Last week the four newly elected lefties on the Board of Supervisors were honored at a party at Temple. It was actually supposed to be a roast, but it was really a social experiment: Can a progressive majority laugh at itself?
The answer is no. No. It cannot.
Most of the presenters didn't seem to understand what a "roast" is, and spent most of their time talking about all the good their new supervisors would do for the most vulnerable members of our community. Ha ha ha!
One presenter, tenant activist Debra Walker, didn't seem to understand the very concept of "humor." Here's some of Walker's material, transcribed (nearly) verbatim, on board newcomer David Campos: "I work a lot with David on issues, and I worked on his campaign, so I am honored to be here to help you better understand our new district supervisor. David, as you know, immigrated here from Guatemala as a child with his family, and was undocumented up through high school. But even then, he made his family very nervous because he couldn't help speaking out about what's fair and what's right."
An absurdly large number of the "jokes" centered on bad-boy Supervisor Chris Daly — as though, when progressive activists know they need to say something not meant to be earnest and moralizing, all they can think of is that-thing-Daly-did. Freshman Supe John Avalos described the ever-competitive Daly "foaming at the mouth" to beat a 10-year-old girl at Guitar Hero.
For a group of politicos who just spent an entire election season trying to persuade voters that progressives aren't all about Chris Daly, it was a dismal showing. Even Avalos' wife recognized this when she blurted: "It's really hard to write this roast of John. It ends up being a roast of Chris Daly."
The event ended neither with a bang nor a whimper, but with a "unity clap," and if you don't know what that is, you don't need to. It's not nearly as exciting — or unifying — as it sounds. And it definitely isn't funny.