The freedom to
fuss over politics
Bravo to Douglas Elia!
His wicked skewering of left-leaners (which I fear would include me) was a delightfully ironic and funny letter (Nov. 17), “Here’s a real liberal agenda.”
So let us now praise satirists. They come in all flavors, left, right, center, political, apolitical, utopian, apocalyptical, skeptical, or even religious. Jonathan Swift, for example, the great satirist of the 18th century, best known for “Gulliver’s Travels,” was a high-ranking cleric, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Other notable conservative satirists: Aristophanes, Chaucer, Cervantes, Moliere, Evelyn Waugh, P.J. O’Rourke, Dennis Miller, and even Shakespeare perhaps in his comedic works (although it’s hard to pigeon-hole the Bard of Avon ideologically.) As the premier playwright of his time, he became comfortably wealthy and a member of the propertied class.
Neither is the left lacking in the fine art of satire. There’s Voltaire, Twain, Vonnegut, G.B. Shaw, H.L. Menken, Lenny Bruce, Art Buchwald, George Carlin, Chris Rock and Bill Maher. Oops! I almost forget Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. “Saturday Night Live,” of course, is the modern Mecca of satire. But it cannot be pegged politically since it is an equal opportunity demolition squad that punctures all pomposities.
Politically speaking, conservatives tend more toward the realistic, especially when it comes to fiscal or economic matters, while progressives tend toward the idealistic, toward dreaming the impossible dream and spending liberally for it.
As Mr. Elia might put it, let the printing presses roll 24/7 and grind out tons of money (forget about inflation and the government drowning in an ocean of red ink) and give handouts to all hands held out. With everybody feeding at the breast of Mother Government, no one will have to work or create jobs, and everybody will be forever happy. Now that’s gotta be a surefire winning formula for a Nobel Prize in economics.
Conservatives clearly see themselves as grounded in reality and their opposites with their heads in the clouds.
Come to think of it, Aristophanes, the greatest writer of comedies in the ancient world, wrote a play called, “The Clouds.” It satirized the famous radical of its time, Socrates. Some say it might have even contributed to the famous philosopher’s sentence of death.
Thanks to the Enlightenment in the 18th century and the flowering of democracy, the realists and idealists have the freedom to duke it out, define each other, and not be punished for it.
As we see, for example, in Mr. Elia’s welcome touch of wit.
— Saul Rosenthal
set for March 18
On May 14, 2012, Terre Haute North High School honored Carl S. Riddle (in memoriam), Curt Brighton and Katherine Utley at the first annual Polaris Awards. These individuals make North High School proud to call them Patriots.
The second annual Polaris Awards will be held at The MCL Banquet Center on March 18, 2013, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will include musical entertainment by THN students, a multimedia presentation, and a three-course meal with choice of three entrees, followed by dessert and presentations.
Please consider supporting this celebration in honor of those who uphold the traditions and values championed by Mr. Riddle and his successors. Sponsors will be recognized at the event.
Nomination forms may be found on the Terre Haute North Vigo High School webpage at www.vigoschools.org or a form may be picked up at North in the main office.
Please return completed forms to Terre Haute North Vigo High School by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or mailing to Polaris Award Screening Committee, 3434 Maple Ave., Terre Haute, IN 47804 by Dec. 19. Recipients will be notified in January of 2013 and will be honored at the school and the March banquet.
— David Bray
Terre Haute North Vigo