A recent post from me entitled “Sarah Palin, My President” led to a frantic call from my lawyer, who prefers to remain anonymous where blatant acts of humor are involved. If a man can shudder over the telephone, he was shuddering. “How can you do this?” he wailed. “You made fun of a Republican! They are the most American of Americans. Just ask them.”
“Then they must revere freedom of speech,” I said. “It’s in the Constitution.”
“So is carrying a gun in your school lunchbox in Arizona. Listen, these folks control the House and the Supreme Court.”
I assured him that these are passing events. As a source of laughter, the right wing has no season. They are as constant as keeping minorities out of country clubs.
“Stop it!” he screamed. “They’ll be coming after you again. I hear them already in their Mercedes, pickups, tractors, and all- terrain vehicles.”
“They’re a diverse bunch,” I said calmly. “Considering that they want a general roundup of immigrants.”
“Why couldn’t you protect yourself? Just quote the right wing. Don’t use your own words. You can’t be sued for quoting.”
“Here’s a quote from Glenn Beck,” I said brightly. “‘You couldn’t get dumber than me.’ Is that okay?” I was musing about Mr. Beck, who used to have a comedy jam on Fox News before he was either fired or pulled a runner. Details are vague.
“That is certainly not what I mean,” my lawyer moaned. “Wait, who am I talking to? Is this Dr. Deepak Chopra?”
I hung up quickly. It was a question I dare not answer, since I have a hidden identity. It was supposed to remain under wraps, but Glenn Beck, wise to all conspiracies and shady business, is smoking me out, and many more like me. I quote (on the advice of counsel): “The masks are about to come off. They are all coming off. This is the moment,” Glenn said. “You are seeing so clearly where people stand.” He means lefties and liberals, who have been secretly avoiding notice by posting at such unlikely places as Huffington Post. Who would look for a liberal there?
I felt naked when Beck read my Palin parody aloud on his radio show. He took it literally — humor is considered unpatriotic on the right, excepting their own comics like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Beck himself. I have no choice but to find a new hidey-hole, perhaps at Fox News now that they’ll soon have a vacancy. It would be sheer hubris to think that I can fill Beck’s shoes. When commenting on the trend that takes ill Americans to India for cheaper medical procedures rather than getting the same surgery in this country (“where we have flush toilets”), Beck compared Indian doctors to cheap Gucci bags that can be bought on any street corner in New York, as opposed to the real thing.
So he’s actually my ally, as an American doctor. Oh, unless he’s my enemy, since I went to medical school in India. Now you can understand why I suffer from split personality. Maybe Fox will consider it no problem, given that Beck was once discussing racy sexual photos with a female correspondent and said, “I have some time and a camera.” When Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim member of Congress, appeared on his show, Beck said, “Prove to me you are not working with our enemies” (this quoting thing is getting to be fun).
From now on I promise to be only as funny as the right wing is every day, keeping faith with the truism that a great nation can afford to laugh at itself. I’ve been parodied many times, my favorite being “Deepak Car Talk.” It relieves the long commute down from Mount Olympus. And my heartfelt apologies to those who tweeted, in the wake of the Palin column, that I was unspiritual, unloving, a hypocrite, and full of s**t. In many poor parts of the world cow dung is dried and used for fuel.
Which proves that s**t can be turned into a source of light. At least I think that’s what the right wing is using it for.
Published by The San Francisco Chronicle