Apparently, the audience at the recent Missouri State Fair cheered while a Missouri rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask got charged by a bull. But the larger national audience isn’t cheering… for the most part. I guess you had to be there.
Almost immediately after the Missouri rodeo clown donned an Obama mask in what appears to have been little more than a run-of-the-mill political jibe, the race-baiters, noise makers, and page view generators started croaking their familiar song: “That’s racist. That’s racist. That’s racist.”
First. Let’s just swat the racist claim out of the air. There is a dim possibility that the rodeo clown dislikes the president because the president is black. But it is far more likely that the clown and the audience picked one of the much more readily apparent reasons to dislike the president, and it also seems likely that the Missouri rodeo clown ridiculed Obama because he disagreed with his politics and thought the mostly conservative audience would get a kick out of imagining a not-so-successful presidential “run with the bulls.”
It may have been stupid and tacky. No. It definitely was. But who cares? He’s a clown. A rodeo clown. At a state fair. What do you expect? A nuanced political monologue? Seriously. And now the clown is banned from clowning for the rest of his life, and the rest of the members of his rodeo association (Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association) are going to have to have proof of sensitivity training before they can ever work in Missouri again. Sensitivity training. I wonder what that looks like? Perhaps he needs a sit-down with Napoleon Dynamite’s principal: “Here in Missouri, we have a little something called … pride. Understand?”
I fail to see why we need to make sure our Missouri rodeo clowns are sensitive enough to practice their art. Forget about the fact that Comedy Central, The Onion, and SNL (and pretty much all other rodeo clowns) have been lampooning political figures for decades. Apparently, that’s okay somehow. Making fun of political figures is not only a Western tradition (think: Medieval puppeteers), it is a peculiarly American tradition. Americans have been making fun of our leaders since basically the beginning. And now they’re trying to take that away from us? Look, you can take away our freedom, but you better not take away our ham-fisted political satire. That’s a bridge too far.
Come on, Obama. Let us have a little fun at your expense. The W took it in stride. Even the French, who have not been traditionally known for graciously receiving insults to their honor, have passed a law allowing their president to be mocked. We feel helpless to actually change anything. So if we didn’t laugh about it, we would cry—we might even try to do something about it. So let clowns be clowns. I mean let the people who are paid to be clowns be clowns. All the people doing it for free really need to cut it out and focus on their real jobs.
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