The Silly SeasonT. SHER SINGH
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I don’t think it’s a mere coincidence that the American presidential elections have been scheduled to follow close on the heels of the Olympic Games every four years.
I think both extravaganzas are secretly managed by the same bunch of people whose mission in life is to, a) keep people glued to their television sets every single moment of their spare time, and b) help multi-national corporate giants make oodles of money so that their respective CEO’s can get even fatter salaries and bonus packages.
The first event - the Games - barely finishes, having renewed the collective addiction of the world to watching races, when the Election immediately picks up its turn to keep the addiction well fed for the next few months. No time for pangs of withdrawal.
The Olympiad keeps us interested over the course of two whole weeks through the excitement of seeing who is faster, higher, bigger, stronger …
The elections, on the other hand, have the monumental task of holding on to the audience for three full months, the final lap of the four-year long horse race. Obviously, a bigger challenge. Their lure is different … a stronger concoction that keeps us mesmerized, night after night, going over infinite re-plays of the day’s goings-on in slow-motion, of who said what, to whom, about whom, of who did what, to whom, etc.
The news channels bring home their camera teams and their gallery of pundits from the games, and almost overnight turn their networks into … well, like full-time, 24/7, non-stop comedy entertainment, but pumped up with steroids.
It’s for good reason that it’s called the Silly Season.
The regular comedians get to go home and take a few months off, do some fishing and stuff, while the politicians take over and entertain us.
Not surprisingly, the Silly Season gets better ratings. Because, unlike the games and the regular comedians, the politicians play with no holds barred. There are no rules that cannot be broken. Nothing is too outrageous.
You are allowed to hit below the belt. You can poke your opponent in the eye. You can kick him in the groin. I mean, it’s so hilarious. And then, and then, they start slapping themselves, and poking themselves in the eyes.
I mean, where else can you find such hilarity?
It gets even better. They bring God onto the stage and then it becomes a free-for-all. Like the three stooges, hitting each other on the head with two-by-fours, tripping each other, smashing chairs on each other …
I love it, the Silly Season. And can’t figure out how I survive without it until the next one comes along.
Just look at the last few days.
We have had performances from a politician who goes by the name of Todd Akin. He says he’s running to be US Senator. It must be a stage name, surely. It’s so catchy and easy on the tongue. It’s been hilarious, his take on rape. He parses the term, separating “legitimate” kinds of rape from, I guess, from the other kinds. I won’t even try to re-tell his jokes, because no one can do it with a straight face like he can.
Then there’s Paul Ryan who says he wants to be the Vice-President of the United States of America. Another stage name, you think.
He’s hilarious too. Seen him trying to explain what he means by “forced” rape? As opposed to voluntary rape, I guess. Check it out. He can be funnier than Akin, and with a poker face too.
And Mitt Romney.
I love that name. Who came up with that nom de plume? Great stage name, I tell ya.
He wants to be President. You should see his routine, when he gets into the pit with Akin and Ryan and they start these jokes about abortion, which women can get them and which ones not, and why not, and how much they care about women’s rights and family values. I mean, to have three Republicans together and have them tell us how women should run their lives - not even Richard Pryor or George Carlin, no, not even Robin Williams, could outdo this bunch.
Now you know why they call it the Silly Season.
Pity, they didn’t get the very best comedians signed up for this season. I mean, where are Santorum and Gingrich when you really need them. No one, simply no one, can mention God with a straight face and yet make you laugh, the way they can.
Up here in Canada, we get jealous of these goings-on south of the border. So we tear around and put together our own dog-and-pony show.
Yes, we have one of our own on this season.
It’s called the Quebec Provincial Election.
The star attraction is the leader of the Parti Quebecois, a woman called Pauline Marois. She’s so funny, I tell you, she should’ve been recruited by the Republicans. She wants to be Premier of the Province of Quebec, one of Canada’s largest provinces.
She came up with a brilliant skit the other day. She said if she became Premier she'd ban all religious symbols, period. No more turbans, hijabs, things like that. Funny, isn’t she.
Wait, she gets funnier. She says Christian crucifixes, however, will be exempt from the ban. Here’s the punch line: she says it’s because the crucifix is a cultural object, not a religious one. Yes, she says the huge crosses can stay in the Quebec legislature and atop the government buildings. … because they are architectural decorations, that’s why.
Now tell me, doesn’t she deserve a comedy show of her own?
We live in a shrunken world, what with satellite TV channels and the internet and the social media. Everyone knows everything that’s going on anywhere.
Some desis in India have acquired computers and they‘ve got wind of our Silly Season. But, they are not happy. They claim they invented it. And want credit for it. You see, if you look at the ancient books …
In India, therefore, because they invented it, they don’t need to have the Silly Season just for a few days or weeks, they simply have it all the time. India’s Silly Season is actually a combination of the four seasons. They don’t need elections to go silly. Why wait, they say.
The New York Times reported the following story other day:
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has in its government cabinet a senior Minister in charge of Public Works. Shri Shivpal Yadav.
He was speaking to a conference of government employees in a public forum. On Thursday, August 10, 2012. Right in front of cameras - his words of wisdom were then broadcast nationwide.
The highlight of what he said to the public servants: “If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into it, then you are allowed to steal some.”
Now, if that generosity won’t get him re-elected, what will.
You have to admit, the American jokers and their Canadian counterparts may be good, but they can’t hold a candle to their Indian brothers and sisters, wouldn’t you agree.