By Les Linz
Stephen Colbert inspires me.
He is not a Trump fan, but while recently commenting humorously on his disdain for the president wished him the best, in all sincerity — respecting the office of commander in chief.
I am not a Colbert fan but respect his respect. He shows America it’s possible to agree to disagree agreeably.
If we cannot laugh at ourselves, especially during these trying times, what hope is there?
To that end, remember this. You heard it from your grammar school teacher first: “There is no such thing as a dumb question (except the one that isn’t asked).”
Questions are great. They cause us to think, whether we are asking or answering them.
God’s first question to man is reported in the third chapter of Genesis (verse 9), where he queries Adam as to where he (Adam) is — this after the first man of fame fails to obey God’s directions. An all-knowing God knew where Adam was. He wanted him to answer the question so he (Adam) would know about both his own shortcomings and God’s sovereignty.
In like manner, back in the early ’60s, Bob Dylan (and Peter, Paul and Mary) had some questions for us, too, and additionally explained where their answers could be found: “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
That bears a further query: What questions posed in song help us better understand our politics and the rest of the world around us? To wit — Questions from the Songs. We will laugh at both Republicans and Democrats and just things in general, too. Let’s start with our president.
Those who worry about a post-election scenario see him singing this song: “Should I stay or should I go?” (The Clash) They think of his previous exploits and envision him singing “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me?” (The Bellamy Brothers)
His detractors perceive his feelings about the press with “Do you really want to hurt me?” (Culture Club) and see him regularly questioning “When Will I Be Loved?” (Linda Ronstadt) Voters who see him as egotistical hear him hum (as he looks in the mirror) “Have I told you lately that I love you?” (Rod Stewart)
And the president’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, no doubt sings “Who Let the Dogs Out?” (Baha Men)
Meanwhile, some hear Trump’s postmaster on Nov. 3 howling “Will you still love me tomorrow?” (The Shirelles) At the same time, they can just hear the Electoral College raise a rousing chorus of “Do you feel — like we do?” (Peter Frampton)
And speaking of “all the president’s men,” Chuck Schumer releases a trio of hits for his adoring fans: “How long — has this been going on?” (Ace), “Can I get a witness?” (Marvin Gaye) and “Who can it be now?” (Men at Work).
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, Schumer’s right-hand girl, croons that song from the smash hit “Hair,” “Oh say can you see — by my eyes, if you can, then my hair’s too short?” (Galt MacDermot) and follows up with what she sings to the mirror, “Isn’t she lovely?” (Stevie Wonder)
At nearly the same time, the Democratic presidential candidate’s son brings the house down with “Oh where oh where can my baby be?” (J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers) while dad Joe does a medley:
“Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?” (The Lovin’ Spoonful … in fairness, John Kerry was the original artist); Senior Biden further sings, “Where is my Mind?” (The Pixies), “Who are you?” (The Who), “How can you mend a broken heart” (and — singing of Trump — “How can a loser ever win?”) (Bee Gees); “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” (Chicago) The senator’s album is not complete until Diana Ross polishes it off with “Do You Know Where You’re Going To?”
And now, as promised, some questions about our society in general.
Though it is true you need to be an adult in order to serve in either Senate or Congress, those who do serve were at one time teenagers, and they do have a unique perspective on life that is born out in song, like “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (Janet Jackson) and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers) which reminds me of a personal experience.
When my high school girlfriend and I were at her home one day, her grandparents wielded their key and caught us unawares (clothed, but romantic). Their response, “Two darn fools, trying to make one.”
And then there’s coronavirus.
“All the Lonely People — Where Do They All Come From? All the Lonely People — Where Do They All Belong?” (The Beatles) Well, they are the ones who haven’t been coming to church or going to funerals (except online). They are the ones who have been meeting via Skype and the like.
And who can forget Zero Mostel singing “Do You Love Me” in “Fiddler on the Roof?”
Truly, if you have survived quarantine with your other without killing them, complaining about halitosis or flipping the covers over their head while you experience corona-related gorge flatulence, you’ll make it.
Then there’s the song concerning the honorable mention from the Artificial Intelligence column (AccuWeather) as their star meteorologists sing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) to which the answer is no from the folks who brought you 25-hour-long days.
As we conclude, there are two final song questions that give rise to hope. The first is a duet between Israel and Iran, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” (War) and the most important one of all, “Is That All There Is?” (Peggy Lee).
Here’s a suggestion to help answer that question: Read the Rev. Jeremy Myers’ columns in The Tribune and find out.
Les Linz is a Seymour resident who writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his amazon.com author page. Send comments to [email protected]