I think it’s safe to say we’re witnessing the most exciting presidential election of our lifetimes. First black president was pretty cool, but first woman president is similarly significant, and first fascist TV-star president and/or disintegration of the Republican Party pushes it right over the top. Surely this is not the most interesting US presidential election ever, though. The election of 1860 was pretty hot. So was 1924. In these lively times, when so much seems unprecedentedly awful, we are wise to turn to the even more awful stuff that already happened. Today is Friday, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Won’t you peruse the lessons of history with me?
In a parallel universe, “Donald Trump runs for president” is a pretty funny sketch. It could be the cold open on Friday Night Fun, perhaps with host Michael Richards as his exasperated opponent. Comedy Trump is supposed to talk politics, but he only speaks in vague, hyperbolic terms about what a great businessman he is, and everyone finds it hilariously absurd. It helps that we all understand critical thinking from our free liberal arts educations, courtesy of President Sanders. Today is Friday, and the line between our world and one invented to amuse better versions of ourselves is thin and permeable. Won’t you try to distinguish comedy from reality with me?
Like many private, vaguely creepy people, I live in fear that someone else will find me out. That worry is natural, but it’s also misplaced: we’re far more likely to expose ourselves than to be exposed by others. It all checks out from a phenomenological standpoint. Who we are is defined by what we do. If the world is going to find out who you are, is it really likely to happen because of what someone else does? Today is Friday, and you are bound to expose yourself sooner or later. Won’t you open the trench coat with me?
You probably know Jack Handey from the “Deep Thoughts” series of sketches on Saturday Night Live, which, along with PJ O’Rourke and Carolyn Jacobson, were probably the most significant influences on my writing before age 21. If you don’t think Deep Thoughts is funny, you can safely disregard the rest of this post. You and I will meet at Grown-Ups 3 someday, each of us wiping away a type of tear. Everyone else can read this excellent profile of Handey in the New York Times, in which we learn that A) he is in fact a real person who used to live next door to Steve Martin, and B) he has recently published The Stench of Honolulu, a comic adventure novel. I bought that novel and read it last week, and it is very funny. Excerpt after the jump.