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Giving Herman Cain the Old College Try

by Cody Brotter | Boston University

F Posted in: News and Politics, Voices P Posted on: November 4, 2011
Cody Brotter Cody Brotter

Here at University, I’m a Federal Work Study student and I’m starting to pay some taxes to that big pile of un-backed cash in Ben Bernanke’s piggy bank. So, I thought I should tune in to hear what’s going on in the poor country that I pay to make me poorer.

But when I turn on the TV, I only hear two sides of what seem like imaginary issues (Should we really give equal rights to gay people? Did women get here from a dude’s rib or that thing from the Galapagos we learned about in middle school?).

But the politicians selling their ghost-written books are yelling so loud that I can’t hear either. Then the sex symbol/newscaster cuts to a bunch of ads. Then the ads try to sell me all these drugs that will apparently give me a happy life. Then the ads tell me a side effect is something that kids these days call “death.”

So I don’t know if our declining empire will best be lifted by a Tea Partier or a Socialist Partier (that’s why I became a registered College Partier). But I do know that there are some very bi-partisan problems with the current poll leader of the Republican party candidates. And I’m not even going to mention the whole sexual harassment thingy.

There’s a cute word politicians claim to be in order to defend indefensible statements caught on tape: “blunt.” Maybe they could use one (I’m lookin’ at you, Lieberman. You could use a doctor’s appointment at Venice Beach). And nothing’s as “blunt” as the Herman Cain dictionary. Here are some translations from English to Cainsian:

Global Warming = “Poppycock”

Uzbekistan = “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan”

President Obama = Guy “Raised in Kenya”

Occupy Wall Street protests = “Un-American”

Racism in America = Something that doesn’t “hold anybody back in a big way”

But when the former Burger King manager isn’t trying to be blunt, he’s taking his stand-up comedy tour across the primary states.

His hilarious solution to illegal immigration?

Saturday to a Crowd: A 20 foot-high “electrified” fence with “barbed wire” and a sign that says “It will kill you.”

Saturday to Another Crowd: In an effort to be politically correct, Cain recommended “It will kill you” should also be in Spanish.

Sunday to MSNBC’s David Gregory: “That’s a joke.”

Monday to CNN’s John King: “Yeah, it was a joke.”

Monday to Arizona: “I just don’t want to offend anybody. It was a joke to the extent in the context of the views of that speech, but in terms of what we need to do, I fully intend to do so.”

Wednesday to FOX’s Greta Van Susteren: “I did it more in jest.”

This sounds like some very alternative racial and political humor. Remember the YouTube star’s Muslim comedy routine? To quote Cain’s explanation of the e-incident…

Cain: “The exact language was when I was asked, ‘would you be comfortable with a Muslim in your cabinet?’”

Cain’s response: “No.”

America’s response: Defend your bigotry.

Cain: “When I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones who are trying to kill us.”

Is Andy Kauffman alive after all and he’s just doing his act through Cain instead of Clifton?

Was Cain joking when he said, “If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself?” Is there any single, sane, rational person with any sense of history or statistics or mild understanding of reality who would ever dare to make that claim in seriousness? Not even the most free market-toting, Constitution-loving, Libertarian-leaning candidate in the GOP field!

“I think Mr. Cain has blamed the victims,” said Ron Paul, the only Republican seeking the Republican nomination. “The banks were involved. The Federal Reserve was involved. But who got stuck? The middle class got stuck.”

Maybe Ron Paul (to quote Cain on America) “needs to get a sense of humor” about record home foreclosures and job loss.

But the least funny part of Cain’s shtick came at a rally nearby the Martin Luther King Center, when he spoke in the third person (classic comedy tool): “When Herman Cain is president, we will finally be able to say, Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, America is free at last!”

Before he quotes the Reverend, I implore  the Associate Minister to visit my campus to see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reading Room at Boston University’s library. There he can read Dr. King’s BU papers and learn about, and from, his political and philosophical views.

As Dr. Cornel West once said in his loving criticism of President Obama’s own diversion from the Kingian tradition, “Martin died for sanitation workers. He died because he sided with poor babies in Vietnam.” Cain might even benefit from a Wikipedia entry on his fellow Atlanta, Georgia native.

The millionaire CEO has emphasized repeatedly that “America needs to get a sense of humor” and finally start understanding and LOL-ing at his jokes that aren’t really jokes that are jests that aren’t jests. Just make sure to follow Herman Cain’s One Rule of Comedy: make sure those jokes don’t involve Herman Cain.

“As far as him mocking me,” said Cain in his attack on Jon Stewart, the poli-comic choice of the college demographic. “Look, I’ve been called every name in the book because I’m a conservative, because I’m black.”

Yeah, Comedy Central. Leave the comicality to the next Commander-in-Chief.

Cody Brotter Cody is a NGJ Voices Contributor, a Huffington Post writer, and the Telly Award-winning Executive Producer of buTV10's "Welcome Back, Brotter. Management: info@suntaurent.com. @TweetCody

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