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 (78) Add comment
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Riverman1
90455
Points
Riverman1 08/17/13 - 02:24 am
16
2
Best Thing To Ever Happen To Rodeo Clown

I predict this rodeo performer will be offered many jobs. He will be in demand, gain fame and work all over the country. Americans will not be intimidated by this attack on our freedom of speech and right to make fun of our leaders. A Texas Representative is already trying to arrange an appearance for him.

Rodeo folks are earthy, God fearing people who can laugh at presidents and themselves. Other presidents have been subjected to the same parody at the rodeo. If you really want to see mean spirited mockery look at what Keith Olberman and Bill Maher did with Bush and Cheney constantly. This is a warning to Americans from the liberals as they say, “Don’t trivialize Obama.”

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 08/17/13 - 02:52 am
14
2
Trivialize Obama

He's doing a pretty good job of it by himself.

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 08/17/13 - 03:16 am
13
2
Only self centered people get offended

Good letter and comments. Only self centered people are offended by others. When you live every minute to fool as many people as possible about who you really are you become extremely sensitive to the words and humor of others.

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 08/17/13 - 03:55 am
13
2
The ed said -

“ - Yet, part of assuming power, particularly in this country, is exposing oneself to ridicule and parody.

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.

And not just in this country. Leaders have been pilloried throughout history.

Why not laugh it off as typical presidential lampoonery?”"

Why indeed? I can truly say that I've never laughed harder at a big eared fool, than I have Obama! Ban me Missouri (jellyfish fools)!
Don't get me wrong; I'm all into respecting the office, but the “office” has been defecated on.

Mark my words on this. History will not be kind to this man. At least in the long term. And that is my SNL moment!

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 08/17/13 - 04:11 am
11
2
Best Thing To Ever Happen To Rodeo Clown

I've got a big birthday party coming up for "a friend", the big 50. Wonder how much this clown will cost? Couldn't be more than the clown he was depicting!

Bodhisattva
6835
Points
Bodhisattva 08/17/13 - 04:46 am
3
19
Yep, Rep. Steve Stockman is

Yep, Rep. Steve Stockman is buddying up with the clown. The same guy who invited Ted Nugent to the State of the Union. Would the Chronicle please clarify when a Democrat Congressman has invited someone who has made the following comments about the President, "words that would get me banned" "Suck on my machine gun." or (please Google the rest so I don't get banned) made other threats against the President. Look at the real hate and vitriol directed at this President by the Tea Party in their signs and language and on here, and the almost daily editorial attacking Obama. If he says up, he should have said down and vice versa. It's attacking simply for the sake of attacking. Even the nonsense of the birth certificate that the Chronicle had to jump in on the side of the kooks. No President in our lifetimes has had to go through this much. The hate and hypocrisy of the right wing press, media, and so called religious right pounces and pounces hard. It's unrelenting and has the big money behind it as well as all of the not grounded in reality crowd who will fall for every piece of (fill in blank) story the nutcase right media regurgitates onto the web. "The President spends $100 billion a day on his 367th day of vacation this year." The right wing kooks fall for it every time.

jkline
527
Points
jkline 08/17/13 - 04:38 am
5
2
Well Said.

Well said, and good use of historical context.

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 08/17/13 - 04:56 am
6
3
Typical Freedom of Speech....

I see this as a typical Freedom of Speech person with no respect for anyone. Actually, this clown's actions answers a question from another AC letter regarding why America is losing it's influence/status in the world. You don't have to wonder why when you see this kind of nonsense. Is this the best the greatest country in the world has to offer for others to follow? God I hope not.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 08/17/13 - 04:57 am
17
3
Proof at last...

"With Mr. Obama being the first president of African ancestry, such shenanigans are an infinitely more sensitive issue."

THE MAN IS INDEED A RACIST!

I believe that the NAACP should be outlawed for fueling racism in this country.

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 08/17/13 - 05:31 am
13
2
Bodhisattva

""words that would get me banned" "Suck on my machine gun." or (please Google the rest so I don't get banned) made other threats against the President. Look at the real hate and vitriol directed at this President by the Tea Party in their signs and language and on here, and the almost daily editorial attacking Obama."

First of all, please learn the difference in "threats" and OBVIOUS JEST, before we end up putting people in prison for joking around or making fun of someone!!!

"No President in our lifetimes has had to go through this much."

Are you serious with this? Honestly? Please tell me which ACTUAL congressman or woman, has literally called Obama a "murderer"? They did with Bush!!

http://whitehouser.com/politics/pete-stark-president-bush-iraq-lies/

The TV show (Game of Thrones) placed Bush's head on a stake!! SNL preformed MANY skits of Bush murdering people, just mowing them down with a machine gun!! Blood flying everywhere!! They also did one with Jesus doing the same thing.

""No President in our lifetimes has had to go through this much."

To actually believe this, one has to be delusional!!

carcraft
27857
Points
carcraft 08/17/13 - 05:43 am
13
2
Yes, return from a $100

Yes, return from a $100 million dollar trip to Africa then head out to Martha's Vineyard for a vacation, OH the Horror...Poor suffering Obama..my goodness how can he deal with the stress, I know we will focus on jobs , for the nineteenth time!!!

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 08/17/13 - 05:46 am
11
2
King?

The bottom line is; we elect a PRESIDENT, not a King!! We elect the President from the population of CITIZENS!!! ANY citizen can be President, if they get the votes. Can we make fun of a citizen? Of course!! Then why is a President any different, because he IS a citizen, not royalty!! I didn't get all upset when "Game of Thrones" put Bush's head on a stake!! Why the outrage here?

I believe the clown said something to the effect of "At least I know I'm a clown, this guy is serious."

So, what CRIME or THREATS should the secret service being investigating? This whole thing is absurd!! Makes me wonder what's is going on in Washington!! When a story like this is making MAJOR news, and getting ALL this attention, usually the royalty in Washington is passing some bill they don't want you to know about. Deflecting attention away from Washington!! These people manipulate the masses in this manor; and NO, it didn't start with Obama!! This has been a trick of politicians since the invention of TV!! TV manipulates the masses more than anyone cares to understand!!

They heard the massses like SHEEP!!! When the media is in their pocket, it's actually pretty easy!! If they (media) go with a story like this and make a big deal of it; the sheep go right along with it!! I actually wouldn't be surprised if this was a PLANNED event!! I also wouldn't be surprise if it wasn't!!

We NEED to stop being SHEEP!!!

deestafford
30379
Points
deestafford 08/17/13 - 05:54 am
12
3
The left is acting just as the muslims did when someone drew

a cartoon of Mohammed....a god had been insulted.

obama IS NOT A GOD OR DEMI-GOD!!!! He is the president of the US and should not be treated any differently from that of any previous president just because he is black. What about all this horse squeeze he spouts when he talks about "equity" and "fairness"?

When George W. Bush was president a dummy with a Bush mask on was thrown to the ground and destroyed at a rodeo in NJ. There was no out cry then. obama and the people around him are jerks when it comes to class. Many of his followers are blinded by his skin color and look upon him as a messiah who should not be made fun of.

KSL
140232
Points
KSL 08/17/13 - 06:11 am
8
4
I am still waiting

For the answer to my question: Why does the First Dog so often have to fly separately from the First Royalty? Granted, I do not agree with the people who made it sound like the dog was flying alone. Actually he was flying with a whole lot of press support, etc.

But I still don't understand why the dog is not allowed to fly with Obama. Maybe he growls at Obama.

KSL
140232
Points
KSL 08/17/13 - 06:27 am
10
4
Or maybe

After the big todoo about getting the girls their first dog, someone is allergic. We will never know since this is the most secretive president in history, or should I have said, seditious?

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 08/17/13 - 06:48 am
9
2
It's always been one of

It's always been one of Americas best and most unique pastimes - making fun of our leaders. Heck, several have "played along". I can recall many "leaders" playing along and making appearances on SNL knowing full well they'd be lampooned unmercifully.

Our current leaders seem to be somewhat thin-skinned. Not a good quality in a leader if you ask me.

david jennings
624
Points
david jennings 08/17/13 - 07:10 am
1
7
I must be intelligent

Thanks to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe I just found out I may be smarter than I knew, because I sure think most of the issues I'm made aware of by reading the news are ridiculous. See top of op/ed page.

Rhetor
1037
Points
Rhetor 08/17/13 - 07:22 am
3
9
really?

Isn't it time for conservatives to do a better job of policing their own behavior? Have a great day.

seenitB4
93610
Points
seenitB4 08/17/13 - 07:39 am
8
2
How soon we forget

Do yall remember all the funny spots on SNL of Sarah Palin..omg..I did laugh a lot at that time because they were so funny.....she made light of it & actually went on the show..best way to handle that.

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 08/17/13 - 07:51 am
2
6
In the Wrong Hands

Freedom of Speech just like the Right to Bear Arms in the wrong hands and used for the wrong reasons is a bad thing.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 08:00 am
2
3
Quote from editorial

"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."

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 ??

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 08/17/13 - 08:02 am
7
4
" To actually believe this,
Unpublished

" To actually believe this, one has to be delusional!!"
myfather, as Herman Cain said the left-wing and black leaders have done a great job "brainwashing" many black people.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 08:04 am
1
5
RunningMan @ 8:51

"Freedom of Speech just like the Right to Bear Arms in the wrong hands and used for the wrong reasons is a bad thing."

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

nocnoc
47192
Points
nocnoc 08/17/13 - 08:08 am
4
3
Clown Masks as Political Satire

The N2A-S-CP (S=Socialist) as has become the long running joke now.

The N2ACP is no longer the once great organization it was with a clear focus on EQUAL Civil Rights of the 50's and 60's.

It has gradually been taken over by bitter people with an hate agenda and thus has been CO-OPTED.

As the Black and White communities mix more and more each generation, such Organizations, like the Radicalized N2ACP, are having to create or find isolated racial issues to justify their fading need for existence.

It is by this radicalization process that many Once Good Organizations succumb, as the more militant members gain control for personal, historical, ancient vendetta and/or Self fame and $$$ desired motives.

Do a Google search on Political Satire masks you'll see BUSH, Clinton, Hillary, Jimmy, Nixon and many others in use.

The US Supreme Court Ruled these masks a Political Satire, A FREE SPEAK ISSUE, over 40 years ago.

Less y'all for get the high profile case of a Guy arrested for wearing a Nixon Political Mask in Downtown Portland OREGON back in the 70's,
or the Anti-$$$ protesters at the G5.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 08:10 am
2
3
Quote from editorial

"and Mr. Obama’s fate has been little different (though arguably, his treatment has likely been better than his predecessors’)."

So Obama's race automatically keeps the jokesters and nay-sayers to be on their BEST behavior !

itsanotherday1
46881
Points
itsanotherday1 08/17/13 - 08:11 am
6
2
Amen brother

"When a story like this is making MAJOR news, and getting ALL this attention,"

If it wasn't Obama, we wouldn't even be discussing this.

Where was the outrage when a Bush dummy was used in a rodeo?

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/08/flashback-liberals-were-silent-w...

ymnbde
10381
Points
ymnbde 08/17/13 - 08:21 am
9
2
a no talent "mask" clown!

the mask does not the clown make
it isn't just the wearer of the mask
it's the clerk at the store that sold the mask
it's the manager at the company that decided to make the mask
it's the artist that designed the mask
it's the machinist that made the mold for the mask
it's the press operator that ran the machine that molded the mask
it's the forklift driver that loaded the masks on the truck
it's the truckdriver that delivered mass masks
it's the center that distributed the masks
why, that poor clown was a victim, yes, a victim
of a vast clown mask conspiracy!
and they all chanted, though some hummed as they held their idols
"the likeness of Obama shall not be infringed"

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 08:26 am
2
6
African Americans

IF THE ARICAN AMERICAN community is more protective of each other and outraged by antics and mistreatment, considering everything they have been through in this country's history, is there very good reasons for African Americans to be much more on guard about these things !

Jon Lester
2438
Points
Jon Lester 08/17/13 - 08:53 am
4
3
You should have been with me for the Halloween parade

in lower Manhattan in 1999. Half the people in it were wearing Giuliani masks, as they had in years past, yet there was never any outrage from the Italian-American community, let alone any straight-faced call for government action to punish anyone. Why is this rodeo clown guy any different? It's not like anyone's shocked to find a preponderance of conservative people in an average rodeo audience.

Minor correction: with(out) apology to some of the creationists in the commentariat, every human being alive is "of African ancestry."

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 08/17/13 - 08:54 am
3
2
Out with Obama ?

I feel as though, like Obama, I too have been outed by the MAJORITY of you commenters ! Perhaps I deserve this, so if you'll will spell out the rules for me, I would greatly appreciate it ! For me, being able to comment AND interact with you'll gives me something to look forward to !

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