Opinion: Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand
Tribune Guest Columnist
“A discriminating irreverence is the protector of human liberty.” Mark Twain made a living on those words, the operative word being, “discriminating.”
Sadly, presidential hopeful Donald Trump has dropped the word “discriminating” from his quiver, and the arrows he slings might boomerang to impale him. There is a fine line between discriminating irreverence and ridicule.
Jerry Seinfeld might send some sympathy to Mr. Trump with his thought, “How can you tell jokes if your humor offends no one?”
Mark Twain asked that his autobiography be withheld for 100 years after his death. Why? It was the only way he knew of damaging people without hurting their feelings.
This consideration is long gone it seems, as today’s blood sport of campaigning goes right for the jugular, or wherever.
America leads the world in humor, always has, and you know why? Because only when you have security can humor work its magic.
In territories that have no security humor does not fly very high. Take Gaza City, where political satire comes only with a sigh, where people line up and wait for the “Mish-mish” boat, that everyone knows is not scheduled to arrive in this century.
Our first moment of recorded humor as a nation arrived during the Lewis & Clark Expedition, when Lewis stepped on the back of Clark’s moccasin and gave him a flat tire.
Sacagawea covered her mouth with her deerskin sleeve and smiled. A smile can eliminate anxiety. Sacagawea would soon become the first woman to vote in this country.
Turning back to Mr. Trump, he has maintained that he is just having fun when making jokes, but when your jokes are laced with astringent, well, they deserve a legitimate blowback.
As a man in America you don’t insult a woman, ever. In Jolly Old England they call such callousness, “bad form.”
In America we just call it rude, vulgar, and a sign of a mad cow. But we are learning that incivility polls really, really well — a sign of a greater malaise. Welcome to the Great Reality Race.
Just for fun, I reviewed some terms and coinages Mark Twain used in his writings and strung a few of them together to characterize Donald Trump. I shall lay them out here in no particular order…
He acts not like a presidential candidate, but more like he is waiting for a vacancy on the trinity. With nickel plated aristocratic instincts he makes us laugh, not a pleasant kind of laugh, but that kind of laugh you make when you discover you are eating bread that’s got sand in it. His assfulness will bring him to his milk.
Political cartoonists are backing Trump. So long as he is on the stump there is money to be made for political satirists and cartoonists, as against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.
In the end, my friend, pragmatism will trump Trump.
To learn more about McAvoy Layne, who’s spent many of his years at Lake Tahoe impersonating Mark Twain, visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.