12 May 2009
Wanda Sykes's remarks about Rush Limbaugh and other right-wingers at last weekend's White House Correspondents' dinner weren't funny. I don't say that because I feel any moral outrage over what she wished on Limbaugh. I say it because her jokes were lame. I'd expect to see the same material on a Craigslist Rants & Raves page. What is funny is the sputtering outrage of Rush's fans and allies. Limbaugh himself has been smart, saying nothing on the subject. Not so smart was Sean Hannity, who made it the top issue on his Fox News show last night. He was a less publicized target of Sykes's sting, but spent his time defending Limbaugh and deploring Sykes. And so the terrorists have won. At this late date, Hannity doesn't get it, though Limbaugh appears to. My best guess is that, more than anything else, more than getting the President to laugh, Sykes wanted to make Limbaugh, Hannity and Dick Cheney publicly angry. The punchline of all such humor, as Howard Stern and any number of politically incorrect clowns will tell you, is the spectacle of outraged people losing their composure and making fools of themselves, at least in the eyes of the original transgressors. In this case, since dittoheads and their associates are extra angry at the fact that the President laughed at Sykes's comments, their outrage is extra hilarious to people on the other side. The hypocrisy inherent in this anger on the part of people who otherwise boast of their indifference to offended sensibilities makes this story funnier yet to me. To sum up: Wanda Sykes is an idiot (though not of the week), and I'm not laughing with her but at her and everyone involved in this farce.