Posted by The Happy Tutor
Colbert face to face with Bush before the Washington Press Corps(e). A truly instructive moment. Three - no, four - possibilities:
- Bush laughs and the whole audience laughs with him. The society is cleansed and healed. What a relief! It is not so bad after all. The guy is not an authoritarian jerk. He sees his own weaknesses and can accept his own falibility.
- Bush does not laugh and the brace of newshounds remain silent, lest they lose their Master's favor.
- Bush does not laugh and the newshounds bray with laughter, leaving The Leader looking like a fool.
- Colbert gets flop sweat and falls silent.
Bush went with 2) and his newshounds licked his hand lest they be beaten. Colbert did not back off. Satire is serious fun (serio ludere). The satirist wagers his own skin against that of the Powers that Be. The circle around the two may stand in stricken awe, chant, applaud, laugh, or slow clap, but the ritual moment is dangerous. It is an ancient art, goes back to Dionysus, and is allied to the saving slaughter of the scapegoat. Bush played it wrong. Rigid is broken in this game of fun. When the audience begins to laugh, my suggestion to him is, "Laugh good and hard, lest the laugh turn ugly." Can't take a joke?