You see, we had our column filed early this week because we had holiday visitors and knew that it was going to be an extra long weekend. In a rare moment of responsibility, we decided to turn in this week’s column on Friday morning, and then headed out the door, putting work behind us.
So you can imagine our disappointment when the editors of the Ledger/Star called and woke us Monday evening at 5 p.m. and asked if we had watched Saturday Night Live this week. “Of course we hadn’t,” we replied, we haven’t watched SNL since John Candy left the cast (or was that SCTV), and besides, we have lives (sort of).
They directed us to watch the “Weekend Update” segment online, and you can imagine our horror when we realized that the writers for SNL must have gotten their hands on an early transcript of our column and lifted it nearly verbatim. That’s the only way to explain how one skit could have so closely matched our weekly discourse for the 12/18 issue of this rag, which utterly and ruthlessly spoofed on New York State Governor David Paterson’s blindness, affinity for white powdery substances, and marital infidelities.
Oh, the jokes we made! Holding something upside down? We had that! (Except it was copy of the Pol Position page, but close enough.) Ridiculous criteria for picking a replacement for Hillary Clinton? Check! (Only our criteria included tight gams, an entry on IMDB, and a killer recipe for butternut squash brownies. That’s Fran Drescher, people! Fran-effin’-Drescher!) And Paterson wandering aimlessly and getting in the way? No, we didn’t have that. (It was just plain mean.)
Well, as it turns out, SNL actually did us quite the favor over here at Pol Position. Apparently, making fun of somebody’s disability is generally frowned upon by society-at-large and a big no-no, as evidenced by the number of outraged and disappointed statements from local leaders we found in our inbox when we were finally able to check our email Monday. Here were a couple of our favorites:
While elected officials are certainly fair game for comedy routines (you mean in addition to their regular daily activities? Zing!), SNL opted for cheap, grade-school style mockery over the clever commentary and creative spoofs it has often used to great effect in the past. – Assemblyman Mark Weprin
"As public officials (and private citizens, especially), we welcome the mocking and joking performers provide for levity, but the performance mocking Governor David Paterson's blindness on Saturday Night Live's “Weekend Update” sketch went too far. – State Senator Eric Adams
"Diets sodas are full of substances that can cause all sorts of problems, obesity the least of them. Obesity taxes are a tricky issue, even when we desperately need revenue, but this plan would only trade sugary liquid for a batch of dangerous chemicals." – Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.
So it seems that Pol Position really dodged a bullet here. A couple of more days, and it could have been us up against this political firing squad. Seeing the err of our ways, we would like to take this opportunity to also strongly condemn the folks over at SNL, but even more so, for some reason we can’t quite put our finger on, diet soda.
And while were at it, we are going to engage in even more finger-wagging on behalf of the good men and women whose names have been bandied about as a possible replacement for HRC. If you’ll remember, SNL goofed that New York’s new senator would have a flimsy grasp on the economy, a disability of some sort, and be woefully unqualified to assume the position.
Shame on you, Lorne Michaels. Shame. On. You.
As far as we know, neither Caroline Kennedy nor Andrew Cuomo fits this description, and we think it is incredibly insensitive of you to suggest that they would, as well as to completely overlook the obvious shortcomings that they both possess in your merciless attempt to earn an easy laugh from the residents of places like Montgomery, Alabama, who are no doubt as outraged by your “Weekend Update” skit as Pol Position, although primarily because they have no idea who David Paterson is and are under the impression that they are the ones being made fun of by some slick New York City television producer. They are simple, Mr. Michaels, but they are not stupid.
Now that we got that righteous indignation out of our system, we want to give credit to one lady who knew when to get out of the running right before this whole Senate replacement process became a big media circus: Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
Yes, when rumors first began to swirl that HRC would be named the new Secretary of State, there was much speculation that Velazquez, who represents Brooklyn and Queens, could be named her replacement.
Well, on Friday, Velazquez officially pulled herself from the race, preferring to be a big dog in the House rather than a junior senator.
Let’s see, Kennedy, Cuomo, Velazquez? Yeah, she didn’t have a chance.