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The Silent Generation and comedy
#1
Resuscitated from the Obituaries Forum on the old T4T Forum

The Silent Generation will be best known in American culture for comedy which is well recorded because the whole adult lifespan of the Silent is largely recorded. Good comedy remains useful to life. With comedy, something that people just don't do well late in life because when the timing goes so does the comedy... it really is over.

With the Silent, comedy is largely self-effacing, and it is exactly what people need if life is to avoid becoming unduly formal. Think not only of Johnny Carson, but also Andy Griffith, John Winters. Leslie Nielsen, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Joan Rivers, Alan King, Tim Conway, George Carlin, Jerry Lewis, Flip Wilson, Bill Cosby, Mary Tyler Moore, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise, Woody Allen, Michael Palin, Graham Cleese, Richard Pryor... they kept America from being excessively reverential to flawed GIs and as shrill and strident as Boomers. As they die off or can no longer do comedy, we get more in-your-face stuff characteristic of Boomers and Generation X. Such can be funny, but it is unlikely to create empathy.

To be sure there were great GI comedians (Morey Amsterdam, Minnie Pearl, Gracie Allen, Henny Youngman, Lucille Ball, Don Knotts, Bill Dana, Don Adams)... but the next Golden Age of Comedy is likely to appear soon after the 4T ends.

Howe and Strauss didn't catch it or at least didn't write about it. The disappearance of the Silent from the comedy stage likely ensures that comedy will not smooth such gaps of generation and region as there now are.

Addendum: Don Rickles could really needle people. Of course I would never encourage anyone to try his sort of comedy in a public setting; it fits people tending to get too big for their britches, as in Hollywood.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#2
Just a reminder -- one of the best of the lot, Gene Wilder is no longer with us.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#3
And now Don Rickles, master of the insult of people too big for their breeches. I would not like to be the butt of his jokes, but some people certainly deserve to be. Donald Trump is a prime example.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#4
But we have some late night boomers and Xers doing pretty well, especially at Trump's expense. Certainly I have shown enough of their videos here to make the point.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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