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Farewell, Michele!

Michele Bachmann recently told us she was not going to run for re-election in 2014. While some people greeted her announcement with either relief (no more being confused by Minnesota having both legal gay marriage and Bachmann as a representative) or snickers (instead of a press conference, she posted a gauzy, underscored video that bore an eerie resemblance to those short films airplanes use to show you how to buckle a seatbelt). But there were also many people who were distraught that she would be leaving public life, especially since Fox News is denying rumors that she would simply be moving there.

Of course her loyal followers are upset, but probably not nearly as much as comedians. One basic tenet of good comedy is to say outrageous things as though they were perfectly normal. (A great example of this is George Carlin’s segment in The Aristocrats, the cult movie about the world’s dirtiest joke. Carlin’s advice was to deliver off-color content as though one was describing how a carburetor works – the movie is worth watching just for that part!) Ms. Bachmann was a textbook illustration of this principle, maintaining her composure while expounding vehemently, and seriously, about everything from the IRS’s conspiracy to deny Tea Party members any health care, to The Lion King serving as a homosexual recruiting tool (convincing kids that they should be gay because a gay composer wrote the music). And facts be damned – when she was criticized for stating that Lexington & Concord were in New Hampshire, she simply explained that New Hampshire had as much right to be proud of “the shot heard round the world” as the actual location. My personal favorite was her claim that there was a suspicious coincidence in flu surges occurring during Democratic presidencies, like an outbreak under Obama and then the big swine flu epidemic in 1976 (which was under Gerald Ford’s watch, not Jimmy Carter’s, but whatever?). Frankly, at times I wondered if she were some sort of giant humor project, like Stephen Colbert’s brief run for president, and the whole thing would be revealed like Joaquin Phoenix’s odd “performance art” on The David Letterman show.

But now she’s leaving – and while there will still be plenty of loony conspiracy theorists around, none of them will make writing comedy as easy as Ms. Bachmann has, because what she actually said needs no embroidering to be funny. (I discovered the truth of the axiom that real life is funnier than anything I can write when my kids started asking me about the facts of life”¦ when I explained the whole thing to my younger son and asked if he had any questions, he said with great concern, “What if it gets stuck?” I told him that wouldn’t happen, not as long as he was 18 and she was Jewish”¦ Sadly, now that they’re older teenagers with cars, they’re not home enough to provide me with material. But I digress.)

I’d actually planned on doing a song for Ms. Bachmann during the 2012 election, but she dropped out before I got to her, so I’m grabbing this opportunity just in case she vanishes from public life and devotes her life to combating the scourge of gay liberal Disney-movie propaganda”¦

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