By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: Finding the humor in politics of 2023

Beckett and Moliere, even Shakespeare, were virtuosos of farce, a genre passed down to the likes of Mel Brooks and Monty Python. Chaucer, Swift and Voltaire all excelled at satire, much later celebrated in the works of Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut.

There’s a sometimes fine-line difference, as described on the Indian teaching platform, Vedantu:

Farce uses “highly exaggerated scenarios … to the point that they become implausible … with slapstick humor featuring stupid acts, unpleasant situations and filthy jokes.” Satire employs “humor, irony, wit and exaggeration … as a literary device that primarily ridicules its topic as an intended way of provoking or preventing change. Farce focuses on ‘what occurs’ … Satire focuses on particular persons to ridicule.”

It’s hard to say which writing style is best suited to portray the politics of 2023.

Donald Trump, facing 37 counts of mishandling secret records, still swears he can retroactively declassify documents with his mind. Hunter Biden, who bootstrapped his way to riches while addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine, is taking a plea deal designed to keep him out of prison.

Farce, or Satire?

Former Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan took a side gig making $10,000 a month from a marijuana company seeking licenses in other states. When exposed, she resigned, and we learned that the salary for Oregon’s secretary of state was $77,000, compared to $99,000 for the city manager of Willamina (no disrespect intended).

Satire, or Farce?

Since April, the National Republican Congressional Committee has issued tri-weekly email assaults on Val Hoyle, Oregon’s new congresswoman from the 4th District. So far, the NRCC has labeled Hoyle as “unethical, extreme, gaslighting, eco-activist, unpopular, out-of-touch, reckless, crooked, shameful anti-police, coddling criminals, liar, hypocrite, and bank-rolled by a foreign billionaire’s dark money conspiracy.”

Hoyle hasn’t responded to the take-no-prisoners campaign being waged nationwide by the NRCC against dozens of potentially vulnerable Democrats. Farce, or Satire?

In 2022, Oregon voters rejected Senate or House walk-out strategies by approving a one-term ban from re-election for legislators with too many unexcused absences. Republican senators ignored that threat, walked out for 42 days, and now claim immunity from sanctions due to dimwitted language in the ballot measure itself.

Satire, Farce, or both?

There’s an abundance of great material in 2023 politics for both satire and farce, all waiting for writers talented enough to turn life’s absurdities into entertaining humor. Unfortunately, however, much of today’s political discourse and proceedings are destined to play out as dramatic tragedy.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

So Nancy Pelosi has stated she supports term limits for SCOTUS -- but says nothing about Congress or the Senate. Neither farce nor satire -- just extremely hypocritical -- and facetiously sad!


Nothing hypocritical about it, Don.
In the case of the House, where Pelosi serves, members are subject to a voter referendum every two years. Members serve only as long as their constituents let them.
In the case of Supreme Court justices, once appointed by any president any time, they serve for as long as they remain breathing. They never have to face any voter referendum ever.
Big difference. Crucial difference, in fact.
Office for life is awarded only to federal judges. Maybe it shouldn't be.

Don Dix

Pelosi's argument is about SCOTUS receiving 'freebies' on the down low, as if only SCOTUS has that prospect/advantage. She is the poster child of the term limit conversation (along with others), based on her time in office and growth in personal wealth during that time -- but her complaint isn't hypocritical? --- Right!


The voters conduct a referendum on her ethics and performance every two years. They can replace her any time they so choose.
Not so with judges elevated to the court in their 40s and serving into their 90s. It's a lifetime appointment, on which voters never get a say.
Totally different situations. Not a whit of comparability.


Steve from the top rope!!! Don Dix is down for the count. 1-2-3 match over


Trump and Biden are fictions, invented by early DARPA versions of ChatGPT4. Their stories are principally made-up by computers who hire the best actors in the world to dance upon the stage like a fool, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."


So the computers hire actors? Umm… ok.
I think it’s more likely that computers made up the story you now believe.

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