Monday, July 30, 2007

Where Laughter Explodes

It's the week leading up to the Yearly Kos convention in Chicago, and I'm looking for some feedback from you dear readers. As you may know, I'm appearing on a Friday afternoon panel, "The Arc of Crisis: US Policy in the Middle East and South Asia," and could use a little help.

While the Y-Kos people have me slated to "speak on seeing the humor in the Mideast crisis," which of course is a bona fide, laff-filled riot, I'm actually going to talk about how Arabs are treated in American comedy, as opposed to Israelis. Jewish culture in general and the more arcane features of Judaism are regularly sent up (Larry David is particularly adept at this), but I cannot count on one hand the times an Israeli prime minister was portrayed as a murderous lunatic on "SNL" or "Mad TV", or Israeli aggression satirized on "The Daily Show", or Zionist settlers lampooned by Leno, Letterman, or Conan. Indeed, I can't recall any attacks on Zionism by a prominent American comic or comedy show. But there are plenty of comedy assaults on Arabs, Arab culture, and of course Islam, some of which are openly racist, and would never be done if the target was African-Americans, for example. On that front, I can come up with a dozen anti-Arab bits off the top of my head. But I'm having trouble finding the same consistent drubbing of Israel and Zionism by American humorists. Any help finding such routines and jokes on national shows would be appreciated, and will further enhance my presentation this Friday. Thanks.