Impressed By Bush 41

This morning, as I stumbled downstairs, Helaine asked if I had seen George H. W. Bush’s (aka – Bush 41) eulogy of Gerald Ford? It was an unusual topic for Helaine. She mostly avoids this kind of television – and who can blame her?

I had not seen it, but she had recorded it!

OK – before you start getting macabre feelings toward my wife, one of the great advantages of a DVR is, you can record shows on-the-fly. The recording actually begins at the point you started watching, not when you hit the record button. Pretty convenient.

She hit the play button and I watched Mr. Bush walk to the podium. He is 80 years old, but has a full head of hair and wore no glasses.

My dad later commented, maybe Bush 41 has no glasses for the same reason he has no glasses, they no longer help. Good try, but no. It’s possible he’s wearing contacts or had surgery. It’s still impressive.

President Bush began to read the eulogy and was quite poignant. I suppose, with too much practice, one gets gets at this sort of thing. Then he got to the point where he talked about the real Gerry Ford.

One thought on “Impressed By Bush 41”

  1. Your comment on Bush 41 doing Dana Carvey doing Bush 41 is an excellent example of what I try to teach my students regarding the crucial differences between parody and satire. Both Bush and Carvey were doing parody, which uses humor (often via exaggeration) for the purpose of humanizing its target (albeit often by taking the target down a notch). It is almost always affectionate. Hence Bush could parody his parody, and Nixon could parody himself years ago on Laugh-In. Mark Russell plays to both sides of the aisle using the same (dull) material. Nearly all the “political humor” we see on TV is (affectionate) parody.

    Satire, on the other hand, is motivated by anger and, by showing its target as evil, it seeks to destroy its target. It is much rarer than parody, but some film examples are Apocalypse Now, Dr. Strangelove, and A Clockwork Orange. I don’t think anyone will be citing Dr. Strangelove at Kissinger’s funeral, and not just because Kissinger doesn’t have a sense of humor. It’s because the type of humor practiced by Dana Carvey and Stanley Kubrick are very different.

    Sometimes parody and satire co-exist in the same piece. For example, in Moliere’s play Tartuffe, the bourgeois patsy Orgon is parodied, but the religious impostor Tartuffe is satirized. Both the King and the Church knew the difference.

    Lenny Bruce did satire. Most of those who claim to follow him do parody. It’s much safer, and much more profitable.


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