What's All This Then?

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008
 
THE PFLEGER PERFORMANCE

Location, location, location.

No, I’m not going into the real estate business nor starting a real estate advice blog within a blog, nor am I ready to resume blogging following my surgical adventure on May 7, about which I will comment in due course. But I couldn’t let the performance of Father Michael Pfleger at Trinity United Church the other day go by without recording a brief comment for my passing parade archives. As the world knows, it caused another uproar and more trouble for Obama - and now, in an effort to stop the bleeding, he’s resigned his membership in that church.

It may have been the right thing for Obama to do, but I could see only two things wrong with Pfleger’s hilarious comedy skit. He was the wrong guy to give the performance. It was written for a comedian, not a priest. And it was performed in the wrong place. The church was the wrong location. It was Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show material - where it wouldn’t have caused even a ripple of dismay - just peals of laughter. It was as funny as anything those shows have done in their many spoofs of Hillary - and the church audience responded instinctively - as I would have - as anyone with a sense of humor would have responded - with applause and laughter.

Can anyone remember The Daily Show or SNL comedy skits about Clinton or Obama or any other politician resulting in cries of condemnation? "Disgusting! Unfair! Over the top! Beyond the pale!" Of course not. What they do to presidential candidates is fair game - and most candidates can’t wait to appear on these shows - even shows in which they are being unmercifully spoofed!!

But now we have tsk tsking all over the place - from Obama, from left and right pundits, from the local Catholic Cardinal - and of course from Hillary. And in letters to the editor. The Chicago Tribune was full of letters of condemnation today. "It was a terrible thing! It was divisive! It was racially insensitive! It was all things bad!" But had it been performed word for word on either of the aforementioned comedy shows, it would have become an instant classic, to be played over and over in future years on "best of" shows.

They say that in comedy, timing is everything. To which we can now add location. For which poor selection for his performance, Father Pfleger should be rightfully condemned. But not for the material which was and remains damned funny stuff. And if we can’t see that, then we Americans are really in trouble