President Obama is apparently taking some heat for a joke he told about the Jonas Brothers at Saturday’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner:
A famous British actor once observed that “dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
A corollary might be that comedy can be especially hard when it comes from commanders-in-chief joking about the deaths they’re responsible for at times of war.
At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night, President Obama noted that in the audience were the Jonas brothers.
“Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” he said, “but boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming.”
The audience laughed approvingly but in the following days the joke has been met with a rising chorus of criticism — mainly from the Left.
After all, unmanned predator drone strikes have killed innocent civilians in Pakistan.
How many civilians? Unclear. Since the CIA’s predator drone program is top secret, little is known about it.
But writing in Foreign Policy, Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann have estimated that their data shows that from 2008 until December 2009, drone strikes have killed between 384 and 578 individuals, with most of them militants but between 35 and 40 percent of them innocent civilians. Senior administration officials contend that the number of civilian casualties is far fewer than that.
As the New Yorker reported last year, “the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force. And, because of the C.I.A. program’s secrecy, there is no visible system of accountability in place, despite the fact that the agency has killed many civilians inside a politically fragile, nuclear-armed country with which the U.S. is not at war.”
So given all that, should President Obama have made a joke about this program?
“Let’s be honest, fellow progressives,” the Philadelphia Daily News’ Will Bunch tweeted, “we’d be all over Bush if he made the same ‘predator drone’ joke Obama told last night.”
So is this justified outrage, or just a case of people being hyper-sensitive ? I
It’s obvious that Obama was using the presence of the tween-heartthrob boy band to make a joke about being the over-protective father. Personally, I thought it was funny.
Apparently, the Jonas Brothers felt otherwise:
Obama’s writers may have thought their quip about the Jonas Brothers during the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner was a nod to the boy band and their star power, but the brothers saw it as a jab.
Nick and Joe Jonas were spotted sulking in the corner at the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair after-party when Yeas & Nays asked what they thought of the joke.
“We’re not that old,” Nick Jonas told Yeas.
“Seriously, we’re not pedophiles,” Joe jumped in.
The Jonas crew was huffing over a joke the president made during his speech at the dinner.
“The Jonas Brothers are here … Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” the president started. “But, boys, don’t get any ideas, I have two words for you — predator drones,” he said.
The Jonas Brothers range in age from 17 to 22. Malia and Sasha are 12 and 9 respectively.
I still laughed at the joke.