If the rest of the world has lost its patience with the shenanigans emanating from the United States of America, it is perfectly justified in having thus exhausted its historically impressive font of forbearance. The most significant transgression underlying this development isn’t necessarily obvious. I don’t believe the reckless saber rattling or the contagious xenophobia constituted the proverbial last straw. It’s the fact that irony, the very backbone of comedy, is officially dead since its most ludicrous imaginable expression has now been upstaged by reality.
Several years ago, an episode of South Park had Cartman facing an existential crisis. He had just witnessed the funniest thing in the history of ever — specifically, a milk carton photo prank he pulled a few days earlier resulting in an actual couple with asses for heads appearing at his door in search of their missing son. Rather than reacting to their presence with uproarious laughter, he just stood there in stunned silence. You see, this was so intolerably hilarious that he blew a funny fuse and thus found himself incapable of laughing at anything else, possibly for the rest of his life.
In a sense, this is what we have done on a global scale. The United States has become a well-dressed suburban couple that communicates via fart-speak from its anatomically reversed sphincter-mouth. We have elected a citrus-pigmented, crude, vulgar, proudly uninformed fat lump of shit with the world’s worst comb-over to the post of Commander-In-Chief. He is a barely literate former reality TV personality who is frequently more inappropriate in his official dispatches from Pennsylvania Avenue than he ever was on the Howard Stern Show. The media has collectively and inadvertently outpaced The Onion in the realm of absurd reporting since the only outlet for “the President’s” thoughts is his bizarrely juvenile Twitter feed. In the truest sense, the comic-dystopian future scenario envisioned in Mike Judge’s 2007 film “Idiocracy” has come to pass. The former biting irony of that movie’s message no longer packs even a meager punch. We have actually managed to elect a leader more patently ridiculous than the foul-mouthed, glitter-adorned former professional wrestler of Mr. Judge’s imagination. Like a no smoking sign on your cigarette break, as a former pop star from the 90s once opined.
Of course, humor at its most base and basic level is still achievable. A well-timed pratfall or fart joke can still elicit a good guffaw. However, since this type of nearly instinctual laughter is all that’s left for us, we’ve reverted to the comedic sophistication of the baboon, a creature who also finds amusement in falling and farting. Another similarity to the baboon that we have recently acquired is its shamelessness in parading around publicly with its big red ass exposed. We just don’t care anymore. National dignity is a thing of the past as we drop our collective trousers and moon the rest of the world in 140 characters or less. This is the end result of the “Great Experiment”, the idealistic democratic vision of our forefathers. If I had to sum up this fatal buffoonery in a single word, the only one that comes to mind is covfefe. And why not? A society that perpetually and intentionally rewrites recent history to suit its utter lack of integrity and class might as well invent its own words. It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. But it isn’t ironic. It’s the perfectly predictable upshot of 200+ years of proud ignorance and arrogance.