And now that the dust has settled, I think this is a good time to offer my (Canadian) two cents. To be transparent, I briefly met and corresponded with Shel Israel and quite like him, find him kind, smart and thoroughly enjoyed Naked Conversations. I have never met Loren Feldman, but I was entertained by him during one of the panel sessions at Mesh 2007 in Toronto.
First off I have a question: as with the current political situation, why is it always about Israel?
Second, a comment. It’s just a joke, folks. A tempest in a blogspot. I’ve watched the videos and have read some of Shel’s posts, as well as posts from people lining up on both sides and, quite frankly, I don’t understand what the fuss is all about.
There are certainly a lot more pressing issues in the world (one would hope).
(Though not for me, I guess.)
The thing is, the puppet is funny, albeit in a sick, edgy way. But isn’t that what satire is all about? Isn’t lampooning one of comedy’s great traditions? National Lampoon, Spy Magazine, Mad Magazine, Celebrity Roasts, Saturday Night Live and even Ed the Sock (a distant cousin to this joke perhaps?) are classic examples.
And isn’t imitation a form of flattery?
It didn’t take politicians long to learn that if they’re able to laugh at themselves, people will gain a bit more respect (tolerance?) for them. Look back (waaay back) to Richard Nixon’s Sockitome on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In or, more recently, Amy Poehler doing Hilary Clinton next to Hilary on SNL. (Sorry, I couldn’t find the videos, but if someone can, please let me know.)
So, what would I have done if the sock were on another foot and this happened to me?
I would both laugh at and embrace the joke. I’d ask the puppet for an interview (publicly; on my blog). I’d have a bit of fun with the situation (maybe make my own sock and issue a challenge for a sock hop or something like that). Become part of the routine.
But there’s certainly no point in getting all self-righteous about it. That only works to your detriment and portrays you as a sore loser. It also prolongs the agony. As communicators, we should know that.
Well, as the peace continues, I wonder if the sock may be looking for a new target.
If so, I’d like to say: I’m ready for my close-up, Loren.