Column: The principle of making Obama jokes

A school principal in La Vergne, Tennessee, recently wrote a humor column that poked fun at Jeffersons
President-elect Obama and found himself in so much hot water, he decided that it would be wise, as well as efficient, to skip his weekly bath.

Stephen Lewis, principal of Rock Springs Elementary, has been writing a weekly humor column for The Murfreesboro Post for about two years. In fact, it would be accurate to say that he’s the Post’s principal humor columnist.

But he was virtually unknown outside his county until he wrote his post-election column, in which he did something rather original: created a parody of “The Jeffersons” theme song. In his version, Obama was “movin’ on up … to a deee-luxe pimp pad,” “jetting with P. Diddy” and “chewin’ on the government fat.” Obama’s supporters and others found it extremely offensive, naturally, that Lewis would even suggest that Obama hangs out with P. Diddy. (Never mind that 10-year-old Malia Obama wears a T-shirt that says “Daddy loves Diddy.”)

P. Diddy, for those of you who don’t know, is the stage name of a popular rap artist and should not be confused with Diddy P., the question I ask whenever I check my little son’s diaper.

Most readers, in truth, didn’t mind the Diddy reference, but were outraged by the racial stereotypes that a school principal, of all people, had resorted to. Lewis was soon apologizing to just about everyone: readers, parents, teachers, school board members and pimps. He’ll be lucky if he’s able to retain his job, his column and his title of “Funniest Principal Alive.” (He was also in the running for “Sexiest Principal Alive,” but for the 30th consecutive year, it went to Victoria Principal.)

When a student misbehaves, he’s sent to the principal’s office. When a principal misbehaves, he should be sent to the student’s office. Most students don’t have offices, of course. They have lockers. I’m sure a student wouldn’t mind keeping Lewis inside one for a few hours. He’d learn his lesson pretty quickly, especially if it’s a typical male student’s locker, filled with books, sneakers and the scent of a never-washed pair of gym socks.

But if we really want to punish Lewis, we should get him to spend the next few months reading all the Internet comments his column provoked:

CoolDude3129: “What an idiot! He shouldn’t have apologized. I don’t see how it’s racist to make jokes about Obama, especially when making jokes about President Bush is a national sport.”

EbonyGoddess543: “It’s not a national sport, you bonehead. It’s an international sport! More popular than soccer.”

HotChick89: “Lewis is eight years behind. The White House hasn’t been a pimp pad since Bill Clinton left.”

EbonyGoddess543: “Yeah, for the last eight years, it has been a chimp pad.”

CoolDude3129: “Hey, how come it’s okay for you to call Bush a chimp? Artists have been making Bush look like a monkey for eight years, but the moment you put a banana in the same picture as Obama, you’re a racist.”

EbonyGoddess543: “That’s because Bush IS a monkey.”

CoolDude 3129:”Shut up, you moron! Don’t you know that Bush and Obama have the same size ears?”

EbonyGoddess543: “Yeah, but do they have the same size brains?”

Joe6Pack: “You are the biggest racist in the world!”

EbonyGoddess543: “I’m not a racist. I’m African-American! When black people make fun of white people, it’s not racism. It’s Def Comedy Jam.”

Joe6Pack: “Wait a minute. Obama is half white and half black. Would it be okay to make jokes about half of him?”

EbonyGoddess543: “Of course it would. Just make sure you pick the right half.”

Joe6Pack: “Okay, here’s a joke: The right half of Obama wanted to eat a bunch of bananas. The left half said, ‘We’ve been elected president. We need to give a good impression.’ And the right half replied, ‘You’re absolutely right. Do you want to hold the fork or should I?’”


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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Highly entertaining!

  2. Cool! Obama (Firefox says this is a typo!) is achieving huge success in the joke business just after a couple of weeks of electing him!!!

  3. Democrabs can’t take a joke. But they will have to learn.
    Look who they elected.

  4. Joe6pack you are wrong, Obama is not 50% black. He is 50% white by his mother and, his father is 25% black and 75% Arab, there by making him 12.5% black. And EbonyGoddess543 all America would not be racist if they would drop the African from African-American. You want to be different, there will always be a problem. If I were to be call European-American, Hispanic-American, or Chinese -American and so on, I would not consider myself a true American. We should all be Americans. Were all live under one country now. If you don’t like it go back you your roots and be known as an American-African and see where that will get you. Let everyone be equal, because we all are in the eyes of God.

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