This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

February 2, 2009

Brown Sugar, Mandingo and Lap Dances

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 7:11 pm

Thomas Jefferson had his Sally Hemings. And former President George W. Bush had his…Condoleezza Rice? Apparently this is so–at least on Broadway and in his dreams:

Will Ferrell’s spoof of former President George Bush may be the hottest ticket in town, but it’s a lap-dancing Condoleezza Rice – and her red panties – that steal the show.

The Broadway play features…a five-minute skit that shows Bush fantasizing about an X-rated relationship with Rice, his secretary of state.

Actress Pia Glenn, channeling a super-sultry Rice, appears on stage out of the mist just as a presidential-looking Ferrell reminisces about his cabinet.

She is clad in a skintight, siren-red business suit and 3-inch heels as she bumps and grinds her way around Bush and the presidential desk…. (Source)

One’s politics might allow one to laugh at this skit–even without having seen it. We have all heard the jokes, seen the political LOLs of the two, know about the famous “my husband” flub. Laugh if you must. But know this: it is only a matter of time before similar “spoofs” appear about President Obama and his Secretary of State.

It surely will be another rich vein of comedic insight: the epic primary battle, the “cougar” and the young Black stud. And as if that were not enough, the randy husband/former President William Jefferson Clinton and a gorgeous, younger Black First Lady.

The spoofs will virtually write themselves.

Of course, we will have to learn how to take political comedy in this new era. That will be a challenge, though it is do-able. The greater concern, however, will be how these political take-offs will have the potential to be a part of the history that is eventually written.

Chances are, if every adult American were polled right now, 95% would agree that Sarah Palin said during her Katie Couric interview that she could see Russia from her house. Yet she did not say this. She said that there are places in her state of Alaska where one could see Russia. But the image of a Palin look-alike winking these other words have supplanted whatever was actually said.

//www.flickr.com/photos/dodidoune/3089752019/

"Cinderella has red shoes and a little black dress." dodidoune, http://www.flickr.com/photos/dodidoune/3089752019/

Tall tales substituted for reality would not be so bad, perhaps. If that were the only thing happening. But in the case of a red bikini clad Secretary of State Rice grinding over President Bush (and all the potential Obamas-Clintons fantasies), the tall tale taking root in the historical record is problematic because of the old fashioned sexist-slash-racist imagery that it keeps warm.

If we have passed our sexist-slash-racist past, then this is surely just plain funny. We can sense the irony, because we are aware of the history, and revel in the cleverness of it all. But if we have not gone beyond this past–if we avoid even thinking about it, let alone talking about it–then we should feel at least a twinge of unease when presented with this brand of comedy.

Not to say that stiletto heals have no place in political humor. Just that such humor will require a lot more thoughtfulness–both in its presentation and critique.

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