The Death of Satire

I can now officially announce that satire is no longer possible.

It was difficult enough with Sarah Palin–in her famous impersonation, after all, Tina Fey merely recited Palin’s actual responses to questions posed by Katie Couric. Efforts to satirize other political figures of our times–Michelle Bachmann, Peter King, Newt Gingrich et al–are doomed by the fact that their unselfconscious buffoonery is already so far over the top.

And just when I figured we’d reached the outer limits of embarrassing–voila! I give you the Governor of Maine!

From the Lewiston, Maine Sun Journal, we learn that  “Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting Maine’s labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor.”

Evidently, acting labor chief Laura Boyett emailed staff on Tuesday about the mural’s pending removal, “as well as another administration directive to rename several department conference rooms that carry the names of pro-labor icons such as Cesar Chavez.” According to LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt, the administration felt the mural–a pictoral representation of Maine’s actual labor history–and the conference room monikers showed “one-sided decor not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”

That should teach those union goons a thing or two–we’ll just paint out the image of “Rosie the Riveter” and rename the board rooms after the Koch Brothers.

At Political Animal, Steve Benen notes that Governor LePage has been working hard to earn entree to the (ever-growing) ranks of our most ridiculous public figures:

But facts that Paul LePage don’t like apparently have to be shuttered away. Celebrating working people is now, apparently, the kind of thing that might bother business interests. We’re approaching an odd sort of political correctness that restricts messages that might somehow bother the wealthy and powerful.

All of this comes on the heels of the buffoonish, far-right governor vowing to pursue a Wisconsin-like plan to undercut Maine’s public-sector unions

Which was preceded by LePage trying to roll back Maine’s child-labor laws.

Which was preceded by LePage paying for tax cuts for the rich by cutting services for Maine’s middle class.

Which was preceded by LePage picking a fight with the Maine NAACP in which he said, “Tell them to kiss my butt.”

The antics of our elected officials are making me seriously question whether democratic self-government is really possible–not to mention the theory of evolution.

When historians look for an appropriate label for our era, they might consider “The Age of Embarrassment.”

1 Comment

  1. Well, one has to admit that the mural in question isn’t Michaelangelo. It isn’t even John Singer Sargent, for goodness sake. Face it, everybody likes being an art critic. If one can’t do, then criticize those who can. On a related note, I see that Governor LePage is very critical of working people as well. Ironic, no?

    The most interesting comment I read was that the Governor (or his acting minion) noticed that one of the figures in the mural closely resembled a former Maine labor commissioner, which was assumed to be some kind of propaganda ploy. Indeed, the person noted was the patron of this diabolical project. Of course, had the Governor actually taken, or attended, art history classes he might have remembered that including known personages in public art projects has antecendents stretching back at least to the Renaissance.

    For my part, I am just wishing that I had paid closer attention to Pogo when I had the chance.

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