Punch Lines or Politics? We May As Well Laugh…

This is a guest post from Kent Thune, blog author of The Financial Philosopher.

Years ago, I replaced my frustration over the political process with amusement.   Instead of getting angry with politicians and political pundits when they make abstract, misleading comments, I just laugh.   After all, isn’t the political process and related discourse a form of entertainment?

The rise of political satirists, such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, suggests many other Americans like me would also rather laugh than continue their frustration with politics.  The lasting legacy of great comedians, such as the late George Carlin, also demonstrates that intelligence, passion, and anger wrapped in a humorous package can be more honest and effective than a fist-pounding radio talk show host.

Therefore, with my everything is entertainment in politics perspective, upon the rare occasion when I view a video clip or listen to talk radio, instead of arguing my point back to them (as if they could hear me), I laugh.

Would you like to give it a try? Watch this video clip of Bill O’Reilly from Fox News blaming high oil prices on Obama:

At which point did you laugh the most?  Was it when O’Reilly said “Obama wants oil prices to go higher” so he can sell his green energy policies or when O’Reilly said “oil companies know they can make more money in China, so they send it over there and raise the price at the pump here”?  My chuckle turned into a full roar when he turned to his impartial economist and expert, Lou Dobbs, on what really drives oil prices.  Once Dobbs added his unbiased statistics, I knew the big payoff must be about to arrive!  Unfortunately, I was disappointed by less amusing contradictory spin but I did get one more chuckle out of O’Reilly’s comment, “It’s my job to tell you the truth.” Now that’s a joke!  All he needs is a laugh track or live audience to give his lines more impact.

To satisfy my remaining hunger to get a good laugh, I decided to follow another link related to oil and energy with Colbert’s video on Santorum and Satan.  I may as well laugh at something actually intended to be funny!

Honestly, and thankfully, I watch very little news, primarily because I don’t have cable television and I subscribe to no news publications, either in print or online. I just happened to catch this video clip on a social media page and couldn’t help but watch… and laugh.  Also, is it me or does O’Reilly seem to deliver his video clip with just a bit of sarcasm, almost as if he knows most of his points would work better as comedy?

I’d love to hear your comments, either comical or serious. Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

If George Carlin were living today, which Republican candidate would he endorse, if any, and why?

Why do you think most political satirists are left-leaning and most radio talk show hosts are right-leaning?

If you wanted to do a better job connecting Obama to high oil prices than O’Reilly did, how would you do it?

And what about those political ads from the Presidential election campaign?  They’re the best comedy!


Follow Kent Thune on Twitter or at his blog, The Financial Philosopher.

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