Hysterical vs. historical

Rodeo clown's tasteless antics test our commitment to freedom

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There was quite a stampede of critics when a rodeo clown in Missouri recently wore a President Obama mask.

The herd is still on the move, too: The state’s NAACP wants the fellow, who’s already been banned for life by the Missouri State Fair, investigated by the federal government. For what, it’s unclear. The fair was also reportedly considering action against the state’s Rodeo Cowboy Association.

Having a rodeo clown wear a mask of the president was not the best idea. It’s one thing for a spectator to don one, but it takes on more overtly political tones when a performer does it. And it gives an air of institutional backing.

And let’s be honest: If they’d done the same thing with President George W. Bush – and some folks did a lot worse than that – the outcry would have been miniscule. This is different. With Mr. Obama being the first president of African ancestry, such shenanigans are an infinitely more sensitive issue.

Yet, part of assuming power, particularly in this country, is exposing oneself to ridicule and parody. Since the 1970s, every president has been skewered unmercifully on such television programs as Saturday Night Live. It’s a beloved national tradition, and Mr. Obama’s fate has been little different (though arguably, his treatment has likely been better than his predecessors’).

When it comes to mocking our presidents, this certainly isn’t the country’s first rodeo. Editorial cartoonists took aim at our earliest leaders, and have never stopped. They openly made fun of allegations that Grover Cleveland had an illegitimate child. The list of satire’s stooges is long and storied.

And not just in this country. Leaders have been pilloried throughout history. Despite a post-revolution air of freedom, 19th-century French artist and satirist Honoré Daumier was actually put in prison and confined in an asylum for his work, particularly his pointed caricatures of the king.

It would seem that in 21st-century America, some would consign the politically incorrect to the same fate. Long live the king.

The soft, sophisticated equivalent of the bastille, of course, is societal shunning and the ever-present “sensitivity training” – which, notably, the Missouri State Fair has announced will now be required of all rodeo clowns and even cowboys going forward. Notwithstanding the fact that, were cowboys all that sensitive, there would be no rodeo to begin with. As for clowns, they no doubt will be infinitely less entertaining while performing on eggshells.

Sensitivity training has already been taken to the absurd: A teacher in Portland, Maine, recently suggested to students that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be offensive to people of other cultures.

If we are dismayed by all this, we’re likewise disappointed in the White House’s response to the infamous rodeo incident – Mr. Obama’s spokesman observing unhelpfully that, “It was certainly not one of the finer moments” for Missouri.

Granted. But how about some leadership? How about some above-it-all magnanimity? Why not laugh it off as typical presidential lampoonery? Why not take the high road, deserved or not, and dismiss race as a factor in the incident? The president could have taken the opportunity to extinguish a totally unnecessary, trivial and likely bogus racial fire. Instead, the White House has let it burn on.

The result: Some are encouraged to want to lop off a head or two.

We don’t endorse being disrespectful toward this or any other president.

But neither do we want it outlawed.

Comments (79) Add comment
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seenitB4
80934
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seenitB4 08/17/13 - 10:02 am
3
2
The rules

Don't pester
Don't lie
Don't fudge
Don't cuss
In other words..do as we say do & you will be ok..:):)
yea..I'm laughing.

Young Fred
15723
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 10:06 am
3
4
t3

Are you suggesting certain races have egos incapable of taking a joke? Are you suggesting our president can't handle a joke? That must make you feel warm and comfy knowing his finger hovers over "the button". I sure hope Giorgio Napolitano doesn't make a crack about Obama's goofy ears or something. Good Italian wine and prosciutto may become scarce!

allhans
23178
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allhans 08/17/13 - 10:09 am
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I probably would have laughed

I probably would have laughed if I had been there, seeing a stick broom serve as the horse he was riding (we did that as children, didn't we?).

I think the liberals only approve of gallows humor..this was just too tame for them.

Young Fred
15723
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 10:10 am
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t3 you haven't "been outed"

t3 you haven't "been outed" you yourself have been outing.

Young Fred
15723
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 10:12 am
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allhans

I think the broom may have put them over the edge. What with the negative connotations and all.

localguy55
5477
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localguy55 08/17/13 - 10:12 am
4
1
Great posts

God I love these comments. Everything from sensible retort to unintelligible nonsense. Keep it up guys and girls. Best reading in the morning. . .

myfather15
49167
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myfather15 08/17/13 - 10:23 am
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2
T3bledsoe

"Isn't this sort of racism in reverse ? I mean, clearly this paragraph seems to be saying if the president was caucacian then there would be very little said about it, BUT the fact that Obama is African American, automatically means that a much bigger deal will be made of it ??"

No, it's not reverse racism; it's called TRUTH!!

myfather15
49167
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myfather15 08/17/13 - 10:23 am
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t3bledsoe

"This is A GREAT STATEMENT where the 1st ans 2nd Amendments are concerned !"

And what you do with these amendments? Do away with them?

Fiat_Lux
14786
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Fiat_Lux 08/17/13 - 10:49 am
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@t3bledsoe, 9 and 9:10am, et al...

It's not his race that makes people careful to "be on their BEST behavior". It's the fact that his toadies and mindless groupies always DO make such a huge, hysterical deal out of anything to do with Obummer that isn't simpering adulation.

Who wants to deal with that kind of knee-jerk, mindless and totally personal nuclear attack to destroy a private citizen, by people who are completely ignorant about that person and their motives?

It's called repression, and there's probably never been anything quite like it in America since this nation was created, even including the War of Northern Aggression era. Maybe the McCathy era had some of its features, but toward a more focused target and on a much smaller scale. We really are turning into the very thing so many Americans have died to try and save the rest of the world from.

With the encompassing loss of privacy that is racing toward us with the Unaffordable Healthcare Quack, the fear of saying anything deemed "condemnable" is only going to get deeper and more institutionalized. Think about what that would mean for us, for our willingness to take risks to bring change and come up with new and better ideas, for being creative. Even cooperation and group endeavors, the key to some of our biggest advances, would grind to a halt. Who could be trusted when everything we say and do is monitored for the slightest hint of a "threat" or even some "intent"?

Read Peggy Noonan's latest op-ed piece for a far better preview.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732363970457901510185776092...

nofanofobama
6726
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nofanofobama 08/17/13 - 10:45 am
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This is the silliest and most

This is the silliest and most wasteful exercise we have ever had. The white African American president is a public official..period.. All open to parody, ridicule and worse. My gosh we are debating a clown, associated with rodeos and public parody for ions , funning everyone. We , all Americans need to get a life. Heavens sake we got an administration that ignoring laws, creating new laws and new taxes in an unlawful shameful pattern that has turn the constitution on its head. The battle is elsewhere its a leftist ploy to take our eyes of the ball as they make the country in their own image by destroying all that is constitutional by a phony ploy.

Fiat_Lux
14786
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Fiat_Lux 08/17/13 - 11:03 am
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I agree, Nofanofobummer, however,

it's important to recognize that this little insignificant drama is designed to instill fear in Americans so that these shameless traitors can run right over us. It is important not to lose sight of what the strategy is, and it is essential not to give ground on any front.

Don't give an inch on anything. It's our way of life, our ability to live in peace, worship and recreate in peace and without intrusion of government into our private lives, that we are fighting for.

It's bigger than a match now, but it's not the conflagration of a forest fire. Not yet.

Young Fred
15723
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Young Fred 08/17/13 - 11:08 am
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I hear you Nofan, but I have

I hear you Nofan, but I have to point out - The most repressive regimes in the world are known for prosecuting those who make fun of or belittle the leadership. This is one of those frog in the boiling water moments.

grouse
1635
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grouse 08/17/13 - 11:30 am
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What the Chronicle doesn't
Unpublished

What the Chronicle doesn't "get" is that unlike Saturday Night Live or Colbert or any other comedy/political satire show, the venue for this was totally inappropriate.

myfather15
49167
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myfather15 08/17/13 - 11:32 am
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2
agree with nofan and Fred!!

In communism, fascism and socialism; you do NOT belittle the king in any way shape or form!!! The NAACP calling for the secret service to investigate this "CLOWN" situation; is absolutely PROOF they believe Obama to be ABOVE everyone else!! They believe His Highness, is above ridicule!! Those on the left should separate themselves from these people!! Their agenda is NOT the same agenda as "regular" democrats!! They are just using them!

myfather15
49167
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myfather15 08/17/13 - 11:36 am
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1
nofanofobama

" My gosh we are debating a clown, associated with rodeos and public parody for ions , funning everyone. We , all Americans need to get a life. Heavens sake we got an administration that ignoring laws, creating new laws and new taxes in an unlawful shameful pattern that has turn the constitution on its head."

On a serious note; it's it amazing how all this VERY important stuff is going on, but we are talking about a clown!!! This makes me nervous, I'm telling you!! There are to many distracting news stories going on right now; taking the Sheep's attention away!!

carcraft
24035
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carcraft 08/17/13 - 11:48 am
3
3
If I was the clown I would

If I was the clown I would sue for violation of rights . Last I checked we still have freedom of speech. You have no right from offense. My right to freedom of speech trumps your feelings! Sorry about that bot that's just the way. It is!

nofanofobama
6726
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nofanofobama 08/17/13 - 11:55 am
5
2
I agree it's a symptom of the

I agree it's a symptom of the greater danger, as I tried to say don't be distracted from the real issues..saving our country..agree no longer give an inch..no more compromise etc,, unless it to our end of saving this country for our kids and grandchildren.. Call stupid stupid , and say why and go on to the important issues..it's a war we cannot lose!!!

freeradical
1042
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freeradical 08/17/13 - 12:12 pm
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2
Clown's " Typical White " ( Obama ) Grandmother

Does this clown have a "Typical White " ( Obama 2008 ) ,

grandmother as well ?

And how does she feel about being thrown under the race bus ?

rmwhitley
5526
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rmwhitley 08/17/13 - 12:26 pm
0
0
blacks are only sensitive
Unpublished

to comments made by the "white cracker". They are are still the most illiterate, ill informed society in America. They take no offense at all about being least educated, most handout driven, criminally inclined, bigoted, morally bankrupt and shameless ( unless it is brought up by charlie "the weasel" rangel in reference to his "white crackers"). Get off of your sorry derrieres and make something of yourselves other than whining, sniveling, woe is me crybabys.

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 12:36 pm
1
1
Drinking makes it better

I want to thank you'll for your comments toward me !! NOW that I feel comfortable that I haven't lost everyones' communication AND a little Saturday wine AND whine, I think I will lay low for the rest of this day !!

Thanks again !!

KSL
120768
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KSL 08/17/13 - 12:43 pm
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4
Good

Great. I cannot believe I have bothered to discuss anything with you, bledsoe.

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 12:52 pm
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KSL @ 12:43

"Great. I cannot believe I have bothered to discuss anything with you, bledsoe."

Does this comment mean that you are still going to lobby to get HA from debating me any more !! You may-as-well just ban me from this comments board for ever !! Do you REALLY want that ?? ( LOL )

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 12:54 pm
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KSL

Have you been to CobaltGeorge's shooting gallory lately ??

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 01:22 pm
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2
Saturday ??

I guess everyone, BUT ME, has something better to do today. WHERE IS HA when I need someone to debate with ??!!

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 01:26 pm
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2
North Augusta's Project Jackson

Is there not anyone that lives in Aiken County with an opinion about North Augusta's Project Jackson ??

CobaltGeorge
149696
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CobaltGeorge 08/17/13 - 01:41 pm
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3
nocnoc
38184
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nocnoc 08/17/13 - 02:15 pm
3
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The Growing Double-Standard of equal treatment

So which is it:

1.) Treat the all communities equally like each other?

2.) Treat everyone equal, but make special allowances in some cases? As one community sees as need.

3.)We'll make it up as we go.

validPoint
982
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validPoint 08/17/13 - 02:15 pm
4
1
Like It, Or Not

The behaviors we give respect to are the behaviors we attract one way or the other. Directions and times from which they spring are without definition, or respect of persons.

This thought is based on the simple law of sowing and reaping. It works in the life of a country, or an individual, and cannot be denied.

All Rights Reserved ValidPoint 2013

dichotomy
30352
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dichotomy 08/17/13 - 03:15 pm
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2
Heh heh heh, a clown in an

Heh heh heh, a clown in an Obama mask.....so what. Didn't bother anyone when it, and a lot worse, happened to Bush.

Black folk need to get over themselves. They ain't all that.....especially Obama. There is NOT.....at least so far.....any federal law that says you cannot ridicule and make fun of a black person or a black president. When half of the country vehemently disagrees with your policies and they way you completely disregard the Constitution and even the laws they you yourself signed....believe me....somebody is going point out that your are an inept clown.

t3bledsoe
14212
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t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 03:31 pm
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4
dichotomy @ 3:15

"Black folk need to get over themselves. They ain't all that.....especially Obama. There is NOT.....at least so far.....any federal law that says you cannot ridicule and make fun of a black person or a black president."

I CAN NOT get over how conservatives don't seem to be able to acknowledge the past, and to a certain extent, present day how the African American community is treated very differently than the caucasion community !

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