’t really matter “why”. -rc
Personally, I just don’t find the joke funny. As simple as that. There is no humor that crosses the political divide as I see it today. The other jokes you gave as links did provide something to laugh at/with. I don’t think anybody would argue that “Dubbya” had an easy presidency with 9-11, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. but what is “normal service” in a hostile world?
Sure, its thought provoking but, as far as world politics are concerned, there is no easy “normal service resumed” answer to any of it.
On a lighter note… I will not be unsubscribing.
No comment, just sadly shaking my head at Ray and Les’s comments.
Seems like everybody is willing to laugh at something until you joke about something that they take so seriously that in their own minds, it shouldn’t be joked about.
People say this is endemic to those of us who live in the United States, but the truth is – this is a problem that spans the globe.
The question is: what is it in our fellow humans that causes us to cease to find the funny when it goes against the grain of what we think of as good taste?
I think in large part it’s politicians’ incredibly stupid “us vs them” methods, which pits citizens against each other rather than builds consensus toward achieving solutions to the real problems we face. People buy into that “the other side is evil” garbage, and to challenge this ridiculous thinking brings up the possibility (in their minds) that they could be wrong about something. That’s especially true when they’re not really clear on what it is they believe in the first place, so challenging it just increases their confusion and feeling of being questioned. I’ve found that those who are secure in what they think don’t lash out with a tiny challenge, but rather see the point and laugh along, or thoughtfully ask, “Why do you think that? Help me understand your ideas a bit better.” And what a better world it is when we seek understanding over confrontation. -rc
“All comedy is tragedy that happens to someone else.” When it hits too close to home, “it ain’t funny”. People don’t lose their sense of humor, some humor just fails to meet the definition for them.
Sure. And in those cases they roll their eyes and move on. That’s not what happened here. -rc
Conservatives are a bit too touchy with humor, in my experience. Maybe they take themselves, and their political position, way too seriously.
Except it’s not just conservatives; I’ve had liberals scream that I’m a “Rush Limbaugh heartless conservative” too. -rc
I think Ray proves John Stuart Mill’s observation that, “[a]lthough it is not true that all conservatives are stupid, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.”
Mark from Minnesota quoted John Stuart Mill saying:
Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.
I have to disagree. I’ve known stupid liberals and stupid conservatives. The most ridiculous person I knew (haven’t seen him in many years) claimed to be a Libertarian, although I don’t know if his views match the views of other Libertarians or not. His position was that government ought to have only one purpose: national defense (armies, and so on), to make sure that the country wasn’t overrun. Other than that, government shouldn’t ever interfere with anybody. Using tax money to pay for police was ridiculous; anybody that really needs protection, can afford to hire their own body guard. Using tax money to pay for fire department was ridiculous; anybody that really had flammable things, could afford to fireproof it. Using tax money to pay for a post office was ridiculous; in a free-market economy, there would be plenty of people offering to deliver your letters for a modest price. And so on.
In case it matters to anybody, I believe in smaller government (even though I personally work for a government agency), but I consider the positions above to be extremist to the point of being ridiculous and – yes – stupid. But certainly not conservative!
I certainly don’t believe that “most stupid people are conservative.”
Actually, I rather liked Arthur from Texas comment. It summed up how I feel.
I don’t really agree with the joke, but I wouldn’t unsubscribe over it. A Childish, funny little response seemed quite appropriate to a joke with which I disagree, and rather sounds like something I might have “said” if I were told this joke in person.
That, or I would have rattled off an alternative joke.
In the end, having a BETTER joke is the best comeback to a political joke you don’t like. Running home to mama with tears in your eyes is pretty pathetic.
Yes! A better joke is definitely a far superior comeback. I think that was what was behind my linking to several other political jokes, especially the “Trump” one, which I think is superb. -rc
Unsubscribe because one joke hit a political nerve? Seriously? Is that how it works now? “You said something I don’t like. I’m going to tell you about it and then, so I can be sure to have the last word, never speak or listen to you again.”
It is impossible to surround yourself with people who never challenge your ideology and still have a full life. Those challenges are what will either strengthen your beliefs or show you the errors in your thinking. That is what’s known as a win/win situation. The losers are the ones who never take the time to listen to what the opposition has to say.
When I saw that joke, I knew it would ruffle a few feathers. I definitely don’t agree with the sentiment behind the joke, but understand a large slice of the public at large does and that makes the joke funny for them.
Did it upset me? Sure.
Did I roll my eyes? Yes.
After that, I went on with my life and waited for the next joke that would probably make me laugh (the previous one did).
I look at it this way: If a close friend had sent me this joke (yes, I have friends with differing political opinions) would I disown him as a friend? No. Maybe offer a snide comment in response or just smile and say nothing.
Lighten up Ray!
I disagree with the appellations of conservatives and liberals in current politics. The Democrats are now more fiscally conservative than Republicans. It is because the Republican party has drifted so far from conservatism that they are called neo-cons. Personally I am an independent – more conservative than liberal; I used to be Republican, but I can not vote for a Republican now. Pro choice should be the Republican stand since a conservative believes the government should not dictate/control/legislate peoples lives. Similarly a conservative opposes any government support of any religion. But Bush and the neo-cons have strongly pushed anti-abortion, creationism, and all other religious agendas. Conservatives want a small government but Bush has greatly increased the size of the government. He has severely limited personal freedom in the guise of protecting us (humm 1984?) The most appalling is the doubling of the national debt while calling the Democrats “tax and spend” liberals, but the interest on that debt will eventually force a tax increase. Penultimately he managed to alienate every other country and disgrace Americans throughout the world.
But I am shocked and surprised by Les in Italy. He can not be Italian! He must be an Republican American temporarily in Italy. I was in Greece for two weeks before and one week after the election. Every Greek I met before the election asked me if I was for Obama; it was an important issue for them and they were unanimously for Obama. Every Greek I met after the election always included comments about how happy they were that Obama had won.
Is tolerance just too much for either side (conservatives and liberals)? And if one can’t laugh at one’s self, what is the point in any other kind of laughter – it ends up being mean-spirited instead of good-natured.
Those who can’t laugh at themselves need to be Fed-Exed a crying towel or two!
I remember when a comedian told a Steve Irwin joke. It fell flat. The comedian shrugged and asked -Too Soon?, Yep. (But I still love this comic!)
Although, as an Australian, I thought it was funny. I even shared it.
(Someone posted a link on Y!A to show Bush in his prime. It makes you realize that he has not been a well man for many years.)
OK, it’s a joke. Liberal – Conservative – Who cares? Move on (not moveon.org). You need to laugh or not, ignore or not, and just realize that if you don’t think it’s funny, the next one may be. Life is too short and the economy is too depressing to be hung up on a joke.
If you want to be angry and stew about something take that energy and put it to use helping people who really have problems that an unsubscribe wont fix.
I certainly laughed at that joke; it was wonderful. It comes to show that some people can take a joke, and some people can’t.
“Humor…it is a difficult concept.”
–Lt. Saavik (Kirstie Alley) to Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
(I use this quote frequently…)
Allan, I don’t believe that most stupid people are conservative either, but the example you give is the extreme (and yes, ludicrous) epitome of conservatism – as Bob says, the terms aren’t always used meaningfully now. (It always amazes me that, in the US, “tax and spend” is a pejorative phrase – it sounds like an accurate description of what left wingers do in the hope of stimulating the economy, so logically they should be proud of it.)
I don’t make the mistake of taking jokes too seriously; indeed, I think politics is one of the best things to joke about: it’s in the public view, and we really need to be stimulated to pay attention to what we think about it. Of all the jokes on Jumbo Joke, the one that jarred me the most was the “Trump’s daughter” joke Randy is so proud of, but I’m certainly not offended, and I can explain exactly why I disagree with it.
One other thing, Randy: I initially misread the comment about “Get out of jail free” as meaning that Ray was claiming that criticising the democratic process is a crime. (Oh, the irony.)
For the record, I didn’t write the “Trump” joke, but I think it’s clever, just as I think “Dear World” is — even though they’re on the completely opposite ends of the political spectrum. In fact, the only jokes I have written on JJ are noted as such, and there are precious few of them. -rc
My reaction when I read this joke was, “Wow, how incredibly clever, and what a classy way of saying our future looks brighter, now!” Really, it was uplifting and a breath of fresh air. Every friend and co-worker that I’ve shared it with has felt exactly the same. I don’t know who penned that joke, but I take my hat off to you. Very well said!
It’s certainly nothing to get worked up over, however my first reaction was ‘sigh another Bush joke, how original’.
Well, I too didn’t get the Dear World joke.
#1) A good joke uses a disconnection, an absurdity, an exaggeration. I didn’t think the Hillary quotes was a joke because they were real and Dear World could have been written by Speaker Pelosi. The Trump’s Daughter is a joke because it exaggerates the ideas behind socialism and communism by comparing them to grades. Deep down, the comparison strikes us as absurd, ergo the laugh response.
#2) There have been very few jokes about now President Obama. On the Daily Show when Jon Steward cracked one, all of a sudden he found himself the target of boos. I for one took the jokes about President Bush in good humor, because in a Democratic Republic the leaders NEED to be brought down to our level. Compared to the way there are very few new President Clinton jokes, I was hoping that once elected, once sworn in, President Bush would sort of fade away, and President Obama would make a nice new target for satirists. But that has failed to happen. Personally, I believe this guy, like ALL presidents, needs to be pulled down to earth, and I’d be saying the same thing if McCain were elected (actually, I don’t think I would have need to if McCain were elected).
#3) No matter how you feel, a little more or less than 50% of the country felt that President Bush was doing a good job. The other 50% has been just as vocal. So to start off a joke by very brusquely proclaiming that the last President didn’t do that is to basically turn off 50% of your readership from the get-go.
Should it be worth cancelling a subscription? I don’t think so. But I join those who don’t think it’s funny, and I hope my response shows why I feel I’m not making a knee-jerk reaction.
I think the best part of the joke is how accurate the metaphor is- two days after installing the new CPU, we had to re-seat it.
“No matter how you feel, a little more or less than 50% of the country felt that President Bush was doing a good job.”
Uh, no, not for a long time. When Bush left office that number was in the low 20’s and for numerous well-documented reasons. In any case, the vast majority of the rest of the world consider Bush to have been a disaster, and this joke is addressed to them.
“I have to disagree. I’ve known stupid liberals and stupid conservatives.”
John Stuart Mill didn’t say that there aren’t any stupid liberals, so your comment doesn’t support your disagreement — perhaps you should check the dictionary definition of “most”. If just 50% + 1 stupid people are conservative, then his statement is true. And remember that Mill was born over 200 years ago, when the words “liberal” and “conservative” had rather different meanings than they do now and there were different people on the planet, and it may well be that, had you been alive at the time, you might well have agreed with him.
Now, don’t you feel just a little stupid? We all should from time to time.
This joke reached me by email earlier this month. I thought that it was most apt and a humorous way to apologize to the rest of the world for the way our country has behaved for the last eight years. I sent it to all my friends. I think that it’s funny that some people have such negative reactions to political humor they don’t agree with that they write kneejerk letters.
“you’re going to need a get out of jail free card?”
*laughs* People are so funny when they’re being self righteous aren’t they?
See what I mean by “Laugh, or the World Laughs At You”? -rc
Jorn, DE, your comment made me laugh out loud!
Because I’m not an Obama supporter? [I’m not–still watching.] No.
Because I’m conservative? [I am.] No.
A “humor psychologist” [if there were such a thing] would probably say the reason it’s funny relates to building on the metaphor of the original joke and taking it in an unexpected direction; but, truth be told, I can’t analyze why. It just really amused me.
Your one-sentence comment did exactly what Brandon in St. Louis suggested: It trumped the original. [Eeew!!]
By the way, I thought the ‘Dear World’ one was funny too. Not because I blame President Bush for the past 8 years, but rather because he and Congress–both sides–set the stage for it with their frequent lack of professionalism (and Congress in particular, with their incessant partisan bickering).
Well I liked it so much when I followed the link from This is True, that I went to Jumbo Joke and subscribed to it, which I hadn’t bothered to do yet.
Congratulations on successfully culling the humour-impaired among your readers! You’re doing a great job; your websites always cheer me up and often inspire me. Thanks!
I don’t understand why my fellow conservatives got offended. Part of living in a semi-civilized society is having the ability to laugh at one’s self. And besides which, I took it as a parody on the “efficiancy” of government to really Fix Anything.Just look at the current version of Obamason’s stimulis plan. Even the parts that DO stimulate the economy don’t kick in for the most part for over a Year. Now that’s something to complain about.
Bob (1/27/09 2:45 PM posting) raised an excellent point about “conservatives.” Namely, the gang that calls itself that, is not. They’re reactionaries who hide behind the conservative name.
John McCain blamed the Republican party’s devastating loss of congressional seats in 2006 on their having been changed by the “Washington Culture.” I pointed out then that the real reason was because they’ve allowed their party to be hijacked by extremist bullies. Sen. McConnell spouted the same tripe recently when he said that Republicans need to return to their core (i.e. extremist) values. Not surprisingly, those “core” values have been costing the Republicans power since they took over Congress in 1994. Those “core” values are the reason that Bush 43 called himself a “Compassionate” Conservative (whatever that means) back in 2000. Those “core” values are actually un-American values because they are vicious and divisive, and do not have America’s interests at heart.
If the Republicans want to return to positions of influence in America, they need to dump the extremists, and learn to play nice.
It NEVER ceases to amaze me when you get the angry comments to either a “This is True” item or a “Jumbo Joke”. It’s almost as if some believe the newsletter is serving them personally, rather than an audience of 100,000+. I didn’t think the “apology” was laugh-out-loud funny. But it was clever. And if anyone, anywhere, thinks everything the U.S. has done and supported over the past 8 years was just, honorable and effective – regardless of the good intentions of the last administration – their concept of reality is, well, unreal. Anyway, you’ve always said your purpose is to stimulate people to think. The knee-jerk reaction of either liberal or conservative ignores that plea to THINK!
Thanks for your continued efforts to make us all better.
I’m conservative as well. I didn’t read what others have said but all I can see is wait and see what he does. So far the pork belly stuff that as been added to the so called stimulus package is ludicris. Only time will tell if President Obama does the job everyone hopes he will.
The liberal/conservative perspective on jokes reminds me of a certain joke that I told my daughter this Superbowl weekend:
Q: What do you call 45 millionaires watching the Superbowl on a big-screen television?
A: The Cleveland Browns.
Somehow, as a Josh Cribbs/Browns fan, she just didn’t “get it” :o) I suppose it is all a matter of perspective…
On another issue – how about gracing us with a JumboJoke entry consisting of the “top 10 miffed reader responses and/or requests for unsubscribes”? I can’t help but think that you have a collection of howlers from both sides of the spectrum.
Thanks for all you do!
My wife gets upset with me for a lot of my jokes. She tells me that jokes at the expense of other people just aren’t funny. Interesting that other people have expressed the same sentiment. And, yet, EVERY joke is at the expense of someone, even if that Someone has to be made up. (Slobbovians?) Robert Heinlein expressed the nature of humor and laughter as a specific human characteristic enjoyed at the misery of another human being in his book, “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
Right or wrong, many of us stopped going to war long ago over simple jabs, especially when the net worth of such a jab is miniscule. I notice that the RNC did not wink out of existence over a joke. And the DNC has staged a remarkable comeback after many such similar jokes. Yes, they’re all funny, and some are funnier than others.
If you would allow, just a brief retort:
Sorry for the delay, but *change* is much easier to talk about than to actually accomplish. Good people are hard to find. My Vice President is having trouble keeping his foot out of his mouth, my Secretary of State may still think I’m unqualified for the job, my Secretary of the Treasury has had difficulty with the U.S. tax code, and my Attorney General *regrets* some of his legal opinions and advise. That whole thing about reducing the influence of lobbyists in government is much harder to do than I thought it would be. I tried to contact my friend Governor Blago for a few pointers but he was too busy hitting the talk show circuit to return my calls. Rohm offered to send him a dead fish but I told him not to bother. I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t waste my time trying to reach out to the *reactionaries* who watch Fox News when I gave my first one on one, but rather targeted a group that everyone agrees wants *change*. Since I am not a Muslim and do not read arabic, I hope they didn’t *change* anything I said.
Thanks for your patience, and I again promise you change you can believe in, *Chicago Style*.
Seems to me that if Bush’s approval rating was into the teens (maybe 20’s) by the time of the election and almost 50% of voters voted for another republican, then republicans just aren’t that smart and instead of voting for the best candidate, they just vote the party line. Not too smart indeed.
I like jokes as much as the next guy. Most jokes have SOME basis in fact (at lest one fact). That is what then makes them truly funny.
This was not just a joke, but a political jab, yet again at the Bush administration whilst trying to be funny about it. Sorry, this was a political attack (once again) disguised as a joke.
There is a difference and I would say you must lean left not to realize it.
By the way, the jokes about Cheney asking Hilary on his next hunting trip was a joke and very funny. There was a basis of fact to lay out its foundation. But where was the facts this time around? America suspended democracy for 8 years? Give me a break.
Go hug a suicide bomber if you really think that was “just a joke.”
So, if I think it was a joke, I should die. Got it. Is that “compassionate conservatism”, “family values” or “respect for life”, Lee? -rc
We sent the fix-it order to a call center in India, from there a prototype was sent to China for manufacturing, where the assembly instructions were transcribed in the Philippines and we were assured the final fix-it has been sent from Mexico and will be delivered sometime manana.
Have A Nice Day!
Too bad some people can’t take a joke:)
I think the joke is great. Having spent most of Bush’s presidency in NY I am one of the <20% who think Bush did OK. However, I am not offended by people who think differently. Someone who thinks differently than I do came up with a clever/cute way to put forward his viewpoint and it brought a smile to my face. That’s why I check the jokes site in the first place!
Some folks just ain’t gonna get it, and if they DO, perchance, actually understand it but still don’t like it, then they’ll WILLFULLY not get it. Shakin’ my head…
Reminds me of a handful of my friends at both ends of the extremes of the political spectrum who are quite happy to cite, say, Snopes.com (the debunking site, as I’m quite sure you know) to gleefully boast when that site debunks some nonsense about a candidate (or anyone else) they adore — then, when that very same site debunks some nonsense about someone they DON’T like, they argue the site is unreliable. In other words, in extreme liberals’ and extreme conservatives’ world views, what’s good for the goose most definitely is NOT good for the gander.
Talk about hypocrisy.
I do not know anyone who is more conservative than me. But I thought the joke was funny. Misguided, but funny. 🙂
In four years, I’ll use one very much like it.
Besides the old saw that a sense of humor requires a modicum of intelligence, it is also apparent to most of us that the type of person who gets snippy when they fail to see the humor in a political joke is also the type of person one definitely does NOT want at their party. No one would ever want them on a sailboat voyage or in a group trying to deal with a crisis either.
Humor greases the skids in society, gets us through the tasks of everyday life and is the very thing we look forward to in our leisure. My goodness, even excellent dogs and cats display a sense of humor! To unsubscribe because one did not appreciate a joke, frankly, places that person precisely where they belong – far away from the best humor on the web which the rest of us love. It’s their loss, not ours.
“Seems to me that if Bush’s approval rating was into the teens (maybe 20’s) by the time of the election and almost 50% of voters voted for another republican, then republicans just aren’t that smart and instead of voting for the best candidate, they just vote the party line. Not too smart indeed.”
That doesn’t make much sense. How could Republicans just be following the party line if so many who voted for McCain (a Republican) disapproved of Bush (a Republican)? In fact, many Republicans voted for Obama and many Democrats voted for McCain. Presumably they did so because they believed the person they voted for was the best candidate. You may think people who voted for McCain are stupid, but you can’t get there by your logic. I think a much better argument can be made that those who voted for McCain/Palin and those who reject the premise of the joke (that the U.S. has not been a quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy under the Bush administration) are poorly informed, but it would take a much longer post to make that argument, which involves laying out all that information.
Oh wah. I’m a conservative and have been since before most of the complainers here were born, but a lot of us conservatives didn’t like what we saw the past few years either. The past 16 have seen massive erosion in personal rights in my opinion. While I didn’t vote for Obama, I think we need to give him a chance. After all, we had a Republican president and a majority of Republicans in congress 8 years ago and they had their chance. Now it’s the other way around so we can see if they really can do things better as they say.
Chris, I agree with your rationale yet came to the opposite conclusions, oddly…
Absolutely, Hillary quotes aren’t a joke, though they can be amusing. Absolutely, Obama should be the butt of new satire (although I’m not surprised that it’s taking more than a couple of weeks for Bush jokes to fade; I’m sure we’d still be sending Quayle quotes round if people didn’t feel that Bush had surpassed him (enabling lazy jokers to credit Quayle’s flubs to Bush).
Contrarily to you, though, I felt that Trump’s Daughter [sorry Randy, I didn’t mean to imply that I though that you had written it, just that I thought you thought it was the best political joke on your site] exaggerated the ideas very cleverly, but in a way I could imagine people really believing made the point well. It’s very clever, and a story like that is probably better than a typical joke at provoking thought and discussion, but I don’t find it actually funny. The Dear World joke (quite apart from the joke in the title) was funny because it contained, as you require, an absurdity: the idea that a nation would issue an error message. Whether such an error message would be justified is secondary, although Lee’s requirement that a basis in fact is needed is satisfied by the fact that many in other parts of the world felt alienated by the US, regardless of whether or not they were right to do so.
One final point, to Lynn: most voters might think that Bush was doing a bad job, but that McCain would do a better job than Obama. There’s no contradiction there – there’s no point in voting for someone who will be more competent in implementing policies you think will be bad for the country, and many people pointed out how much more experienced McCain was as well. Also, in your country, unlike mine, the voters have a role in picking the candidates, and it would be more than a little worrying if people opposed the candidate they had selected….
Conservatives getting mad? Oh, SHIT.
FUCK the conservatives. I like This is True. Shit, I’m hoping to get into it sometime, but not as one of the stupid criminals. I don’t know exactly what I could do, but when I figure it out, I’ll send you a copy of the newspaper article.
Don’t hold back, Jim. How do you REALLY feel?
I have in fact had readers featured in my stories before, so do send me the clip if you’re there. Even if you end up being a stupid criminal. 🙂 -rc
I have a suggestion for a form reply letter to those who literally cannot take a joke.
I hope this elicited at least a small chuckle and to a very small extent repaid the debt of laughter owed you.
All notes of appreciation count toward the “debt”. -rc
I read that letter…
…I’m still laughing.
You object? Try getting your news from a channel other than Fox. Maybe from a country other than the USA.
…and I’m still laughing.
The only reason given for not liking the joke is a reluctance to admit that the Bush Administration did some things very much at odds with our proudest traditions. A real conservative, such as Barry Goldwater or Bruce Fein (one of Reagan’s lawyers), would have no problem at all admitting that, and therefore enjoying the joke.
This is just another instance of a big problem with modern American conservatives: they tend to see things in draconian terms, such as “You’re with us or you’re against us”; “Either life begins at conception or it does not”; “We are the good guys, therefore everything we do is good.” This attitude distinguishes them from classical conservatives, but more to the immediate point, makes it harder for them to appreciate humor that is based on the simple fact that everyone screws up, yes, even you and me.
(This is not to deny that some “liberals” are similarly draconian in their outlook; who is as cranky as a doctrinaire Marxist? But their proportion among liberals is vastly smaller because Liberalism, in the classical con/lib dichotomy, is about a way of thinking rather than a set of conclusions; being open to learning, change and improvement, and therefore the possibility (or rather the likelihood) of screwing up.) I would therefore argue that cranky Marxists are attitudinal conservatives who have merely chosen a different Book of Rules to follow slavishly, e.g. Marx’s instead of Friedman’s.)
When Obama does dumb things, as we all must, let’s make jokes. Why not? We can all use a laugh, he can take it, and democracy thrives on treating our temporary leaders as merely human.
Finally, I’m not sure that canceling a subscription over this joke was an efficient use of time. Randy seems to have profited more from the cancellation (it provided an interesting discussion point) than he lost from a reduction of a few thousandths of one percent of his list.
Darn it, Rewinn, you figured it out! Let people think, and look what happens. Sheesh. And yeah: I look forward to good Obama jokes. -rc
Bush did do some stupid things but he did some things right too. He was praised by Africa for his work helping people with AIDS and he did warn people in 2001 that bad things would happen if we didn’t get the mortgage refinancing situation under control. Everyone says what a great job Obama is doing when he hasn’t even been in office for two weeks and we can’t compare it to what he did before since he has no political experience. He won a Senate seat and started running for president immediately so we don’t know what kind of job he’s going to do in politics.
His rating dropped from some ungodly rating the day after he was inaugurated to I believe the last I heard it was a 43% approval rating. I don’t see how global warming or making cars more fuel efficient fit into an economic stimulus plan. So before we start calling him the new messiah we should see what he’s going to do and not assume he’s going to win a second term. There’s also the issue that no one is allowed to make jokes about him because that would be inappropriate. I guess their little liberal hearts can’t take it.
I don’t think anyone here has suggested we can’t joke about Obama, and in fact several have said they’re looking forward to them. The problem is, he has to do something — or not do anything! — for awhile before we can have jokes with elements of truth to them. I have no doubt we’ll get there. So your comment, too, comes off as extremely defensive. -rc
I’m not sure what’s funnier, the original letter … or the posturing that comes from “Ray in Utah” et al. 😛
The letter is similar to something I’ve been using (don’t know the original source … I’m sure its too funny to be something I thought up 😛 ) for a few years, and most Americans I speak to can actually take the joke …
“You do realise that America is only on a long term lease, and one day we’ll come and ask for our country back … and the rate the Americans are going you’re not going to get back your deposit!”
Come to think of it that’s funny enough to be one of your tag lines … keep up the great work.
Your joke reminds me of the Reply from King George item in JJ. -rc
Since your writings are all I know you by, I find yor statment that you are “very middle-of-the-road myself” interesting; you don’t write that way. You come across as a strong liberal with some moderate leanings and a general sense of fair play.
I went through the whole series of jokes you listed and they carry the slant I mentioned. Example: Hilary’s comments were mean spirited, evoked a sense of privelege and were more scary than funny. Bush’s comments were more of the classic “you misspelled/mispoke a word so I get to ignore the intended meaning” that is seen way too much on forums. But they were both funny.
Yet you decided Bush’s needed to be preceded by “flubber in chief” to help us get in the mood while Hilary’s had no comment about elitism or hatefulness inherent in them.
The “apologize world” joke would have been funny if done right. Maybe because the one thing I am MOST hopeful about in the Obama administration is that the hatefulness will end, so to use that hatefulness as a joke was something I, personally, was not quite ready for. But I definitely could see the intended humor.
If you’re going to judge me on my writing, then judge me on my writing, not someone else’s — and everything on Jumbo Joke is someone else’s unless it specifically says I wrote it. As far as slams on liberals, you’ve read my special Fornigate issue? And note the date on that: the story was just breaking at the time, and I got all sorts of complaints that I was jumping the gun, that there was no “blue dress,” it was simply a conservative fantasy made up to pile on poor Bill Clinton, so therefore I’m clearly a Rush Limbaugh Republican bent on destroying our president. Not one of them came back to apologize when they discovered it was all true. And speaking of “jumping the gun,” would a “strong liberal” or a “middle of the road” guy make arguments about guns like this or this? Pretty unlikely. Your bias sure does show. -rc
The joke is terribly ironic. First, November 4 was just the election. Nothing changed in Government until January (except someone “establishing” the ficticious “Office of the President Elect”). Second I believe that 4 years from now the joke will be just as pertinent.
Unfortunately Randy, I too failed to see the humor in the joke. Guess that makes me one of those pro-life, everything I do is right good girls. Maybe Bush did do some things wrong but he did a lot right. I am not complaining about the joke because there a many that I found funny that I am sure many would not. For those who are offended or do not find the joke funny let me remind them … you have a delete button and I use mine frequently especially for “jokes” like this one.
As a conservative, let me assure you that many of us understand humor and can make the distinction between strong disagreement over ideas versus laughing at something comically said even when the target of the joke is something conservative like ourselves. The whole point of political humor is, IMHO, to redirect the emotion of the situation into more constructive lines of thought, with the emphasis on “thought” rather than “emotion.” As the old Reader’s Digest says, Laughter is the Best Medicine.
Randy, per reply to previous post. Yes, I am going to judge you on your writing, what else do I have, I missed that invitation to your Super Bowl party. And part of your “writing” is the articles referenced as humorous or making a point. Good gawd, how else can we ever form opinions about those known only through blogs and newsletters?
We all judge you, Randy, or should. Those of us that return to your humor judge you funny on most issues but there isn’t a comedian alive that I find every joke they tell as funny, for a world of reasons, including my own personal mood at that time.
You are more interesting than most comedians because like Jon Stewart you generally go for more than the laugh. There is often a “point” in what you write. But the laughs are usually there.
Nothing wrong with “judging” people, if we didn’t we would be wasting our lives in random pursuits. Just as you judged me based on my couple of paragraphs as having my bias showing.
We are all biased, but we don’t want to believe that. Those that have a bias against that concept (you apparently) are offended when someone suggests something different than their dearly held belief.
Ah, see, you do the same as those this thread is vilifying. We all do, it allows us to have and hold values, even when others don’t see those values, agree with them or, gawd forbid, make fun of them.
I didn’t say don’t judge me, I said judge me on what I write, not on what others write. I point people at all sorts of interesting posts, jokes and web sites; that doesn’t mean I endorse them or agree with anything they say, let alone everything they say. You might be able to detect a trend and say “Ah hah! That’s shows your thought process!”, but I doubt it: I point toward a huge variety of things with a huge variety of viewpoints. I obviously can’t agree with them all. And as I said at the start, I obviously don’t expect everyone to find everything funny, whether I do so or not.
Meanwhile, you ignored my entire point, which is that the things I do write in fact show a very middle-of-the-road perspective; I praise and/or slam both the left and the right (and, in fact, the middle) equally, pointing out the ridiculous no matter who does it. This makes me “a strong liberal” (to use your exact words) how? That’s right: it doesn’t. Your evidence of bias is lacking. My evidence of non-bias is all over this site for all to see. Well, there is one bias that comes through: I’m admittedly anti-stupid. I’ll admit that freely. -rc
I thought “Dear World” was HILARIOUS!!! I’m a techie so the technical orientation of it really hit home for me. I plan to forward it around to everyone I know, especially those in other countries who have been the victims of Bush’s reign of terror for eight horrific years. Thank gawd it’s over!!!
I visited Rome, Italy, in December and was treated very rudely because I was an American. Thank you, W, for ruining our reputation with our “allies!” Interestingly enough, when Romans found out I was an Obama supporter, we became instant friends! I feel like America has finally been able to end the abusive relationship that was Bush’s administration – now it’s on to healing and fixing everything Bush destroyed! Buh bye, W, and I hope you rot in hell!
You do point to a lot of things. But as an example of how today’s examples of bias differed or were more extreme than past examples you pointed to Hilary’s 10 things and Bush’s 10 things. I specifically pointed out how YOUR examples showed a liberal bias. Generalize quote from the Hilary thing: “in response to someone telling me I didn’t have anything on Hilary after I posted 2 such things on Bush . . .” And the prefacing of the Bush things by name calling (an intentional degradation) when his mistakes were grammatical while refraining from any such intentional demeaning of Hilary (whose posts were specifically mean spirited or elitist) does indicate that whoever posted those items has a liberal bias.
And that is just an example from this single thread you have started to show how crazy conservatives can be by having a strong reaction to America being presented as having to apologize, not for a specific thing, but just for being America for 8 years.
Going back in your writings (the punch lines after the item usually) you find a strong anti stupid sentiment, and it is that sentiment that keeps us coming back. We all want to be part of the crowd that can look down on stupidity, though I know of many instances when I fall squarely into the stupid crowd.
I’m using these as immediate examples. Because the idea that a centrist middle of the road guy would be surprised by, and take such strong exception to, a strong display of right wing patriotism rings false to me. I read that joke and knew that it would outrage many, just as making fun of homosexuals would outrage many liberals. There are topics that generate that response on both sides. The mere fact that this escapes you, as it escaped the Dixie Chicks many years ago, does indeed indicate your liberalism. To then show how unbiased you are by referencing sources with the same bias strengthens that appearance.
But so what. Your funny and I enjoy your writing. Keep it up just the way you believe you are doing, for it is only through belief in ourselves that we accomplish things as large as your media empire and maintain it so well and true for so long!
Well, in the Bush posting I’m thinking of, the ultimate is “There ought to be limits to freedom.” I don’t consider that a grammatical error, but agree most are. And, yet again, I didn’t write that “flubber in chief” intro.
I didn’t take exception to patriotism. I took exception to people telling me to go to hell for posting a joke, and pointed out the stupidity behind unsubscribing from something you’ve enjoyed for years because I posted a joke that I didn’t write because it was a slam on their tender beliefs, but they enjoyed laughing at very things that slammed the other side of the political spectrum. It is a crybaby mentality, and I stand by my calling them out. But I’m good with your conclusion: yes, I’ll keep on going the way I think is right. I clearly do get irritated with conservatives at times, and as long as you see I also give equal time to liberals who do stupid things, I’m satisfied. -rc
J in Orlando – no one is asking America to apologize “just for being America”.
To the contrary: The apology is for America NOT being America for the past 8 years.
You don’t get it? Ask Bruce Fein, or most of our JAG corps, or the MANY generals applauding the re-criminalization of torture.
I think that J’s belief that Randy is a liberal, while clearly mistaken, is understandable (unless he/she’s a longstanding reader, anyway): I thought the same thing when I started reading TRUE, probably because a) the Republicans were the targets of criticism, being in power at the time, and b) I had previously encountered all too many politically polarized Americans. (I certainly didn’t consider this cause for offence, however – I certainly don’t avoid listening to things I disagree with. Actually, by the American definition I would probably be considered more liberal than conservative on most issues.)
However, the more I read your work, Randy, the more I realised that that particular bias was imaginary – your views on gun ownership, which have since informed my own to a great extent, made it entirely obvious.
[Forgive my ineptitude, but where did you make the “very middle-of-the-road myself” comment? I remember reading it, but now can’t locate it no matter how I search…]
I don’t think I used it in this particular blog entry, but I have in the past — indicating that “J” is a fairly long-term reader, and should know better, as you point out. -rc
I wish the people who have already unsubscribed hadn’t for long enough to answer one question. When the Muslims were rioting because someone had drawn cartoons of Mohammed, were you a) amused, b) bemused, c) offended because you are a Muslim, or d) offended on behalf of the Muslims even though you yourself are not a Muslim?
Welcome back America!! Where the hell have you been all these years? Missed ya.
This particular jumbo joke has made a few friends of mine decide to subscribe.
Yay for your new President.
So many comments on how “clever” the letter is, when to me its lack thereof is its only failure. The idea (an apology to the world for America’s behavior) is certainly clever, but the implementation, the actual chosen words, fail to deliver. With so many errors made in the last eight years, why would the apology be for a “service outage” of “the ideals of liberty and democracy” when the pursuit of those (installing democracy in Iraq, for example) was what LED to many of the actual errors. We may have much to apologize for, but not the items in this letter.
Well, I have this to say about that joke.
First: Though it is very well worded, I’m not sure how funny it is because there is entierly too much truth to it. It is now February 2009 and the new components have been installed and are indeed working properly it appears.
Second, as to the comment about the Muslems rioting over a cartoon drawing of Mohammed (With a bomb shaped turban)
First understand I am not Muslem. I’m Christian, Catholic to be precise. and like John Kerry I sing in the choir.
Second: That cartoon was in very bad taste. If you look carefully there are two “Muslem” religions.
One is Islam, the religion founded by Mohammed, it is a religion of peace, and the followers of Mohammed would never blow up a transportation terminal, They would never fly planes into a building (Save by accident) and they would never kill themselves, while killing others, in the name of Allah.. NEVER Thus the bomb turban was in bad face
Now… Paint him red, add a few facial features, re-shape the face a bit but Add a tail but leave the profit’s cloths and you have the Devil in Disguise.
And that is who leads the other Muslims. The ones with the bombs.. The price of darkness. The lord of DEATH.. THE DEVIL.
The true muslems, if Mohammed is right, do not need GOOHF cards.. The ones with the bombs do.. But alas, they are not on the mailing list cause they can not take a joke.
And it has been written that the DEVIL can not stand to have people laugh at him. Think about it.
Aha! So there we have it. Not whether a joke is funny or not funny, but whether it’s in “Good Taste”. “Gee, Charlie, they don’t want tuna with good taste, they want tuna that tastes good!”
Ain’t it wonderful how many self-proclaimed custodians of Decency & Good Taste are willing to stand up on behalf of all the rest of us ignorant slobs who laugh at bad taste? As the country song says, “I’ve got high friends in low places,” so leave us alone!
By the way, I found the joke labored and stultifying; however, as Voltaire said, “I disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
And then we move on. Simple as that. -rc
I was curious as to the joke that got the comments on thisistrue, so had to check it out. I like the fact that you are a bi-partisan annoyer, its too bad some people can’t have a sense of humor about their various parties. However I am waiting for your 10 Dumbest things Obama has said.
Me too. Meanwhile, here are two dumb things he has done so far: 1) He shouldn’t have railed against Rush Limbaugh, which just gave the neo-con gadfly more power. Dumb! 2) He shouldn’t have walked into the Press Briefing Room at the White House and then chastise the reporters for (gasp!) asking him questions. If he just wants to visit, he needs to send word of that fact first. But to jump into the middle of a pack of reporters and think they’re not going to ask questions? Yep: Dumb. -rc
I also think that it will be just as fine to have anti-Obama jokes when the time comes.
The thing that pisses me off is the people who sent me a “Countdown to when Obama leaves office” that started before he’d even been inaugurated!
The country repeatedly forgave Bush (to varying extents) for mistakes he made, but some people won’t even wait to for Obama to have enough mistakes to comment on, they just preemptively come up with things that are wrong.
I am all for pointing out the flaws in anyone that’s in power, but this country gave Bush 8 years to try & get things done and yet Obama is expected to turn everything around after only a couple of weeks.
It’s like weight loss, you didn’t get fat overnight and you’re not going to get back to skinny overnight either. Change, any lasting change, takes time.
Some people in these comments are presuming to know which way Randy leans politically; I’ve been a True subscriber for over a decade, and I can say for certainty that Randy is pro-common sense, anti-stupid, and abhors Zero Tolerance because it is the complete lack of common sense and the epitome of stupidity.
Anyone who unsubscribes over a joke they didn’t like isn’t showing common sense, and may have never appreciated what they had — though it is a shame we couldn’t reach them.
I have to admit that I was offended by the joke, but I would have just written it off as one of those jokes that I don’t like. But all the hub-bub about it got me thinking.
Why was I offended by this one, when most jokes about the subject just annoy me?
The conclusion I came to is that this joke attempts to speak for me – it is signed “The USA”. If it had been signed “President Obama” or anything like that I would have just written it off as one of those annoying jokes – rather than an offensive one. But the fact that something I strongly disagree with was said “in my name”, and as if everyone agreed with it, offended me.
Would I have found it offensive if I had read something like this 8 years ago – referencing President Clinton leaving office. Probably not, I suspect that I was as glad to see him leave office as many others are to see President Bush leave. But I hope I would have understood how others might be offended. Too often we forget that what seems blindingly obvious to us looks very different to others. As some of the early comments referenced – the problem is not in disagreeing with someone, it is thinking that anyone that disagrees with you is either stupid or evil.
So yes, did this joke offend me? Yes. But it was (I believe) an unintentional and very minor offense. I prefer to save my outrage for some thing much bigger and/or personal.
I willingly admit I was a Bush supporter. No he wasn’t a saint, he was human as is Obama.
Yes I found the joke funny. People need to find their humor. If they don’t like something then ignore it. But to act a fool over it… GOOD GRIEF.
“The conclusion I came to is that this joke attempts to speak for me – it is signed “The USA”. (The) fact that something I strongly disagree with was said “in my name”, and as if everyone agreed with it, offended me.” (Kit in Rocket City, Feb. 3)
The problem that I have with Kit’s comment is that to the rest of the world we all are responsible for the last eight years. Despite his having lost the popular vote, Bush became president eight years ago thanks to our odd quirk of an electoral college. Four years later, he won re-election with three million more votes than John Kerry. He made decisions in our names (that includes Kit) which hurt our relations with other nations. He started a war in our names (that includes Kit). He endorsed the use of torture against all of the Gitmo prisoners, innocent and guilty alike in our names (that includes Kit). And the rest of the world rightly holds us, all of us, responsible. That includes Kit. Kit doesn’t suddenly have the right to complain that she’s offended because “something (she) strongly (disagrees) with was said ‘in (her) name’.”
Instead of complaining about a cleverly worded bit of satire, Kit needs to be offended by the previous administration and what it has done to all of us.
“He shouldn’t have railed against Rush Limbaugh, which just gave the neo-con gadfly more power. Dumb!”
What’s dumb is claiming that Obama “railed against Rush Limbaugh” when he did no such thing, and you apparently didn’t bother to find out what Obama actually said about Limbaugh before writing that: He told Republican Congresspeople “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done” — that’s it. And it’s extremely dumb to say that this statement gave Limbaugh more power.
We disagree on how to characterize what the president said, and its political effect. -rc
A response to Kit in Rocket City:
Kit:“But the fact that something I strongly disagree with was said “in my name”, and as if everyone agreed with it, offended me.
Me: “Now you know how a large portion of the American public have felt every day for the last eight years!
When I read things like this page, I can only remind myself that, if 100 is the average IQ, then half the people are likely to be far below that level…
It was funny, it wasn’t funny – whatever. I don’t happen to be a conservative or a liberal and instead belong to that severely marginalized political party – Decent Human Beings. It is true, over the past eight years, it has probably been somewhat a disgrace to call oneself an “American” referring to one’s citizenship in the United States. If any presidency in U.S. can be called “orwellian” it will perhaps be that of George W. Bush. Of course, only those are disgraced who think rather small only identifying themselves as “American” or as “republican” or as “conservative” when, in fact, you have been and, unless you become an astronaut set free of earth’s gravity, always will be a citizen of “Earth” whose population is ALL of humanity and, thinking larger, ALL of life on the planet. You can continue to think divisively and small, or you can finally join the “Decent Human Being” party and finally join the much larger community of “all life on Earth”.
Again, the joke was funny, it was not funny and equally irrelevant. It all depends on your point of view which can be rather small or all-encompassing and quite a bit more enlightened.
If you have no sense of humor you probably have no sense at all.
Can’t remember where I heard this.
Just to clarify a few things.
1) I am a guy. The fact that in the US Kit is more commonly a nickname for Katherine or Katrina than it is for Christopher has caused me plenty of grief. But you learn to laugh at yourself – like when I got a mass mailing invitation to enter the Miss Arizona Pageant. I didn’t think that would turn out well. 🙂
2) I didn’t mean to sound complaining – I was trying to explain that this discussion got me thinking about my reaction to the joke. My reaction was mild. I would never have responded to it because of any offense, I responded because it started me thinking. The small amount of offense I took from this joke was insufficient to get me to do more than click the “next” button. The thinking was worth sharing, I thought.
3) I do indeed understand how many people have felt for the last 8 years. I suspect my feelings for the previous 8 years were similar. That is why I am trying my hardest to give President Obama every benefit of the doubt in my perception of him. I am very worried about the direction I think he may take the country. But I will do for him what I wish more people had done for President Bush — assume that he is an honorable man that is doing what he thinks is best for the country, whether I agree with it or not. It is possible to disagree with someone without thinking they are evil or stupid — it is just harder with the level of political dialogue in this country currently.
4) I tried to explain this the first time, but I guess I didn’t do it well enough: If the letter had been signed by someone “authorized” to speak for me then I don’t think it would have offended me. It may be irrational (I’m sure it is), but having it signed “The USA” is different to me than “Congress/The President/The Supreme Court/the corner store manager, on behalf of the USA”. There is a big difference in my mind between the Pope speaking for the Catholic Church and me (a non-Catholic) or even a normal member of the Catholic Church writing something and signing it “The Catholics”. That is where the offense comes, not as much from something being said in my name that I disagree with (that happens all the time) — but in the presumption by the author of the joke that he/she is authorized or welcome to do it.
Kit, you pinpoint a basic problem when you write “…I will do for him [Obama] what I wish more people had done for President Bush — assume that he is an honorable man that is doing what he thinks is best for the country…”
History tells us Bush came into office after a wonderfully dirty campaign, including racist pushpolling against John McCain, a Florida campaign manager who abused her public office to keep all votes cast from being counted and a HUGE effort to purge tens of thousands of Florida voters for the crime of having the same last name as a felon in Texas.
So naturally, there was some suspicious as to his honor. Yet he got what he wanted on nearly every issue; criticism was EXTREMELY muted even before 9/11, and after 9/11 our whole nation was behind him, one hundred per cent. And he proceeding to throw all that away with crimes both high and petty, not the least of which was lying to Congress in order to start a war of aggression.
He even lied on petty things … remember “trifecta”?
Now Obama has his faults, like every human being. And it is ALWAYS the duty of We The People to keep our public servants on the straight and on the narrow, no matter who they are.
But let me urge you to let go of the myth that Bush was not given a chance by the vast majority of Americans of all political persuasions. He had his chance. He brought his disgrace upon himself by his own actions.
rewinn: Consider using a word other than “history” if you don’t understand how to use it properly.
Kit: interesting analyis of what exactly touched a nerve
Still would love to hear anyone explain the cleverness –how “the ideals of liberty and democracy” were denied to the world by the U.S. in the last 8 years.
Timothy in Hayward:
* A war of aggression in Iraq
* Warrantless Wiretapping
There’s more, but the above should suffice.
Oh, about the word “history” ?
Personal attacks don’t help reasonable discussion. Certainly I may have facts wrong, in which case anyone can contribute to the discussion pointing out where the fact is wrong.
However, Bush’s racist attack on McCain in re the South Carolina primary is an indisputable part of the history of the 2000 presidential race.
rewinn: (in reverse order) Warrantless wiretapping was perpetrated on the American people, not the world — it was U.S. citizens who were denied their civil liberties! Thus, it’s not grounds for apology to the world. The war in Iraq was a forced exportation of democracy, not a denial (“service outage”) of it. Torture, whether or not it was done, isn’t relevant; what does it have to do with liberty or democracy? Again, I’m not saying the idea of an apology is off target; if the apology were instead for a service outage of “sound judgment” or “moral righteousness” I personally wouldn’t take issue with it.
Torture is a threat to liberty; since liberty is necessary to democracy, it is a threat to democracy as well. Our Founders understood this well enough for it to require no further explanation.
The fraction of people on this planet who think that Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq was a “forced exportation of democracy” is vanishingly small.
Free nations do not allow governments to spy on our own people without warrants. That that may not have harmed anyone but ourselves is irrelevant; those who love of freedom and democracy are at the very least embarrassed that our nation soiled our own britches.
Timothy, your analysis is itself interesting. Torture has nothing to do with liberty or democracy, you say? Few would agree with you – protection from “cruel and inhuman” treatment is one of the values that the US “supplies”…
Actually, I can see an argument for the use of torture to get convicted felons or traitors to reveal information (not to extract confessions, obviously, as that would render them meaningless), but its use against those who should, according to the values of both our nations, be considered “innocent until proven guilty” is certainly a “service outage”…
“The fraction of people on this planet who think that Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq was a ‘forced exportation of democracy’ is vanishingly small.” Come again? If true (I’d be surprised but won’t refute it), it just goes to show what people think can very well have nothing to do with reality. This isn’t a matter of opinion but of fact. Iraq was forced into becoming a democracy by the war. Do you deny that previously Iraq was not a democracy, or that it isn’t now?
I can follow that “protection from ‘cruel and inhuman’ treatment is one of the values that the US ‘supplies'” — or had supplied, or should supply — but what’s the connection back to liberty or democracy? For clarity, my working definition of liberty:
1) freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control
2) freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice
The first I would identify with the “ideal” of liberty, and the second with the civil liberties lost by U.S. citizens. But both of them were expanded in Iraq and Afghanistan during the last 8 years. I will concede that if you want to singly highlight the word “interference” and claim the U.S. interfered, fine, but in my opinion you’re missing the point.
Torture imposes “arbitrary or despotic government or control.”
Neither torture victims nor other members of the subject population are free from the threat of further torture; that threat is how governments use torture to limit liberty.
I, and most of the world, deny that Bush invaded Iraq to force it into becoming a democracy. Its announced purpose at the time was to protect the United States against the threat of WMDs in Iraq. “Democracy” become the purpose only after the WMD claim become a bad joke.
Every person who loves democracy is ashamed that its name is now tarnished by being associated with turning 10% of Iraq’s population into refugees and grossly reducing the personal freedom of the female HALF of the Iraq population. Certainly Saddam was an evil dictator but under his tyranny, women attended school, joined the professions, and wore the hijab only if they felt like it … and most didn’t.