Lucretia (Rembrandt -- 1666)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
If Republican women teamed up with DFL feminists, Minnesota comedy could be improved massively--right? It's not quite working out as I'd hoped. The attack by the humorless and the hyperliteral upon Al Franken is intensifying.
So Al Franken is now being attacked for something he is reported to have said in a brainstorming session more than a decade ago. Even if the quotation is accurate--Franken does not confirm its accuracy--few utterances merit greater protection than those made in brainstorming sessions, no?
In addition, DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul released a statement saying, "it is appalling that anyone could characterize rape, a violent and horrible crime, as a joke."
I'm puzzled by the a violent and horrible crime, in the sentence above. Does McCollum seriously perceive herself to be bringing heretofore unknown information to public attention, when she informs us that rape is horrible? Isn't that just a little bit insulting? Or does McCollum think that violent and horrible crimes of all types should be forbidden from appearing within the brief fictional form of the joke? If so, McCollum's menace to American comedy--indeed, to American freedom--is frightening indeed. Fiction, like dreaming, is an activity rarely improved upon by busybodies. If McCollum and Brod seek to banish the word rape from American humor, why stop there? Why don't we agree that no work of fiction can ever include a rape? Wouldn't that make the world a better place?
Beware the politician who seeks to govern your conduct in brainstorming sessions, I say. Be particularly leery when it comes to the painfully unfunny legislator who believes American comedy might benefit by her proctorship. We expect such rhetoric from Republicans, of course:
"When he could talk about a skit and throw ideas out there, he chose drugging and rape," said Brod. "These are his words. He's painting his own picture. And I think the picture he's painting with his own words is a picture that Minnesota would absolutely reject."
Laura Brod and Betty McCollum's McCarthyite assault on imagination ought to be rejected.