Should on-stage performers dumb it down for the people who aren't sophisticated enough to process humor?
I'm sure it's all very amusing for Madonna, who gets big publicity and looks "edgy" again. People call her stupid, and then she one-ups them and can seem — certainly to herself — to be quite smart. (Did you hear she has an IQ of 140? Same as Hillary Clinton. And Shakira.)
Others wielding humor have more to worry about. Like Romney with his "trees are just the right height" and, more recently, about those airplane windows that "don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that." People aren't going to get it if they don't want to get it, if they're looking for material to use to say you're an idiot.
And Romney can't make the Madonna move and call his antagonists dumb. Mitt Romney — who, like Madonna, was born in Michigan, where the trees are just the right height — has an estimated IQ in the range of 130 to 139, which is smart enough to choose whether to dumb it down in self-defense.
ADDED: Look at how Paul Ryan's antagonists are trying to hurt him by pretending not to get his sense of humor. Are they stupid or pretending to be stupid? Tobin Harshaw writes:
There is no underestimating the literal-mindedness of the American reader: Years ago when I worked at the Times we published a satirical op-ed column by Steve Martin riffing on the idea that a NASA Mars probe had discovered millions of kittens on the Red Planet. Shortly thereafter, a subscriber sent a terse letter to the editor asking us to "inform your science correspondent" that the lack of oxygen on Mars made kitten infestation highly unlikely.Wait. Why is Harshaw assuming the letter-writer wasn't doing humor?
AND: Wait. Ryan never even made those "Stench" remarks. A Politico writer made them up and intended it as satire. I thought they were good enough jokes to be believable as the casual humor of a relatively young man, and I would have appreciated them as such. Harshaw is attacking Ryan's antagonists as so hostile that they didn't pick up that it was humor. I didn't pick up that it was humor, and I was defending Ryan. That's all very odd.
ALSO: I like the way Drudge is putting it: "MEDIA 'SATIRE' HIT PIECE ON PAUL RYAN BACKFIRES.../O'Donnell, Krugman 'fooled'..." Drudge is, I think, insinuating that Politico's Roger Simon intended to be misunderstood, for the Ryan quotes to be believed, and then to reveal that it was satire after the damage was done.
MORE: Fake quotes live on as real. Remember Sarah Palin's most famous quote: "I can see Russia from my house."