Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Humor and the White House

Let's face it, humor is subjective and much of it occurs unintentionally. But the fact that it is subjective is what makes it great. Sometimes a person falling over a strategically placed double-humped camel is just funny. Until the person tripping breaks their femur, that is.

Then there's politics. The political landscape is one sorely lacking in humor. It's really a bunch of folks working about four months each year wearing suits pretending that they can change the world. These are the people that should understand the humor in what they do. Unfortunately, these people often times take themselves far too seriously. "Ooh, look at me, I won a popularity contest despite having a bad haircut and an ill-fitting suit." Get over it, you make mistakes and deserve to be laughed at just like the rest of us.

But, thankfully, politics is a source of unintentional humor. No, I haven't seen any politicians trip over a sleeping double-humped camel but anything's possible, right?

Whatever the case, unintentional political humor is just as subjective as the other forms of humor. That's where my latest scientific analysis comes in.

The level of leadership is rarely in proportion to the level of unintentional humor. Think about George H. W .Bush. Remember the time he vomited on a Japanese leader? That was funny. He wasn't the greatest of leaders but he didn't exactly leave us without any humorous moments to remember.

Then there's his son, George W. Bush. He's been compared to a modern day Woodrow Wilson and that isn't a kind comparison. However, he has left America with a wealth of comedic moments. He stumbled through unscripted speeches, mispronounced words and had a booze-loving daughter and a dog who bit a reporter. Those are things that Ronald Reagan could never had beat had he been in office for six terms.

Oh, hell, just look at this scatter graph and judge for yourself.
The unanswered question, though, is how much unintentional humor will a Barack Obama White House present to us? From early estimates stemming from his two year campaign for the presidency, the humor seems to be at nearly the lowest level possible on this graph while his leadership ability is at least on par with the likes of Reagan and Clinton. He's likable but polished and rarely does someone so polished produce unintentional humor. He can pronounce fancy, multi-syllable words and he can locate Portugal on a map. It's hard to imagine his wife driving her car across someone's lawn so that rules out even spouse-aided comedy. But if that's how it's going to be, at least we have plenty of YouTube footage from the past because videos live on forever.

If charts about presidential humor and leadership bore you to tears or enrage you, then head over to MinnPics which is nothing short of a repository of fabulous photos from across Minnesota and it's updated daily - sometimes more often!


i am playing outside said...

what the hell are late night talk shows gonna do??

MJ said...

I also predict a total snore-fest. Booooring.