Al Franken came to give a talk at Cal Tech this past week, promoting his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them”. After his talk, a lot of fanboys and fangirls lined up to pose mostly laudatory and adoring “questions,” so I decided to be more critical.
I said, “Good evening, Mr.Franken. Toward the end of your book, you tell about your ambivalent feelings about the then-impending Iraq war, even to the extent of doing a show for ClearChannel and cracking jokes about the Dixie Chicks. A lot of us don’t like ClearChannel, especially in light of the recent FCC decision. So, have you changed or moderated your views, about ClearChannel or about the war?”
Franken replied drily, “The ClearChannel concert was satirical.”
He then read from that chapter of his book, using his voice to make it as funny as possible, and then said, “I think it’s clear that that show never happened. I was making the point that we were all being deceived, directly or indirectly. Did you really think that was true?” All I could do was shrug my shoulders and feel like just as much a big fat idiot as Rush Limbaugh.
Later, another audience member came forward and told Al, “That man told me his question was also satirical.” Al replied, “So was my answer.” Then, in a more serious vein, he added, “I figured that out about halfway through.”
(Actually, it wasn’t true. My question really was serious, not satirical. I didn’t even know that other audience member, let alone talk to him.)
So, I got whooshed and sorta made fun of by a celebrity. But I am comforted by the thought that he may believe he got whooshed by me.