The great American tradition of rodeos has been in the news lately. Perhaps, more accurately stated, rodeo clowns have been in the news lately, particularly one clown who insulted a sensitive audience at a recent summer rodeo when he wore an Obama mask as part of one of his jokes.
When a rodeo clown put a mask on a scarecrow in the arena and asked the crowd if they would like to see President Obama run down by the bull, the crowd went wild, but many in attendance were less than impressed. The resulting media hysteria and heated discussions on racism have raised more than a few eyebrows.
As the photo of the figure wearing the mask has gone viral, it’s been called “shameful” and “unacceptable,” with promise of swift disciplinary action to the clown. The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has profusely apologized, as well. The Missouri State Fair Commission has voted to permanently ban the rodeo clown from ever participating or performing at the annual state fair.
I’m certain that I’m going to insult a few of you by writing this, but I disagree with the public outrage. Admittedly, I wasn’t in attendance, so I can only go by what has been reported, but when did everyone become so sensitive?
Was the joke in bad taste? You bet. The president of the United States should be held in higher regard, no matter who the individual in the seat happens to be. But was the easy cheap shot deserving of a national public outcry? Certainly not. It wasn’t about race. It wasn’t about insulting the highest office of our great nation. It was poking a little fun at someone who everyone knows and could get a chuckle about. No harm done, in my eyes. Politically correct? Absolutely not. Worth banning the rodeo clown for? I don’t think so.
Rush Limbaugh is one member of the press who is standing up for the rodeo clown.
“When the president of the United States more often than not connects with the American people on late-night comedy shows,” opined Rush Limbaugh on Monday morning, “What else can happen other than the diminishing of the office?”
I’ve recently asked myself the same question, as President Obama, who should be busy working on larger national issues, has taken time to comment on popular culture like MTV Jersey Shore star, Snooki, and her orange tan, what reality star Kim Kardashian is wearing and when rapper Kanye West goes on vacation. Sure, his comments on these celebrities have all been within the context of his speech, but why should the president of the United States care? Shouldn’t he be more focused on what’s happening in Congress and what national issues need to be addressed during his term?
Nevertheless, public outcry has been great, and in the meantime, rodeo has been put in the spotlight and not in a very good light. It’s time to redeem this good old country past time and put ourselves, rodeo clowns included, to a higher standard.
Whether it’s the popular opinion or not, this is just something I’m ruminating over today. What about you? Was the rodeo clown in the wrong? Or was it just a lame joke? Share your opinions with me at Amanda.Radke@live.com. ❖