Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, May 23, 2021
ISSUE #1064
Alienating Customers. Joke-telling and Golf Require Skill

Back in the old days, entertainers and businesses usually tried to attract as many friends and customers as possible. That didn’t mean everyone liked you. And a business might ignore or reject a small percentage of the population.

But now it’s common to turn off half or more of potential clients and audiences. Coke, American Airlines, Nike, Major League Baseball, and late-night hosts on TV, for example, are living with the results.

You may remember that the U.S. passed the 18th Amendment prohibiting liquor production and sale in 1920. That did not mean people stopped drinking; bootleggers filled the vacuum. Liquor flowed freely despite the attempts by federal “revenuers” to destroy moonshine stills and stop the rumrunners. After 13 years, the U.S. did something never done before or since: the 21st Amendment was passed to cancel the 18th.

Will Rogers was in his prime as an entertainer and columnist during Prohibition. So, did he “pick a side?” No, he kidded both “wets” and “drys,” as they were called. And both sides laughed. He often joked that people “vote dry but drink wet.”

Here are two of hundreds of his comments:

“The South is dry and will vote dry. That is, everybody that is sober enough to stagger to the polls will.” (DT #66, Oct. 28, 1926)

“Just let the bootleggers alone; they are getting so prosperous they are drinking each other’s wares now, so they will gradually kill each other off.” (WA #42, Sept. 30, 1923)

Will Rogers was a skilled humorist; President Biden is not. You may have seen where he messed up a punchline in his speech at graduation ceremonies for the Coast Guard. I won’t pile on the President because very few people are consistently good at humor. There is one advantage of his jokes falling flat; some of us won’t be irritated as often by the “unusual” laugh of our Vice-President.

I will hit him on his choice of pipelines to approve. Why cancel one that supports the U.S. and Canada because of global warming, but approve one that benefits Russia?

Today, on Kiawah Island in South Carolina, 50-year-old lefty, Phil Michelson, won the PGA golf tournament. You might say he won one for all the old golfers. His win inspires talented young folks too. If you stay in shape or get in shape, physically and mentally, you too can be a winner. Even if you’re left-handed.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“From what I can gather from everyone I talk with, things are definitely picking up. If they just get more folks to working, there is no way to stop this country. Just quit listening to the politicians…. The Constitution will remain as is. The Russians are not going to take us. Everywhere I have been there is a fine feeling. Let folks quit arguing over who did it, or didn’t do it; just join in it.” WA #655, July 14, 1935

“I had heard (golf) called an old man’s game. Every one of (the players) looked big and strong enough to work at something. Now I am not going to make the mistake of the usual fool, just because I don’t play the game, and tell you that there is nothing to it. There is skill in anything. Spitting at a crack don’t get much recognition among the Arts, but you just try to hit one sometime and you will never laugh at another spitter again.” WA #163, Jan. 24, 1926

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