April 30th, 2012

Humor and presidents and aging and…

Now that the White House Correspondents’ Dinner has passed, this might be the best time to state that this stuff is undignified and bothers me whoever does it, Democrat or Republican. I’m all for presidential humor, but it used to be a class act. Whatever JFK did in his private life, his jokes were actually funny, and very very tasteful. Same for FDR.

But I suppose that only marks me even further as the old fuddy-dud I have become.

And speaking of age (we were speaking of age, weren’t we?), John Hawkins has a post on what it’s like to turn forty.

I’ve got a reflection on what it’s like to turn—well, whatever it is I’m about to turn: you don’t remember what it’s like to turn forty.

Although, actually, it’s not too dissimilar from turning forty as Hawkins describes that process:

At 40, you actually start to see the trajectory of your life from the present day, all the way to the grave and you start asking yourself some hard questions. Did I pick the right career? Do I want to stay on the same path from now until I die? Am I ever going to fulfill those childhood dreams? What legacy am I going to leave to the world when I’m gone? Am I missing out on anything?…You start to realize that health is a finite resource. So is opportunity. So is energy. So is time.

Except now it’s getting serious.

34 Responses to “Humor and presidents and aging and…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Well, to me at least you do not strike me at all as fuddy or duddy or old. So there.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    At least not as far as this online persona is involved. Who knows what lurks behind the apple.

  3. Mac Says:

    Answers to Hawkins’s questions: No. No, but you probably will. No. Not much. Yes, get over it.


  4. Artfldgr Says:

    a better thing woudl remember that today was the fall of saigon…

    and that the next few years would be years that over 4 million people would be murdered by conflicts and actionst that came after.

    from millions in vietnam… to another 2 million in cambodia…

    its a liberal anniversary… and the start of a new term in our vocabulary

    Boat people is a term that usually refers to refugees, illegal immigrants, or asylum seekers who emigrate in numbers in boats that are sometimes old and crudely made. The term came into common use during the late 1970s with the mass departure of Vietnamese refugees from Communist-controlled Vietnam, following the Vietnam War.

    After the Vietnam War, many people in Cambodia, Laos, and especially Vietnam became refugees in the late 1970s and 1980s, after the fall of Saigon. In Vietnam, the new communist government sent many people who supported the old government in the South to “re-education camps”, and others to “new economic zones.” An estimated 1 million people were imprisoned with no formal charges or trials.[1] According to published academic studies in the United States and Europe, 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s re-education camps.[1] Thousands were tortured or abused. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years.[1] These factors, coupled with poverty and the total destruction of Vietnam, which happened during the Vietnam war, caused hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee. In 1979, Vietnam was again at war (Sino-Vietnamese War) with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Many ethnic Chinese living in Vietnam, who felt that the government’s policies directly targeted them, also became “boat people.” On the open seas, the boat people had to face deadly storms,diseases, starvation, and elude pirates.

    There were untold miseries, rapes and murders on the South China Sea committed by Thai pirates who preyed on the refugees who had sold all their possessions and carried gold with them on the trips.

    Camps were set up in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. According to stories told by the Vietnamese refugees, the conditions at the camps were poor. Women and children were often raped and beaten. Very little of the aid money donated primarily by the United States actually got to the refugees. Refugees at Thai camps were maltreated and many were brutally bullied by the Thai guards. Some 77% of refugee boats leaving in 1981 were attacked by Thais.[5] 863 Vietnamese were known to be raped, 763 people physically attacked and killed, and 489 people abducted.

    Most of the refugees came from the former South Vietnam. However, soon after the first wave between 1975–1978, North Vietnamese from seaside cities such as Haiphong started to escape and land in Hong Kong.

    stalins men raped jewishwomen in the nazi camps… so the ending of schindlers list was not the real ending… next time you see it, remember the thing they are still slient about.

    The countries that accepted most of the Indochinese refugees were:

    The United States – 823,000
    Australia and Canada – 137,000 each
    France – 96,000
    Germany – 40,000
    The United Kingdom – 19,000
    Japan – 11,000

  5. Tesh Says:

    Far too much humor is really just vitriol cloaked in winks and clown noses. I’ve been tired of it for more than 20 years, and I’m only 36. It’s part of why I don’t watch much TV any more. (I only watch occasional shows on my computer, and usually I find something to regret anyway.)

    Give me gentle, uplifting humor any day. Not just because it’s more befitting social discourse, but because it’s better for the soul. (Maybe the same thing.)

  6. George Pal Says:

    You don’t do Mort Sahl shtick with an A-list audience that includes Kim Kardashian, Lindsey Lohan, and Sofia Vergara.

  7. Commenter formerly know as roc scssrs Says:

    I’m with you, Tesh. The older I get, the less sarcastic I get. In the long run, square always beats cool.

  8. Jim Nicholas Says:

    Answers to Hawkins’s questions at 80+:

    It was the right career, but many others would also have been right.

    Yes, same path–same answer as I would have given at 20, 40, 60.

    Even at 20 I realized I had to make choices, that I had too many dreams to fulfill them all. But I have fulfilled some.

    Legacy? I have no idea. I’ll leave that to others to judge.

    Missing out on things? Of course. There is simply no time to do everything and some things are incompatible with other things.

    He is right. From the beginning of life there are limits to time, energy, opportunity, and even health. But, as Goethe said, ‘The master is first revealed when he works within limits’.

    Perhaps a key to answering those questions at any age is accepting Goethe’s wisdom and recognizing and accepting the limits we all have.

  9. A.Men Says:

    Clown President-In-Name-Only is crass, arrogant and not funny. Gross bathroom toilet flushes are for adolescent boys and it is still yuk! Can’t wait till this chicago thug, barry soetolo hussein obama is thrown out of the White House on his skinny half black a__!

  10. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Except now it’s getting serious.

    Yeah, like what I want to be when I grow up.

  11. Libby Says:

    I agree, that this has become about as tired and insincere as those Hollywood love-fest award shows, where they all pretend to humble artists and that it is very serious business.

    The most memorable WHCD for me was when Laura Bush spoke instead of George, and she gently mocked him and his administration (with her lovely voice and killer delivery), using all of the cliche jokes about W (he’s dumb, he goes to bed early), etc. She managed to make the audience laugh (because these were the jokes they’d been making about W), as well as mock them for doing so for the last 6yrs.
    Even Cedric the Entertainer admitted he had been upstaged by Laura.

  12. Holmes Says:

    I think in the last 15 years I’ve seen the notion that everything is a joke really take over. It’s embodied in Bill Maher and Jon Stewart- nothing is sacred or important. Laughing at life all the way to the unimportant end, I guess. It really masks an insecurity or fear in the people who view life this way. I’m not totally sure what I’m trying to say. But there’s something there.

  13. Ozyripus Says:

    Jim Nicholas Says it just about perfectly for me. Except I haven’t read Goethe, or, come to think of it, Pascal. But I did have a midwestern farmer-salesman grandfather who told story after story, all of which spoke to our condition, humorously. Many of neo-neocon’s reminiscences have a like quality, though the provenances couldn’t be more different!

  14. Parker Says:

    I’m 64 and remember blowing out all those candles on my 40th. My wife asked me what I wished for and I replied I wanted to be as physically fit at 50 as I feel today. When 50 rolled around I felt I had as much energy and the same physical abilities as at 40. At 60 I could not say the same. Time waits for no one. The body can not keep up the pace. But I’m ever curious, life is never boring, and I want to live long enough to hold a great grandchild in my arms.

    Who could ask for more? http://tinyurl.com/7tepram

  15. SteveH Says:

    Aging isn’t so bad.

    And to quote the infamous Les Brown..”I ain’t who i wanna be and i ain’t who i’m gonna be. But thank God i’m not who i was”.

  16. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    At 40 I was too busy to contemplate anything except how to balance two jobs, remodeling our house, skiing and climbing mountains.

    All of Hawkins questions did not occur to me until I was retired, but even then many activities kept me from looking too deeply at such. Today, 19 years into retirement, the answers are pretty much known.

    “Did I pick the right career?” Yep!
    “Do I want to stay on the same path from now until I die?” Is there a choice?
    “Am I ever going to fulfill those childhood dreams?” Nope!
    “What legacy am I going to leave to the world when I’m gone?” Legacy, legacy, what’s that?
    “Am I missing out on anything?” Oh yeah!
    “You start to realize that health is a finite resource.” Duh?
    “So is opportunity.” I bumped into opportunity many times, politely excused myself and walked the other way.
    “So is energy.” Drill, drill, drill! Oh you mean human energy. Sorry, can’t help.
    “So is time.” Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think!

    Asking those questions at 40 may well set one up for male menopause or a mid-life crisis. Better to keep moving – something might be gaining on you.

  17. Doom Says:

    In some ways, I was way ahead of the ’40 club’. Dying a couple of times in my 20′s… zeroed things in. I didn’t have the… wisdom, say… to deal with it. But I knew, in a hard/solid way, that life and all was quite finite. So I won’t go through the rough stages of wonder and doubt, again. I simply get to finally enjoy whatever is left of life for me to see. I ‘dun graduated. Oh… there are regrets, some hopes, but… in perspective. I am surprised, nearly every day, when I wake up… that I woke up. Sometimes, often, even if I have to push the thought a bit… I am pleased about it, too. Here is a little ditty that puts it as I see it. Hellsyeah.

    I hope you get over your… worries, concerns… baggage… and find yourself to where you can just enjoy the length of the ride that is left to you. It’s… not all bad. *smiles*

  18. Curtis Says:

    Ten top reasons why the humour is not humour:

    10: There’s no clean end on the turd.
    9. We’re all having fun with European money.
    8. Did you hear the the one about the Jew making tea? Hebrew it.
    7. My best friend works. Get it.
    6. Sky rocket in flight! Shit, did you light that at me.
    5. If Iran oil runs out, their meth won’t. Love ya bitch.

  19. Curtis Says:

    Finish up

  20. NeoConScum Says:

    Classy guests..Kim K…Lindsey…Joe BiteMe…Oy.
    Bottom line is that The Boy King is tin eared & absolutely humorless. He neither ‘gets’ the joke nor can he tell the joke. Sad and says plenty.

    40′s were great…50′s, same as 40s…60s..Whew, NOT the same. I enjoy–thank God–excellent physical health but, trust me, the 60s ain’t the ‘yootful 50s. However, as my 93-year old Aunt Lena writes in her monthly letters to us:”Aw, Kids, just to be 80 again.” Perspective is good.

  21. Curtis Says:

    3. She ran calling Occupier
    2. Jamex Caulfield, Infrared systems analyist
    1. x-ray star under your car, phone, child.

  22. Promethea Says:

    Our culture has descended into childishness.

  23. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    I dunno, I’d suspect that a hockey mom, fresh after a bath, probably can taste delicious, too, and is one hell of a lot more fun than a pit bull after a nibble.

  24. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    And, in case the exact nature of that joke was in any sense unclear:
    I believe that all hockey moms should beware of cunning linguists.

    Actually, I believe ALL women should beware of them, but hockey moms in particular.

  25. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    >> Our culture has descended into childishness.

    I forget which movie it was, IIRC, it’s Gerrit Graham, probably “Phantom of the Paradise”, in which he maniacally intones,

    “Man has not risen an inch from the
    slime that spawned him!!”

    Few people could deliver that line better than Gerrit Graham…

  26. RandomThoughts Says:

    I R A Darth Aggie Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Except now it’s getting serious.

    Yeah, like what I want to be when I grow up.

    Every time I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, life took me in an expected direction, rendering my decision all but useless. After the fifth (or maybe it was the sixth) drastic career change, I came to believe that deciding what one wants to be when one grows up is an activity best left to children.

  27. Mac Says:

    “Except now it’s getting serious.”

    Missed that yesterday. Yes indeed, I know that feeling.

  28. sergey Says:

    Most of the current humor sounds like whistling while walking at midnight trough a cemetery. The only reason for such attitude and behavior is to hide from oneself fear of death, an universal curse of atheists.

  29. Artfldgr Says:

    where is the REASONABLE HUXLEY?

    The one who said, hey, there is no way that they are copying the past and merging two factions..

    Obama’s New Campaign Slogan “Forward!”
    Is a Hitler (Jugend) Youth Marching Tune


    (And actually it was the paper of the SDP the communists who competed against hitler)

    this, a comment from someone else (not me), on the OWS… (of which they just caught some Ayers wanabees in cleveland who were buying explosive to blow up a bridge.

    it seems like i am not the only one who knows the rules of the game, methods, ends and so on…

    ……there is a historical precident for Occupy and their demise.

    In Germany Hitler used a poor economy to get the workers united against foreigners, the Jews, etc. and created the Brown Shirt movement.

    They were active in protests and eventually lead attacks (that Hitler really wanted against his “enemies”).

    Well, Hitler couldn’t really politically “approve” of them (doing the job he wanted them to do) so eventually he unleashed the German police and military against them, rounded them up, and killed a large number of them.

    They served their purpose- furthering Hitler’s interests and movement. Once their purpose was fullfilled, they were neutralized.

    Similarly, notice these days how the Muslim Brotherhood was bringing together disgruntled groups (women’s rights, Muslims, Christians, rights groups, workers, etc.) in Egypt and other nations, creating a unified movement against their governments, businesses, foreigners, etc.

    Once they fulfilled their purpose (turning the government), these groups were neutralized (the women were thrown out of the process, foreigners were killed/forced to move, the Christians were forced out, etc.)

    It’s pretty similar.

    Don’t think it can’t happen here.

    Like Sam said, the democrats, the media, and the President are riling up disgruntled youth and workers and using them as a power tool.

    Once they get their power structure implemented, they will round them up and deal with them.

    Dirty settlements in downtown NYC- great. Windows breaking and buildings burning, it’s time to shut them down. Why is it that they are promoting Occupy while building up the means to shut down the Internet, the way to intern US citizens easily, martial law rules, etc.??

    as i said, you dont leave the scaffolding up once your done. and if you know this history, you would know what would happen to these neer do wells… they are eliminated to prevent the counter revolution which is the natural outcome when they realize they have been had and then reverse course.

    by then, its too late…
    and it may be too late already…

    Shoa II…

  30. Artfldgr Says:

    forward forward
    clearly the trumpets fanfare
    forward forward
    youth doesnt know any danger

    germany you stand illuminating
    we wish to be under it

    forward forward
    clearly the trumpets fanfare
    forward forward
    youth doesnt know any danger

    Aiming to that goal is high, yet
    youth compells it nevertheless

    our flag flutters before us
    into the future we move as man for man
    we are marching for hitler (obama?)

    through power and necessity
    with the flag of the youth and for freedom

    our flag flutters before us
    our flag is the new time
    and the flag will throw us into the eternity

    yes the flag means more than the death!

    Greenie ideology = Blood and soil

    Obamacare = Acton 4

    SBA & affirmative action = removal of non volk from employment, mancession… etc

    Volkswagen = Chevy Volt

    Brown shirts = OWS

    I Can keep going till there is about 50 items or more on this list of parallels.

    Vorwärts nach osten!!!
    (forwart do the east) finland
    Vorwärts nach Osten with English subtitles

    We stood on guard for germany
    and held the important watch

    now the sun rises in the east
    and calls the millions to battle
    from finland to the black sea

    Forward! Forward!
    Forward to the east you stormin army
    Freedom is the aim
    Victory the bread

    Leader Order!
    we follow you!

    Leader Order!
    we follow you!

    the march of horst wessel has begun
    the SA is wearing their brown (skin this time?)
    completed by the gray columns (obama election columns?)

    the monsterous time is here!

    from finland to the black sea

    Forward! Forward!
    Forward to the east you stormin army
    Freedom is the aim
    Victory the bread

    Leader Order!
    we follow you!

    Leader Order!
    we follow you!

    never again?
    how? if you dont remember?

    Erich Honecker
    was a German socialist politician who led the German Democratic Republic as General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1971 until 1989, serving as Head of State as well after Willi Stoph’s relinquishment of that post in 1976.
    Famous quotes: “Always forwards, never backwards.” (Original: Vorwärts immer, rückwärts nimmer) (early 1980s)

    Vorwärts (“Forward”) was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany published daily in Berlin from 1891 to 1933 by decision of the party’s Halle Congress, as the successor of Berliner Volksblatt, founded in 1884.

    Friedrich Engels and Kurt Tucholsky both wrote for Vorwärts. It backed the Russian Marxist economists and then, after the split in the Party, the Mensheviks. It published articles by Leon Trotsky, but would not publish any by Vladimir Lenin.

    During the First World War Vorwärts opposed the SPD´s Burgfrieden policy in favour of pacifism and neutrality until 1916 when – some time after Rudolf Hilferding had been drafted into the Austrian army – Friedrich Stampfer was introduced as editor-in-chief. He guided the central organ back towards the party line (prompting accusations from half of the Socialist camp that it had become chauvinist). The paper was staunchly opposed to the October Revolution, standing up for the attempt to bring parliamentarism to Germany.[1]

    In 1923 Vorwärts lost a libel trial brought by Adolf Hitler, and was ordered to pay him 6,000,000 marks. The paper had claimed Hitler was financed by “American Jews and Henry Ford.”[2][3]

    During the Nazi period, the Social Democratic Party of Germany was banned, and so the publication of Vorwärts in Germany had to stop in 1933, but it was continued in exile in Czechoslovakia until 1938 and subsequently in Paris until 1940.

    In 1948, the paper was refounded as Neuer Vorwärts (“New Forward”) and in 1955 renamed Vorwärts again. Today, it has a monthly circulation of about 515,000, because it is mailed to all SPD members.

    anyone want to compare his symbology?

    two years before, Trotsky had had an unpleasant conflict with the great revolutionist, a conflict in which the honors were not exactly on his side. During his years of exile, Trotsky was a free-lance litterateur, supporting himself and his family with contributions to progressive papers in Russia and socialist papers in Germany and Austria. In 1910 an International Socialist Congress was to be held in Copenhagen, and on this occasion he wrote an article to the Berlin Vorwärts, central organ of the German Socialist Party, in which he dealt with the revolutionary situation in Russia. He took to task the Mensheviks, with whose moderation he did not agree, but he also attacked the Bolsheviks, chiefly on the score of the “expropriations” — the armed hold-ups of government funds which some of their fighting groups carried out — in order to replenish the party treasury chest. With all his contempt for the philistinism and respectability of the Western socialists, Trotsky had apparently become contaminated by the same disease. The Bolsheviks, not having many rich “angels” at their disposal, needed money badly — and took it. Stalin, then a humble revolutionary worker in the vineyard of which in time he was to become the undisputed Lord, was one of those heroic dare-devils who, like Pilsudski at the same time, were braving bullets and the gallows to get the Tsarist “dough.” Some of the many revolutionary “expropriators” — whether Bolsheviks, Socialist-Revolutionists, Anarchists or Polish Social-Patriots, at times went wrong and turned common bandits, much to the discredit of the revolutionary cause. It is to this sad feature that Trotsky referred, attacking the Bolsheviks for not abandoning this method altogether. That the tactics of parliamentarism, as practiced by the Western socialists, were incomparably more demoralizing, having gradually converted each Socialist Party into a little Tammany Hall with its climbers and job-hunters, Trotsky entirely overlooked. He likewise overlooked the fact that it was in very bad taste, to say the least, to denounce, on such a ticklish score, the most militant section of the Russian revolutionists to a gloating public of pink politicians — and indirectly to the bourgeois authorities as well. Lenin, who was known not to be opposed to the expropriations, was extremely bitter on that score, and what Stalin must have thought and felt at that time can be easily surmised.

    LEON TROTSKY or Grandeur and Misery of Power http://www.ditext.com/nomad/trotsky.html

    вперёд на Берлин!“ (to Berlin!)
    vpered phonetically

    Socialist League Vpered (Forward!)
    Socialist League Vpered is a radical left-wing political organisation in Russia. It is the Russian section of the reunified Fourth International.

    It was founded in 2005 as the split from Socialist Resistance, a Russian group affiliated with the Committee for a Workers International. In February 2008, it obtained permanent observer status in the reunified Fourth International. In February 2010 it become the Russian section of the reunified Fourth International.

    VPERED had groups in a few of the country’s cities: Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saratov, Tyumen, Yaroslavl and others. VPERED was actively involved in campaigns against governmental reform of education. The organisation was active inside some “alternative” trade unions, including the All-Russian Confederation of Labour and Defence of Labour.

    Fourth International

    The Fourth International (FI) (founded in 1938) is a Trotskyist international. In 1963, the majorities of the two public factions of the Fourth International, the International Secretariat and the International Committee, reunited, electing a United Secretariat of the Fourth International. In 2003, the United Secretariat was replaced by an Executive Bureau and an International Committee, although other Trotskyists still refer to the organisation as the USFI or USec.

    bet almost no one knows this stuff to this detail… which is why they are walking either into athe wolfs mouth, the bears mouth, or some hybrid creature created after the war in east germany

    After 1963

    3.1 Eighth World Congress: anti-imperialist focus
    3.2 Ninth World Congress: Vietnam solidarity
    3.3 Tenth World Congress: guerrilla debate
    3.4 Eleventh World Congress: end of factionalism
    3.5 Twelfth World Congress: SWP rejects Trotskyism
    3.6 Thirteenth World Congress: ‘New World Order’
    3.7 Fourteenth World Congress: regroupment
    3.8 Fifteenth World Congress: transformation
    3.9 Sixteenth World Congress: ecosocialism

    but why bother to read what they a re doing, just wait till the newspapers, the tv, and the OWS people tell you. right?

    no need to read…
    in ignorance we are wise.

    The Thirteenth World Congress, in February 1991, was one of the most ambitious, addressing a systematic change in the global balance of forces. Its resolutions spanned the ‘New World Order’, European integration, feminism and the crisis of the Latin American left

    and now its too long…
    and there is soooo much more..

  31. expat Says:

    I just found this via Instapundit. It’s about spending money on durable goods, memories being very durable. This sort of ties in with my feelings on aging. I have such a store of memories to keep me going when my body starts to give out.

  32. expat Says:

    Sorry, I forgot the link.


  33. sergey Says:

    All socialist or communist movements in today Russia are marginal. In Moscow they gather at their rallies no more than dozens participants. This is fashionable in some circles, but overwhelming majority of people fully immune to this type of ideas.

  34. Artfldgr Says:

    without the legal pressure from above (the iron fist) the majority of people do not fall for most of it, they just ignore it, pretend and live their lives. in the system in the past it was impossible to know how many actually believed or subscribed to it. especially in later years compared to years in the earlier times when they had things to compare to and the serious deprivations of war.

    but as then is now, what the people do is irrelevant. whether a crowd of 100,000 in the street or not, doesn’t matter in this case. which in essence was the real transformation. the realization that it was not necessary to actually have such a big weighty apparatus, as the people were impotent either way.

    this is most evident in the contrast between immigrants and their contemporaries back home (and only looking at recent ones). the immigrants who have come here, according to the millionaire next door, are one of the highest earning large population groups.

    capable, well educated, erudite, they could succeed… (though with today’s socialist adjustments to the demographic make up of the body politic. not so much).

    but what happens if they do REALLY well back home sergey? a friend did with his electronics company, but then why is he here in the US writing software?

    the truth is that if you take a good look at who the thugs are and who is in the halls of power, most of the key positions are all taken by the same old same old. they may not have pictures on the wall and overtly show what they believe, but whatever it is, they believe something and are still collectively organized (though what tools are available to act on are different)

    Khodorkovsky worked his way up the Communist apparatus during the Soviet years, and began several businesses during the era of glasnost and perestroika. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he accumulated wealth through the development of Siberian oil fields as the head of Yukos, one of the largest Russian companies to emerge from the privatization of state assets during the 1990s.

    Think he didnt have help from his prior career?

    care to go through forbes list and see their history and compare them to similar people in other areas?

    the people there are STILL waiting…

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