Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Would Johnny Carson Do?

Maybe the subtitle for today should be....

"Self Editing in the Social Media World of 2016."

Or something like that.

Follow me here.  The 200 plus friends who are connected to me via social media know that, from time to time, I like to use the digital portals for a quick one-liner or two.  Something through the course of the day might tickle me and I want to share the thought with others in the hopes it might brighten their day as well.    

Trust me that I am usually very careful before I post the message.   Besides crafting the wordage for maximum hilarity, I will think about it several times first before hitting "enter."   Indeed, there was really only one time where I might have crossed the line with a lack of decorum.    A good friend, whose humor tends to run ten to twenty shades darker than my own, called me and thought that I might have pushed the envelope.   Gee, if he thought I went too far, then I most certainly did.   And I pulled down the joke after five minutes.

Additionally, the 200 plus friends who are connected to me via social media also know that I, by and large, refrain from making any political commentary on social media.   Number one, I am a person whose political beliefs and opinions don't form a match with perhaps 99% of the rest of the country. Number two, the quickest way to get into an ugly dialogue with somebody you care about these days is to mention the upcoming Presidential election.   Given that I have no dog in this hunt, I stay completely away from this discussion.   

So, essentially, I'm already self editing on social media and trying very hard to stay above the fray.   And, while certainly not comparing myself to the genius picture above, I use him as a barometer.   I always think...

Would Johnny Carson say that?

Now a few weeks back, a friend on Facebook posted a one-liner.   He was watching the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics and noticing that the team from Armenia was marching in.  He made a joke about the streets of Glendale, California being closed as a result, which is a funny gag because everybody knows that Glendale is largely populated by Armenians.   I chuckled when I read it.

Two minutes later, my friend's self editing took hold and he apologized for the joke.   I'm not sure why and I certainly messaged him that it was funny and not inappropriate.   Because, in my mind....

Johnny Carson would have said that.

Okay, so just recently, I directly got involved in a little to-do on Facebook.   When all that new Anthony Weiner stuff came out the other day, I ran across a photo of his wife and Hillary Clinton leaving a fundraiser.   Actually, it was this picture.
I immediately zeroed in on Hillary and her outfit which I had seen before.  It looked just like the housecoat my mother used to wear when vacuuming the house.   And this became the line I posted...

"Not trying to be political here but this photo flashes me back to the housecoat my mother used to wear while vacuuming the house."

That's how innocent the joke was.  I didn't think that it was coming from a political point of view.   And the posting got dozens of "likes" from friends with all sorts of voting histories.  There were also a bunch of comments from the same group that addressed the fact that she also seems to be wearing pajama bottoms in the photo.   Also, several discussed the concept that Hillary Clinton actually operating a vacuum cleaner was very unlikely.  None of this had anything to do with the Presidential race or Mrs. Clinton's viewpoints.

I felt safe.   And I was reasonably certain that Johnny Carson would have had a field day with this picture.   Because, if you watch reruns of the Tonight Show on Antenna TV, you will hear him make fun of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush and even, at the time, Presidential hopeful Bill Clinton.    Had Carson stayed on the air indefinitely, he also would have enjoyed poking fun at the second George Bush and yes, gang, even Barack Obama.   You see, Johnny Carson was an equal opportunity jokester.   You didn't know his political viewpoint.   That allowed him to throw darts at everybody.

But, several hours after I posted this photo and got to watch a reasonably amusing commentary from friends on both sides of the aisle, I got two messages from friends mentioning that they did not take kindly to the photo.   Okay, these folks are very passionate about their viewpoints and their candidate and I salute that.   Indeed, I've seen jokes from their own portals about some of the candidates on the Republican side of the ledger.   The reaction, while certainly understood by me, was a little unsettling.

Because Johnny Carson would have said it.

I did the unthinkable.   I deleted the entire discussion from my timeline.   If it didn't exist anymore, I could forget the only thing ever happened.

Well, not really.   

Dinner last night:  Hamburger and salad.

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