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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sometimes all you can do is laugh...

Interesting item in the International Herald Tribune:
You can tell a lot about a people by knowing what makes them laugh.

But can you tell how they'll vote?

It's hard to know. But there seems general agreement this election year on a few points.

One is that political humor has undergone something of a rebirth, becoming a constant feature of this extraordinarily polarized year, with electoral politics no longer just a matter for quadrennial interest, like Olympic volleyball.

Another is that President George W. Bush and his war on terror, after enjoying a hands-off period following the Sept. 11 attacks, are again in the cross-hairs of comedians and cartoonists (a Mike Smith cartoon shows John Kerry being sworn in as president as Bush looks on, his brow in a U-shaped furrow, thinking, “We should have gone to Code Red”).

And young people appear to be turning for a fair amount of their political “news” to late-night television comedians. These range from the mainstream talk show veterans David Letterman and Jay Leno to the witty and wildly popular Jon Stewart (who takes what one observer called a “Seinfeldian” look at politics), and the pugnacious liberal Bill Maher, whom Time magazine credited with helping give political satire new life.