Between 2004 and about 2009, JibJab was one of my favorite destinations on the Internet. The JibJab guys specialized in political humor.
Take this one: “He’s Barack Obama”, from 2009.
The above short piece pokes fun at the (then) newly elected President Obama. The video parodies Obama’s over-reliance on platitudes like, “Yes we can” and “Hope and change”. Also, on a more serious (but still funny) note: Obama’s tendency to over-promise and under-deliver, and his blithe disregard of the national debt.
“He’s Barack Obama” is clearly a work of political satire. That said, the video is not shrill or mean-spirited.
JibJab was bipartisan. The small production company also had a good time parodying Republican George W. Bush, as in this video from late 2005.
I would mark 2009 as the approximate point at which America lost its sense of humor. That period between 2004 and 2009 wasn’t so long ago; and yet, it seems like another world.
I’ve been referring to JibJab in the past tense, I realize. JibJab, for what it’s worth, still exists. But JibJab now avoids political satire. Who can blame them? We now live in a world of Twitter mobs, social media bans, and ever-watchful culture nannies.
JibJab now specializes in mildly amusing, but basically ersatz, holiday e-cards. That’s a shame. I would love to see what JibJab might have done with AOC, Joe Biden, or—for that matter—Donald Trump.