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Mar 11 2014

Abraham Lincoln had no sense of humor. Well known fact.

Obama appeared on the awkward comedy show, Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, to plug the affordable care act. Fine; it’s an angle.

The right wingers are cranky about it, as represented here by Bill O’Reilly:

oreilly_humorcritic

Because, as a published historian like O’Reilly knows, Lincoln had no sense of humor and never told a joke.

42 comments

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  1. 1
    Alverant

    It’s really simple. Democrats elect people who TELL jokes. Republicans elect people who ARE jokes.

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    Abe Lincoln joked about the conduct of the Civil War.

    DURING the Civil War.

    Abe Lincoln would beat O’Reilly’s ass with a split rail.

  3. 3
    Ze Madmax

    From the second link about Lincoln (http://www.alincoln-library.com/abraham-lincoln-jokes.shtml), the following is listed as one of Lincoln’s jokes:

    “Labour is prior to, and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

    I don’t see how that’s a joke. Am I missing something?

  4. 4
    anteprepro

    But you know who WOULD show up on a comedy show? Hitler!

  5. 5
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Randomfactor #2

    Abe Lincoln would beat O’Reilly’s ass with a split rail.

    His weapon of choice was, I am reliably informed, an axe.

  6. 6
    anteprepro

    Ze Madmax:

    I don’t see how that’s a joke. Am I missing something?

    Hey, I was going to say the same thing! I don’t know how that’s a joke either.

  7. 7
    Jafafa Hots

    Y’know what Abe Lincoln did that O”Reilly wouldn’t have?

    Emancipation Proclamation.

  8. 8
    tuibguy

    I don’t think that Ronald Reagan would tell a joke either, nothing like “The bombing will begin in five minutes.” No sir, no way would Reagan ever do that.

  9. 9
    mikeyb

    Just illustrates Obama derangement syndrome in action once again. Gotta find new utterly trivial insignificant insipid mind boggling petty ways to despise the black man in the White House.

  10. 10
    microraptor

    If OReilly really wants to play the “Abe Lincoln wouldn’t have done this” card, I’m pretty sure that Abe Lincoln wouldn’t have started a war with Iraq.

  11. 11
    Holms

    I am certain that this will turn up in either the Colbert Report, the Daily Show, or both.

  12. 12
    Jafafa Hots

    Anyway, though Abe was funny enough as a kid, he kind of lost his sense of humor after constantly having to fight vampires.

  13. 13
    ivarhusa

    The Daily Show did a great show with Fox Judge Andrew Napolitano this week, on the subject of Lincoln. They had a game show segment called “Weakest Linc-oln”. The judge gets shown to be an ass quite badly, and so authoritatively. Yet I doubt many of his fan bois among Fox viewers will see or understand how seriously he fails as a historian.

  14. 14
    unclefrogy

    I find it impossible to imagine any republican say anything even remotely similar to the Lincoln quote about labor any time soon.
    no way do I want to listen to Bill O
    uncle frogy

  15. 15
    Silentbob

    @ 3 Ze Madmax, 6 anteprepro

    Maybe because it’s a Republican saying workers should be shown some consideration, they assumed he must be joking.
    ;-)

  16. 16
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    Almost as if Lincoln had Bill O in mind there, then!

  17. 17
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I would also note that Lincoln was severely castigated for telling jokes when the nation was bleeding. He was dismissed as a clown, a circus freak and famously by George McClelland anticipating Ted Nugent as “the original gorilla”.

    There have always been imbeciles who think you cannot be a serious person if you make people laugh. These are usually people who think they, themselves are very serious men–probably because the laughter they engender usually occurs behind their backs.

  18. 18
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Obama has been interviewed by O’Reilly, so we already knew he’s not above talking to clowns on low-rent joke networks.

  19. 19
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Ze Madmax @3:

    I don’t see how that’s a joke. Am I missing something?

    To the modern GOP, that quote is absolutely hilarious. Workers being important! Hilarious.

  20. 20
    Seize

    AFAIK Lincoln on labor and capital is not a joke — perhaps a copy/paste mistake? Unless there’s some pun here that escapes both my Google abilities and my modern vocabulary.

  21. 21
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Ooh, are we making up things Abe Lincoln wouldn’t do? Here’s some more:

    Abraham Lincoln would never have worn a lampshade as a hat whilst singing Schubert lieder.
    Abraham Lincoln would never have stood on one leg in the White House bathroom.
    Abraham Lincoln would never have danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.
    Abraham Lincoln would never have watched American Idol.

  22. 22
    illdoittomorrow

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” -Lincoln

    Funny, I always thought that was Mark Twain for some reason. Either way, Billo, he may as well have been talking to you.

  23. 23
    gussnarp

    Obama did pretty well there. I think it was easy since he had a store of anger to draw on at the people who actually say that kind of thing about him in all seriousness.

  24. 24
    duce7999

    It clearly depends on the type of comedy. If it is a skit, then that is objectively wrong, but if it is stand up comedy like the White House Press Correspondents Dinner or the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner then that is objectively right. It seriously couldn’t be more obvious…

  25. 25
    benjdm

    Obama humorously participated on the Colbert Report in 2009:

    “Wait a second, you overheard? Are your spy satellites really that good?”
    “No, but my ears are really that big.”
    http://gawker.com/5284223/barack-obama-orders-the-shaving-of-stephen-colberts-head

  26. 26
    cswella
    “Labour is prior to, and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

    I don’t see how that’s a joke. Am I missing something?

    From what I understand, the joke is more of a sarcastic quip in favor of labour unions. Imagine someone railing against unions, claiming they hurt capitalism; with a wry smile, throw that phrase at them.

  27. 27
    Alexander

    @26 cswella:

    Exactly so. Lincoln was elected under the mantle of “Republican”, but his politics were much more of a modern Democratic platform:

    Lincoln was speaking now of a broader concern: his fear that the few who were possessed of capital might, in a time of turbulence, seek to bend the rule of law—diminishing the historic respect for the rights of man outlined by Lincoln’s hero Tom Paine in order to favor their interests above those of the great many Americans who toiled for wages, or the fees paid farmers. “No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not honestly earned,” the president warned. “Let them beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely be used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be lost.”

    Source; the quotation from Lincoln is from his 1861 State of the Union Address, which is also the source of the Labor/Capital quotation.

  28. 28
    gmacs

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    I’ve always hated that one, though. Sure, you look a fool momentarily, but you learn. I’ve learned plenty of things by being corrected after saying something stupid.

  29. 29
    aaronbaker

    This is a good response to the execrable Mr. O’Reilly:

    http://www.nomoremister.blogspot.com/2014/03/newsflash-bill-oreilly-who-wrote-book.html

  30. 30
    loreo

    Note how religious people love proclaiming what dead people would or wouldn’t do.

    All of the thrill of borrowing their authority without the risk of them refuting you.

  31. 31
    Bruce Braden

    I wouldn’t trust Bill O’Reilly to know or tell me what Abe Lincoln actually did, let alone what Lincoln would do today. Lincoln had a sense of humor. That can be seen in his poetry. The “Bear Hunt” seems appropriate here: “Who draws first blood, each hunter knows this prize always wins. But who did this, and how to trace what’s true from what’s a lie…Aforesaid fice of blustering mood…just now emerging…swears as plain as dog can swear that he has won the skin. Conceited whelp! we laugh at thee, nor mind that not a few of pompous, two-legged dogs there be, conceited quite as you.”

  32. 32
    scienceavenger

    Meh. O’Reilly probably thinks Lincoln was a gangsta rapper like Jay Z. Ignorance goes in, ignorance goes out, neer a miscommunication.

  33. 33
    robro

    cswella @#26 — I don’t get the Lincoln quote as joke either, maybe you had to be there, though I would guess that he was poking fun at the capitalists of his day, who much like now devalue “labor” meaning work. However, I find it difficult to believe that Lincoln was speaking of “labor unions.” Labor unions didn’t exist in the US until after the mid-19th century.

  34. 34
    robro

    Bill O’Reilly — America’s answer to the ludicrous shortage. Thanks to his efforts and those of his fellow and former Fox Nuts, America has achieved ludicrous independence so that we are no longer dependent on importing foreign ludicrousness.

  35. 35
    skeptifem

    The real question is if lincoln would buy a vibrator

  36. 36
    busterggi

    skeptifem @ 35 – no, of course not. Batteries weren’t invented yet. Hence women back then had to make do with Lincoln Logs – notched for her pleasure.

  37. 37
    skeptifem

    I’m not the only one who remembers his sexual harassment scandal, right?

  38. 38
    Marc Abian

    #37

    Lincoln never had such a scandal. Take your America bashing to another site, commie.

    But yes, I do remember, but didn’t get your #35 until you posted #37

  39. 39
    unclefrogy

    robro I thought 1860′s after mid 19th century maybe you meant late 19 century.
    pointless quibble.

    I can’t equate Bill O with being religious though I do agree with the reference.
    uncle frogy

  40. 40
    knowknot

    Pure brilliance on Obama’s part. An appearance that was “beneath his station,” that he knew would spread a message he believes in (¡in modern day America!), managed with precisely the kind of in-your-face toughness (for these purposes and it this context it doesn’t matter if it was staged) that the same people who are freaking out because he did something “beneath his station” say he doesn’t have. And still, by going through the back door like this (knowing that the fact that people actually watch it makes it a front door in reality) he manages to make the point that he means what he says… while just plain getting the message out.
    |
    The level of humor combined with purpose here is almost transcendent. For that, it may be worthy of real history.

  41. 41
    richcon

    Thanks Bill for pointing out the amazing fact that Abraham Lincoln never appeared on an Internet comedy skit. I wouldn’t have known.

  42. 42
    Sili

    “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” -Lincoln

    Funny, I always thought that was Mark Twain for some reason. Either way, Billo, he may as well have been talking to you.

    Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

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