More Scorched Than Mirth
I saw the road show of Capitol Steps Friday night, and had a peculiar reaction. Based in DC, they do mostly political parody with wicked lyrics set to familiar songs. Most of what they did Friday I'd heard on their latest CD, though they did have a Sam Alito song (set to "Mona Lisa.") But even when I knew the material, it was pretty funny in performance. Some of it was downright hilarious.
But as it turned out, the release of laughter also released other emotions. I felt like crying. I don't mean laughing until I was in tears. I mean just plain tears.
I got little sense of the righteousness I may have felt when I was younger when political idiots were skewered with effective satire, the kind that just tells the truth. I felt the sadness, the grief, or what San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll called anguish in his Friday piece. The kind you have to hold back with the assault of such appalling news day after day.
And the tragedy keeps unfolding, or maybe the accurate metaphor is metastasizing. Now we learn from Lawrence Wilkerson that when he was in Colin Powell's State Department he followed the paper trail on prisoner abuse back to the vice president's office. Having such suspicions confirmed doesn't inspire feelings of vindication, it just layers on more dismay and shame, and anguish, and grief.
Meanwhile, the Republicant Congress ignores the astounding polls and keeps on the path of their relentless destruction, ramming through legislation that not only despoils the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but enacts deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, other programs for the poor, and cuts student loans, all in the Republicant class war on Americans.
Laughing at dumb old G.W. is a necessary release, but let's face it, when you need a doctor, or a house payment, or a future, or a burial plot for your son or daughter, it's not funny anymore.
While we're on the subject of political comment, why is there more intelligence, eloquence and wisdom in James Spader's lines as a fictional lawyer in Boston Legal trying a fictional case about a National Guardsman forced to remain past his enlistment and is killed in Iraq---or Jimmy Smits as the fictional presidential candidate talking about abortion on The West Wing---than out of anyone's mouth in Washington, or any of the pundits, talking heads, and wise scribes I hear or read?
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