A folly good time

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JUNE 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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In an era that has enlightened us with the wit and wisdom of Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon (“I do not like it when students actually come here and lobby for funds; that’s just my opinion. I wish you guys the best — but this political theater — leave the circus to us.”), it’s hard to make a stir in the political waters.

(Did anyone bother to remind the good senator that circuses, especially political circuses, are rife with clowns?)

But Republicans are giving their 110 percent, bless their hearts.

Take Rick Santorum, who is, you might be interested to know, is one of the 400 or so candidates for the GOP presidential nomination. Last week, on the 67th anniversary of D-day, he waxed eloquent (which is much easier than waxing your floor) on the meaning of the invasion of Normandy:

American troops hit the beaches at Normandy in order to stop the spread of government-run health care.

No, really.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Santorum, after accusing President Obama of spitting in the faces of the Americans who fought on D-day, went on to say: “Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom.”

“Average Americans,” he continued. “The very Americans that our government now, and this president, does not trust a to make decision on your health-care plan. Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health-care plan.”

Well. So that’s what World War II was all about: those nasty Nazis with their government-run health care. Who knew?

Maybe Fox News knew.

Or, given its performance last week, maybe not.

On June 5, Fox News ran a piece about whether Sarah “The Great White Moose Dresser” Palin would join the 400 candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination (it might be 500 by now, given the way things work these days — if you call that work).

And, naturally, Fox included a picture of Palin while reporting the story, because that’s the way journalism works (I know; I’m using both words loosely). Only, it turns out Fox didn’t include a photo of Palin, it accidentally included a photo of Tina Fey playing Palin in a 2008 “Saturday Night Live” skit.

No, really. If you made this stuff up, nobody would buy it. I mean, Palin works for Fox News. Those people don’t know what she looks like?


Palin (not Fey, though you could be excused for thinking so), of course, created quite a stir recently with her “new” take on Paul Revere’s ride. And in the wake of that, Palin’s supporters apparently have been changing the Paul Revere Wikipedia entry to coincide with Palin’s version.

It’s turned into quite a Wiki-war, what with Palin supporters changing the entry, then others changing the changes back to the Paul Revere story that most of us know, then the Palin supporters weighing in with the changes again, then … well, you get the idea.

The one good thing about a Wiki-war is that no one, as far as we can tell, dies. The bad thing is, next, we’ll probably see Santorum supporters changing the World War II entry so that FDR exhorts the American troops to defeat the Nazis and stop the spread of government-run health care.

If nothing else, the whole Wiki thing reminded me of the wonderful opening to Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. The Communist Party leader, Klement Gottwald was delivering a speech to the Czech citizens from a Prague balcony in the snow, and for some reason, he had forgotten to wear a hat. So Clementis, who was next to him, took off his own hat and placed it on Gottwald’s head.

Some years later, as happened in communist countries, a purge occurred, and Clementis was executed. So the communists erased him from the photo. As Kundera points out, all that remains in the photo is Clementis’ hat.

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