On Saturday night in Sedalia, a Missouri city with a population that would fit into Arrowhead Stadium four times over, the entire nation was shaken when a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask performed his usual routine and became the enemy of the state. Toward the end of Obama’s first term a tornado had torn through Sedalia blowing off roofs and destroying a school bus barn, but that was nothing compared to this.
The governor of Missouri stated that the performance, which involved Obama being chased by a bull, did not “reflect the values of Missourians”. He did not clarify whether the other times that a rodeo clown was chased around by a bull did reflect those values.
The lieutenant governor “implored” the governor to “hold the people responsible for the other night accountable”. The best way to do that may be with a Un-Missourian Activities Committee. Senator McCarthy may have subpoenaed actors, but UMAC’s Obama clowns can subpoena rodeo clowns.
Senator McCaskill called it “shameful.” Congressman William Clay called it, "an ugly face of intolerance". It was unclear whether he was referring to the clown, the man whose face he was wearing or a country where intolerant mockery of intolerable politicians was no longer tolerated.
The Missouri State Fair apologized and banned the unnamed rodeo clown for life and announced that they are reviewing their contract with the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association. Their next contract will hopefully have an ironclad “No Mocking Obama” clause in place to prevent another tragedy from taking place.
The announcer has resigned as president of the Cowboys Association, even though he had yet to be caught smuggling assault rifles to Mexican drug dealers or lying about a terrorist attack on an American diplomatic facility, and may also be forced to resign as Superintendent of the Boonville School District.
The vicious monster claimed that it wasn’t his voice on the tape saying "he's gonna getcha, getcha!" but did concede that he said, "Watch out for that bull, Obama." Several news organizations are currently analyzing the tape, as if it came from a gentleman named Zapruder, to determine the voice behind the rodeo thoughtcrime.
The Kansas City Star described the bull run as “borderline illegal”. “The U.S. Secret Service takes threats against the president seriously,” its editorial said. “While the president himself was in no danger here, it’s the kind of stupid activity that could give nuts ideas about harming the president.”
It’s comforting to learn that Obama experienced no personal danger from the rodeo clown. Even the most creative Hollywood villain would find his imagination stressed to the limit trying to recreate the Missouri State Fair as an assassination plot.
But the Star’s Yael T. Abouhalkah is right to remain vigilant against the threat of someone smuggling an angry bull on board Air Force One during its next jaunt to Martha’s Vineyard or hurling a furious Red Angus from a catapult into the White House.
In a world where Socialist is a racial slur, why can’t bull be an assassination plot?
The NAACP's Missouri chapter was not so easily blinded to the bull threat calling on the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the rodeo clown for inciting violence.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. And sometimes liberty is the price of eternal vigilance against subversive rodeo clowns.
A clown, perhaps the same one, or another of the Spartacean clowns crowding the arena, was heard to say, "I know I'm a clown, he just run around acting like one and doesn't know he is one."
The unknown rodeo clown, like so many court jesters throughout the ages, was expressing the very subversive sentiment that the only difference between the clown and the crown is that the former knows what he is and the latter doesn’t.
In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Olivia tells her steward, “Oh, you are sick of self-love, Malvolio, and taste with a distempered appetite. To be generous, guiltless, and of free disposition is to take those things for bird-bolts that you deem cannon-bullets. There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail.”
Like Malvolio, Obama and his supporters are anything but generous and guiltless. And so they take every bird-bolt as a cannonade. A rodeo clown quickly becomes a national crisis. The pettiest insult to a petty ego must be avenged, punished and transformed into a teachable moment.
There are no “all-licensed fools” allowed anymore, not even at a state fair, a place that no one could imagine Obama paying a visit to (barring an election or an exploitable school shooting) because fools like Obama and Malvolio who do not know that they are fools do not tolerate fools gladly.
A strong ruler kept all-licensed fools who would tell him what he did not wish to hear, but a weak ruler would only keep allowed fools who would mock his rivals and his enemies, but never him.
If you want to see allowed fools capering on stage, tune in to Saturday Night Live where grotesque depictions of Obama’s enemies are the norm, but where, until recently, Obama was played in uncomfortable blackface by Fred Armisen, a white liberal, as a man who is just too good to be mocked.
Fred Armisen's uncomfortable blackface impression of Obama as a man who is too wary to actually say anything or react in any way. Armisen's take on Obama was probably the worst of the show's presidential impersonations since Chevy Chase played Gerald Ford as a man who fell down a lot, but it perfectly captured the liberal discomfort with mocking the One.
Liberal comedians felt much safer mocking their idea of Obama, rather than the man. Like Soviet comics, given a chance to crack a joke about the man at the top, they backpedaled at the last minute to make the joke about their own ridiculousness. And nothing is quite as ridiculous as a comedian who is unable to tell a joke.
Eventually the joke became the absence of jokes. A void. In a comedy circuit where there were no more taboos, where humor existed for shock value and each act tried to top the other, the O zone was the place where hardly anyone would go.
Jay Leno who had already been excommunicated for defying the verdict of cool culture that it was time for him to make way for Conan so that the rest of the country could finally get around to enjoying the awkward self-deprecating humor that was the gold standard in comedy, fished around for laughs in the places where hardly anyone would go.
Where the titans of comedy, the clumsy middle aged men waddling up to the microphone to disgorge their heavily rehearsed stories of bad dates and creepy uncles, their younger counterparts in wire-rimmed glasses playing guitars, did not venture to tread, a lone rodeo clown dived in and got the laughs they weren't willing to. Call him the Jay Leno of the rodeo circuit, like Leno, his act was unoriginal and his timing was poor, but everyone enjoyed the novelty.
In an industry where telling the first 9/11 joke was a badge of honor, low level scabs who took the jokes that truly couldn't be told had to be punished. Previous enemies of comedy had included fairway operators who hung photos of Obama at the Jersey Shore and a Greenwich Village bakery that was driven out of business for making offensive cookies.
There's plenty of room for jokes about rape and the Holocaust, you can even toss in a few of the right racial slurs in your act, as long as you're doing it in good ironic fun, but you can't touch Obama. The calculated outrageousness conceals an inner repression. Behind all the shock value comedy are tame liberals who entertain their audiences with things that those liberal yuppies think will offend Middle America, but that they pride themselves on not being offended by. The truly offensive is out.
What can’t be seen on the stage of Saturday Night Live must go underground to the Missouri State Fair. In every totalitarian country, the jokes that can’t be told are told anyway in secret places, between friends and to rural and working class audiences. The Soviet anecdote was born out of such restrictions.
“Premier Andropov,” one anecdote went, “I heard you collect political anecdotes. How many do you have so far?”
“A whole Gulag,” was the answer. An eagle-eyed Daily Kossack with a camera has added one rodeo clown and one cowboy president to the Obama gulag.
Unlike community organizers, cowboy presidents however are capable of bearing the stings and arrows of rodeo clowns.
Twenty years and a whole other nation ago, a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair not only wore a George H.W. Bush mask, but even swapped out a dummy in the same mask that the bull tore apart on the spot.
The nation did not shudder, the politicians did not call for the clown’s head and there was no secret service investigation of a possible assassination-by-bull plot by a gang of rogue rodeo clowns.
But that was America; a strange and different country. It was not perfect, but rodeo clowns, comedians and your neighbor Bob felt free to mock the President of the United States without worrying that the heavy hand of manufactured outrage would descend on their necks.
The new OSSR, that marvelously enlightened empire of wealth redistribution from the working middle class to the government upper class, that beacon of green energy, transgender rights and drive-through abortions, is far too fragile to survive the sort of mockery that the reactionary running dog leaders of the old US were accustomed to.
The mockability of the presidency reminded everyone that the country was more than the man at the
top. Like the regularly scheduled elections, it told us that we had a place in the system. The system might treat us like interchangeable parts, but it was democratic for all that because it treated the men at the top in the same way.
It is hard to describe that America to a younger generation that has never lived in it and has never known anything other than the liberal morality mobs of the Obama age eager to pounce on some offense of heteronormative white privilege committed against liberal conformity.
Maybe the best way to describe life in the US, before the dawn of the OSSR, is with another Soviet anecdote.
A Moscow cop sees a man poking a hole in the tire of the American ambassador’s car. The vandal puts his mouth on the hole and begins sucking in the escaping air.
“What are you doing?” the cop demands.
Sheepishly the man tells him, “I wanted to breathe the air of freedom.”
Now that even those of us in Sedalia, Missouri are choking on foul Moscow smogs , I wonder whose tires we’ll have to poke through to breathe the air of freedom.