And the movies we had back then! Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, Danny Thomas, Danny Kaye, and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. And every movie presentation included an animated cartoon. Who can forget Porky Pig, and Donald Duck, and Huckleberry Hound, and Wylie Coyote and the roadrunner.
And when television came along, we were regaled with Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, Sid Ceasar and Imogene Coca, Carol Burnett and Tim Conway, George Gobel, Jonathan Winters, Rodney Dangerfield, and of course the incomparable Lucille Ball. The boob tube was a circus full of clowns.
Where have they gone? What happened to all the clowns? The only clowns we have left today are Bill Mahr and Joe Biden. Have we been reduced to vile vitriol and bumbling buffoonery for entertainment? What happened to us? Why can’t we laugh anymore?
Something happened at about the time Jane Fonda morphed from Corie Bratter in Barefoot in the Park to a traitor who precipitated the beatings and deaths of American Prisoners of war in Vietnam. At about the time Roseanne and All In The Family gave way to 24 hour propaganda channels, America underwent a fundamental change.
Today, America is a nation of hatred and fear. Jesse Jackson and the queer coalition simultaneously attack Phil Robertson for making offhand remarks that – while no one has disputed their veracity – are considered to be "offensive." Paula Deen is fired for having said, "nigger’ twenty years ago, and atheists are suing the 9-11 museum for displaying a cross. Meanwhile, Al Sharpton is lying in wait like a Harlem mugger for any innocent whiteman remark that he can twist into an anti-Negro slur.
I long for the America of my youth – an America where we fought together – not like today’s America where we’re fighting each other. We used to work together, not against each other. We used to laugh together. Now we shout at each other and call each other vile names. What has happened to us? Who did this to us?
Who stole the humor from our lives?