It seems to me that one of the best indicators of this nation’s moral decay is the reprehensible nonsense that passes for humor nowadays.
When I was a boy, people didn’t have time for humor. We were too busy wiping the smirk off Hitler’s face to concern ourselves with mindless tittering and idle guffaws. For us, laughter was like shoe laces or smallpox vaccines – nice to have but not a luxury most of us could afford.
And when we did indulge ourselves in some mindless comic diversion we sought out decent, civilized humorists – men who told knock-knock jokes and lamented their wives outrageous spending and disappointing attempts to make pot roast. Men who peppered us with puns and poked fun at the foibles of nagging mothers-in-laws and the dangers of shady foreigners.
Our comics didn’t denigrate our country’s values – they embodied them.
These days though it seems that every flinty reprobate with a dirty mind and a misanthropic axe to grind is parading across the screen of my Magnavox clutching at his genitals, telling off-color jokes and carrying on a like raving fool on a day pass from a home for the criminally profane.
You never heard Bud Abbot calling President Roosevelt a “douchebag” or poking fun at the Lindbergh baby. You never heard Jack Benny talk about smoking amphetamines or “bumpin’ uglies” with the Andrews Sisters. Those men had class – and they understood that if they crossed a line we’d beat them senseless with a sack of righteous indignation faster than you could say Fatty Arbuckle or The First Amendment.
There are no “take my wife” jokes or innocent jabs at those rascally drink-loving Irish anymore. Every degenerate quipster these days has to crack wise about social inequality, political scandal, the female anatomy and every other issue my generation spent years suppressing, denying and working tirelessly to ignore. They’re subversive, they’re crude and they’re undoing our social fabric one HBO special at a time.
If you ask me we’re on a path to damnation – and if we don’t change our comedic stripes soon and return to the simple pleasures of double entendres, amusing pratfalls and adeptly censored one-liners it won’t be long before we get our just desserts and are spending an eternity sitting through an never-ending “open mic night” in the Lenny Bruce Lounge of the Holiday Inn in Hell.Advertisements
Push Don Around:
An Old Man’s Hopes for 2012
Picking up where I left off before Christmas and proving once again that an old man can flog a theme within an inch of its life – some suggestions that would vastly improve our quality of life in 2012.
A Customer Service Renaissance
It used to be that if your television broke down you could call up the CEO of Magnavox directly and 3 days later a man in a smart blazer and jaunty bowtie would show up at your door with a replacement, an apology and a firm handshake.
But those days are long gone. Try to return a defective waffle iron these day and you either end up climbing some damned phone tree or dealing with idiotic counter help who just shrug their shoulders, snap their gum and send you to speak to “Chaz”, the 18-year old store manager with a pierced lip, pained expression and all the decision-making authority of an Edwardian stable boy.
Advances in Cryogenics
But not for the benefit of the elderly. Rather, I’d suggest we flash freeze young people, stuff them away in a meat locker somewhere and refrain from defrosting them until either I’ve died or someone has come up with a cure for dumbassery and sass mouth – whichever comes first.
The Return of Punctuation
I’m the first to admit I don’t always use my colon correctly but at least I make an effort to include punctuation when I write. These damned young people miss more periods than Michelle Duggar for Christ’s sake. Just once I’d like to read a comment from some irate young person that I could understand without use of a crack cocaine decoder ring.
More Choice in Creamed Food
I like the wheat and enjoy the corn but it’s time someone stepped things up a bit and broke out the cream of liver, creamed pork loin and cream of digestive biscuit.
Teen Beat Magazine
I’m not referring to teeny-bopper fodder full of dream date contests, I’m talking about hard-hitting photo-journalism with a focus on miscreant ear-boxing, hide-tanning and good old fashioned tongue-lashings.
Issue one: Joe Jonas gets his ass kicked.
Face facts, most young people can’t name more than 3 of the existing commandments and have broken the remainder before they’re out of training pants.
It would appear that if we’re serious about providing even the most basic moral compass to this generation we’re going to need to toss convention out the window and come up with new, easy to read commandments that come complete with winky faces, misspelled words and which all end in LOL (Laugh out Lord).
Limiting Displays of Public Affection
An old man can’t ride the city bus these days without being confronted by damned young people slobbering all over each other and making every one around them feel like an extra on a low rent pornographic movie set.
Public displays of affection should be limited to married couples and extend no further than the use of inoffensive terms of endearment, subtle elbow squeezing and occasional hand-holding.
It’s high time we brought back good old fashioned jobs like costermongers, spittleman, wheeltappers, pettifoggers, pig jobbers, quarrel pickers and knock knobblers.
American Barbershop Idol
Surely to God we’ve exhausted this nation’s supply of caterwauling nancy boys and are ready to bring some damned decent singing back to the national stage. Four part harmonies plus straw boaters equals toe-tapping, good clean family fun.
And I don’t mean swearing. I mean putting pen to paper. They may be able to text 80 words a minute but ask them write a sentence longhand and it comes out looking like something a chimp would produce with a pointed stick and mitt full of mashed blackberries.
The Power of Positive Gumption
All this new age, positive-thinking hokum smacks me as being the worst kind of bumph since Clark Stanley sold his first bottle of snake oil elixir back in 1893.
Positive thinking as a means to an end is like the American Dream – it’s fine in theory but really only helpful to those with good genes, rich families and access to a decent education. For everyone else – it’s sleight of hand and empty platitudes.
For 2012, instead of folks assuming they can set their life right with little more than a combination of visualizations, affirmations and positive mental brainwaves, I’d like to see people attempting to set reasonable goals and then achieving them through a combination of hard work, determination and the power of positive gumption.