Gallows Humor: Textbook Example

From the video above: Asked yesterday whether she wiped her server, Hillary Clinton responded, “What? With a cloth or something?”

This is a nice example of gallows humor, a noun phrase that means “humor that relates to very serious or frightening things (such as death or illness or the misappropriation of an avalanche of classified information).”

No one with any credibility has ever claimed that candidate Clinton has a sense of humor, not even the toadies at CNN (but they’ll happily fail to mention that the author of a bootlicking op ed was a top Hillary fundraiser). So why the pathetic attempt at badinage in the above video?  Perhaps because every time the crazy lady at the rostrum tries, in a serious way, to answer questions about her pesky server, another faint prison pinstripe seems to appear on her pantsuit.

Before her sad attempt at levity, the erstwhile Secretary of State invoked the “royal we” and asserted, “We went through a painstaking process and turned over 55,000 pages…,” implying that her Keystone Cops coterie of ambition-fueled yet ethically challenged hangers-on helped with the dirty task. Had a self-respecting reporter attended this failed stand-up routine, he/she would have asked, “Did all of the ‘we’ to which you refer have security clearance to handle classified information?”   

After chirping out her wisecrack, the Democrat front-runner went on to say, “I don’t know how it works digitally at all,” in the process demonstrating a crafty political ploy known as “playing dumb.” Unfortunately for the Captain-Queeg-like Ms Clinton, playing dumb seems to be her natural state of mind.


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