COLUMNS: Are we too nice to be funny?

One thing the Americans do well is poking fun at their politicians and other celebrities.

One thing the Americans do well is poking fun at their politicians and other celebrities. Saturday Night Live and the late night show hosts are having fun lampooning President Donald Trump and Co. We have Rick Mercer and This Hour Has 22 minutes, but they are much kinder to politicians than the old Air Farce or This Hour Has Seven Days were. I may have mislaid my sense of humour but are we taking ourselves too seriously? Americans obviously don’t, after all, they elected Mr. Trump.

We don’t have anyone to “do” our politicians the way Alec Baldwin does Trump or Tina Fey did Sarah Palin. Are none of our political bunch joking material? Is our news too boring/nice to be funny​? Would that change if Kevin O’Leary gets to be our Prime Minister? Watching Premier Clark trying to dance her way out of the alleged hacking incident made me wonder what Tina Fey would do with that. President Trump may not like being the butt of jokes, but they do get his message out, and he does have at point about the mainstream media. Comedians aside, there are few hard hitting investigative journalist any more.

The Canadian mainstream media is claiming poverty as the online media scoops their advertising dollars. Some newspapers already get government help in terms of tax breaks etc., but the recent Shattered Mirror report suggests they should get more.

Would a free press still be free if it is subsidized by government as well as being beholden to advertisers? If governments keep propping up failing private enterprises, at what point does the private become public? What is the criteria for giving government subsidies, anyway? Is it public need for the service or the political clout of the people providing the service? When the people of my vintage (who like newspapers) are gone, will there be any need for printed news?

Not to let the electronic media off the hook, I wish the Canadian TV channels would give us a break from their constant coverage of President Trump. News is happening in Canada and elsewhere in the world but you’ll miss it if you blink during the six o’clock news.

Diana French is a freelance columnist, former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.