May 15, 2009
Mike Gerson on the Current Incivility
The former presidential speechwriter examines what makes Wanda Sykes and Al Franken tick.
The first response to the performer on a public stage wishing the death of a stranger for political reasons was discomfort. Wanda Sykes had "crossed a line" at the White House Correspondents Dinner in accusing Rush Limbaugh of terrorism and treason, mocking his past drug addiction and wishing his kidneys would fail. But a counterreaction soon developed: Humor is often transgressive, and if you can't take it, don't dish it, and let's everyone lighten up a bit, and can't anyone take a joke anymore?
The initial reaction was more human.