Friday, May 12, 2017

Duck and Laughter

I was too young to remember the fifties. Duck and cover. Nuclear proof school desks. Red scare. Yellow peril. Green Curry. I vaguely remember the Cuban missile crisis. They say that was the worst the tension between the superpowers has ever been. Until today. I remember the assassination of JFK like it was yesterday. JFK was the one who negotiated with Nikita Khrushchev over the Cuban crisis. He wanted to get us out of Viet Nam. To back away from the brink. So he was a Kremlin stooge. Soft on Communism. Handing away America's eggs and butter. I wonder what a 1960's era Colbert would say about that?

Johnson fixed everything.

I remember Nixon. He did some remarkable things. And one dumb thing. He opened up the doors to Communist China. Negotiated the Salt treaty with the Soviets. Eased tensions. Opened lines of communication. Backed us away from nuclear midnight. So, of course, he was a tool of Communism. Trotsky Dick!

The pointless Seventies. Another SALT treaty. The START treaties. Now we were talking. The ABM treaties. Cooperation. Mutual inspections overseen by the UN. I'll trade you some Jack Daniels for a bottle of Stoli. Sweet. Of course, we were told how collusive Carter was towards those Russians. Anyone who calls for peace was a weakling, a coward, or a traitor. Just like today! Nothing changes.

Reagan will take care of everything. He embodied the spirit of John Wayne with the courage of Andrew Jackson and the hair of Liberace. That'll show those Ruskies. Of course, he then oversaw the voluntary, though difficult, downsizing of the Soviet empire. Where's the jingoism in that? Well. Wasn't he a disappointment! Wuss.

By the time of Brezhnev, the Soviet people knew the Soviet Union was a joke. They say that's the Russians' greatest weapon. Not the one measured in millisieverts. The one measured in belly laughs. Russians have a very dark sense of humor and they like nothing better than to laugh at anything that gets in their way. Just like us. We're not that different. It's what gets them through wars and invasions and famines and stuff. By the eighties nobody in Russia took anything seriously. Not God. Not country. Not community. Though maybe family. You have to reign in cynicism somewhere, I suppose.

Here, here. I got one. A judge walks out of his chambers laughing his head off. A colleague approaches him and asks why he is laughing. "I just heard the funniest joke in the world!" "Well, go ahead, tell me!" says the other judge. "I can't – I just gave someone ten years for it!"

OK. OK. Here's another one! Q: What is the difference between the Constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both of them guarantee freedom of speech. A: Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech.

I got a gulag full of them!

Funny. The Soviet people knew their government was full of shit. They didn't believe a word of the fake news, aka propaganda, that was dished out. By 1990 the whole edifice was one creak away from a collapse. How the tables have turned. And we're back to a nuclear crisis! How about that. Don't that just beat all? I always did like nostalgia. Now we're the ones hanging onto our government's every turd like it's gospel dipped in chocolate and the rest of the world is looking at us saying, "Seriously? Have you been paying attention?"

Where's a JFK to sort things out today?

OK. So. Three fake news talkers who laughed at a Senate hearing are in prison. The first one says, "I am here because I spoke out against Trump. What about you?" The second one says, "Well, I am here because I supported Trump." So they turn to the third one and ask why is he here. "Because I am Trump," he says.

OK, Comrade. I'll go quietly.

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