When I was young, my favorite movies were laugh-out-loud comedies, like those of Monty Python.
These days, I prefer comedy with a message. I’ve taught my nine-year-old son to appreciate films such as Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator.” But my new favorite is Stanley Kramer’s “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
“World” isn’t the funniest film ever made, although it tries to be. What makes it interesting is the message amid the mayhem. Greed is bad, and anyone can be brought low by it. The plot is that some travelers learn about a fortune buried “under a giant W,” and police investigator Spencer Tracy (beset on all sides over his pension and his family) decides to steal it from everyone.
The point is that, at times like this, it’s best to laugh. Laughter holds no party, no position. It skewers both sides without fear or favor. (And if you feel your side is laughed at too much, just find another comic.)
The web is filled with great political humor. Instead of wasting your time with CNN, MSNBC, or Fox, try surfing instead to The Onion, where Senate President Pro Tem Strom Thurmond is assembling his cabinet.
Of course, you’re probably more interested in humor concerning “the present situation.” The first place I go to is Slate’s political cartoon page, which features newspaper cartoons for every political taste.
But I prefer things I can get in my email, such as this letter indicating Her Majesty is willing to take us back. Democrats may crack a smile at the Palm Beach Ballot, while Republicans might prefer the “Magic Ballot Theory.”
I made up some jokes myself: an imitation “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry visits his parents’ Florida condo and moans, “You forgot to vote?” while George says he voted for “that sexy crime solver Edna Buchanan.” (If you don’t like that, make up your own. This is the game everyone can play.)
This game is far from over, of course. There are plenty of moves left on the board. Perhaps the “East Palm Beach” (Tel Aviv) vote came in late and will decide the issue, but that’s not the way to bet. More likely, courts will rule for a recount, the Florida Secretary of State will refuse to certify those results, and the whole thing will go to the House of Representatives, which will decide which set of electors sit for Florida. We’re talking another month and a half of this stuff at least.
The point is that all we’re deciding is which of two victims we’re going to make fools of for the next four years. The country is too divided to do anything radical, no matter what happens. Isn’t it better to have some fun with it?
Here’s where the web really shows its worth. It will give you as much political humor as you can stand, with no reruns.