Carol Platt Liebau: Laura Bush's Comedy Routine

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Laura Bush's Comedy Routine

Mrs. Bush made quite a splash with her comments at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday night. Wlady Pleszczynski hated it, characterizing it (to cut to the chase) as crude and unseemly. In contrast, Georgie Ann Geyer loved it -- and thought it was about time for Mrs. Bush's saucy side to emerge.

To me, the whole topic is overblown. President and Mrs. Bush knew that a President Bush-deprecating monologue would bring down the house in the overwhelmingly Democratic/elite media room, and so they played it smart. Who better to deprecate a man than his wife?

Had Mrs. Bush's jokes gone beyond the realm of friendly humor, I wouldn't have liked it. Public performances are no place for marital score-settling. But she didn't. Her jibes were gentle ones, playing into and even mocking stereotypes of Republican women as straight laced generally, and her husband as a dull-living, war-loving dullard in particular.

The New York Times columnist who replaced Bill Safire -- John Tierney -- has a very interesting and nuanced view of the talk. Unlike Mrs. Bush's detractors, he doesn't think it will "turn off" Red Staters -- who are, after all, grown ups who can deal with a little double entendre. In fact, he's quite convinced that Republicans can enjoy a few daring words from the First Lady, while still opposing the anything-but-subtle garbage that pollutes too much of our common culture.

Yes, Virginia, Republicans are capable of handling a little bit of cognitive dissonance.


Blogger Alan Kellogg said...

Back in the 80s Reader's Digest ran a joke about a brave young lass with the punch line, "Her little *." It aint nothin' new.:)

11:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

Here in America's Third World County™, most folks know a thing or two about barnyard humor. The horse-milking joke's old enough that it's probably only new to folks living an a Blue State-dominated society. And the Chppendales riffs? Frankly, I've heard saucier at Baptist Valentines banquets (the only time some Baptist get "outside" humor in their churches... )

The nspeudo-puritanical (the real Puritans were a lusty lot, you know) bluenoses with their panties in a twist over Laura Bush's schtick are just adolescents tittering over someone saying "duty"--because it reminds them aurally of their potty training.

8:30 AM  

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