Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Clockwise from top left: Pat Buchanan assaulted with salad dressing, Bill Kristol
smashed in face with pie (shades of the Zapruder film, anyone?), Ann Coulter
ducks away from pie attack , and Bill Gates gets thoroughly splattered by pie.
JUST A JOKE. That's the pretense anyway. Real life borrows a page from the venerated Book of Slapstick and deals an instantaneous comeuppance to the pampered, the pompous, and the self-satisfied. It's interesting, though, that so many of these incidents are perpetrated against those perceived to be right wing, which suggests there may be a leftist or two involved in the planning and execution. No doubt, their liberal allies are expected to enjoy an only half-guilty smirk at the indignity and overlook any sinister implications. It's a cartoonish act, after all, reminiscent of the harmless mayhem of the Three Stooges and the endless war between the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote. But I thought it was the liberal-minded among us who discovered that cartoon violence is, in some sense, real violence and must be counted up -- pratfall by explosion by headwhack -- in the same list with gunshots on TV detective shows and Jerry Bruckheimer's parade of forensically dramatic corpses. I guess not. In this case it must be okay because the victims somehow deserve it.
With regard to those who do think it's funny, though, I'm curious about a couple of things. Is it part of the fun that the speaker at the podium who detects someone rushing the stage must feel at least a moment's real terror that the assailant is carrying a knife or a gun? Or is that merely a twinge to be papered over with the broad hilariousness of images like these?
Maybe the real message is that we're not supposed to think about it at all but just laugh at this and this and this. Doesn't it make you feel proud to have such a liberal reaction?