There are some situations in the news just begging to be mocked. One such example was the report that snowflake social justice warrior students at Reed College in Oregon objected to one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits ever performed: Steve Martin singing “King Tut” in 1978. The song even became a hit single that sold a million copies and hit the Top 40 on the radio.
Four decades ago, Egypt sent its Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit to America. The traveling exhibit was so wildly popular with the public that it was inevitable there would be some commercialization in the form of King Tut T-shirts and other items.
As a result, comedian Steve Martin appeared on SNL to claim that he thought it was a “national disgrace the way we have commercialized it with trinkets and toys, T-shirts and posters. And about three months ago I was up in the woods and I wrote a song. I tried to use the ancient modalities and melodies and I would like to do it for you right now. Maybe we can all learn something from this.” Martin then went into one of the most hilarious skits of all times using “ancient modalities and melodies” that sounded suspiciously like jazzy rock music:
Of course, the normal reaction to that skit has to be a hearty bellylaugh. Emphasis on “normal” because to the not normal social justice warrior students at Reed College, it triggered them into anger because the snowflakes somehow detected racism in the skit. Actually their anger over the skit was almost as funny as the skit itself. As a result, with one notable exception, most of the reports about their King Tut skit angst had a distinct tone of mockery such as this Moonbattery story:
Good thing Steve Martin came along before it was a thought crime to have a sense of humor:
…For moonbattery at its most Jacobinic, there is no better place to look than a college located in Portland, Oregon.
Steve Trevelise at New Jersey 101.5 wrote:
I miss the time when we could actually make fun of each other and laugh about it. There’s an intimacy in that that I feel actually brings people together. I’m guessing these kids never grew up on a city street corner. I can’t wait to go to the next Reed College comedy night and hear some great politically correct humor. I would be surprised to know that it actually existed.
That is pretty much the tone of the vast majority of the reports. The big exception comes from the periodical that originally reported on this story on November 2, Atlantic magazine. It seems as if their writer, Chris Bodenner, was too timid to cast mocking aspersions upon the Reed College snowflakes when he wrote with absolutely no sense of the absurd:
At Reed College, a small liberal-arts school in Portland, Oregon, a 39-year-old Saturday Night Live skit recently caused an uproar over cultural appropriation. In the classic Steve Martin skit, he performs a goofy song, “King Tut,” meant to satirize a Tutankhamun exhibit touring the U.S. and to criticize the commercialization of Egyptian culture. You could say that his critique is weak; that his humor is lame; that his dance moves are unintentionally offensive or downright racist. All of that, and more, was debated in a humanities course at Reed.
But many students found the video so egregious that they opposed its very presence in class. “That’s like somebody … making a song just littered with the n-word everywhere,” a member of Reedies Against Racism (RAR) told the student newspaper when asked about Martin’s performance. She told me more: The Egyptian garb of the backup dancers and singers—many of whom are African American—“is racist as well. The gold face of the saxophone dancer leaving its tomb is an exhibition of blackface.”
Actually, Chris, YOU could say that his humor is lame. Most normal folks found it hilarious which is why that Steve Martin skit has remained a comedy classic. And his dance moves are “downright racist?” What? Do you actually think ancient Egyptians will be offended? Next, they’ll all be triggered by the Bangles video for “Walk Like An Egyptian.”
My advice to Mr. Bodenner is to relax and try to forget about offending the snowflakes. Perhaps then he will be comfortable enough to do what his body and mind are begging him to do… Join the rest of us by bursting out laughing at one of the funniest skits of all time.
This post originally appeared on NewsBusters