Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
HCP columnist

In this time of political and social divisions, one looks for humor and other things to lighten the mood.

In all honesty, I probably pay too close attention to the events of the day. I’ve always been interested in current events. Perhaps this was a natural occurrence given my love of history. Observing patterns and seeing how a variety of seemingly unconnected situations can coalesce and, in some cases, change the course of history has always been compelling for me.

Today, the sheer volume of watershed moments is staggering. For me, it means there is more need for humor and a temporary escape than I can possibly find. Further, some of the escape genres aren’t always working.

I was going through another one of my ‘disconnect from news phases and turned to some old standbys to provide lighthearted, good natured laughs. The "Mary Tyler Moore Show," "M*A*S*H" and "The Dick Van Dyke" all did their job. They took me back in time and provided a situational humor I could relate to. I could really escape for a while. Then, slowly, I moved into the present.

I sought some levity by tuning into one of the late-night comics and saw a skit that, at first blush, was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud. Then, after about 10 minutes, I got a sinking feeling inside my gut. I realized that sinking feeling was two-fold: first, I found myself laughing at people who were exhibiting their ignorance of the world and I didn’t feel very good about laughing at that.

Second, the lack of education that was on display was tragic. The skit involved a “person on the street” interview. The timing coincided with the recent summit in Vietnam between the United States and North Korea. The interviewer asked the unsuspecting passersby how they felt about President Trump granting North Korea statehood as the 51st state in the union.

Now, on its face, one can imagine this could be amusing. And, it was. Perhaps it would have remained amusing had any of the interviewees looked into the camera with an incredulous look and taken the interviewer to task. Instead, people wanted to appear knowledgeable and some discussed at length how they were feeling when they watched the announcement of the statehood declaration.

Of course, since the whole premise was sheer fabrication, the humor quickly faded when watching a few participants willingly display their lack of fundamental knowledge of the world around them. The sense of tragedy was compounded when no one seemed to have any real objections to North Korea being named the 51st state.

Sadness quickly took hold. I turned the television off and just sat there. It’s hard to know where to begin about how to dissect this little throw away skit and the American tragedy it depicted. Unfortunately, coming on the heels of this story I saw part of a GOP conference where many of the attendees cheered and applauded the death of John McCain. I guess modern day humor is eluding me all together.

I think I’ll have to stick to the older situation comedies and comedians for my escape. Today’s humor is too depressing.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise.