The Thing About Joking . . .

by Jay Nordlinger

. . . is that you can’t do it about Obama. You just can’t. The “culture” — the media, academia, etc. — won’t let you. He is off limits. A holy racial object — a holy racial left-wing object. He won’t joke about himself, and others aren’t allowed to. Therefore, he is unjoked about. Unjokable about. Or something.

Romney will simply have to joke about himself. For example, to a heckler, he might say, “Be careful, or I’ll strap you to the roof of my car.” Exasperated by the smears of the Obama campaign, he might say, “It’s enough to drive a guy to drink.” Whatever.

Remember one of his lines during the 2008 Republican primaries? “I’m the only Mormon candidate, and also the only candidate who’s had one wife.”

But no matter what, he must not joke about Obama. Almost surely, it’s Backfire City, as the first Bush might say.

When I was in college, there was a trinity of literary goddesses: Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. No criticism of them was possible. You could bash Shakespeare, Milton, and Yeats to kingdom come, but not the goddesses.

You say life is unfair? That America ought to get over its racial hang-ups? Yeah, well, everyone should have a pretty prom date and a strong throwing arm, but . . .

Come to think of it, Obama was cruelly shortchanged in the throwing-arm department. Am I allowed to say that? Ah, the joys of not running for office . . .

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