Photo: Getty Images
President Obama and comedian Seth Myers both took plenty of comedic potshots at high-profile people at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ dinner on April 30, 2011. It was all in good fun; after all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves then we are definitely taking ourselves too seriously.
What I found exceptionally striking, and which prompted this article, is Donald Trump’s reactions to the barbs thrown at him. For example, Obama acknowledged that Trump would certainly bring some change to the White House, then showed a picture that depicted a tower built above the White House complete with neon signs that said, “Trump” and “Casino,” women in bikinis relaxing in the fountain as if it were a swimming pool, etc.
Comedian Myers also took some shots at Trump, saying that Trump announced he might run for President as a Republican, “…but I found that surprising because I thought he was running for President as a joke.”
Trump did smile, albeit briefly, at the President’s comments, but he frowned at Meyers with daggers in his eyes. The next day I read reports of how Trump was “humiliated at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”
Wait a minute… “humiliated?” Sure, there were a lot of jokes aimed at him but there were plenty aimed at many, many others: Katie Couric, the President and Vice President, Brian Williams, Sarah Palin, and Matt Damon, just to name a few.
I asked myself why Trump was humiliated but the others were not. The difference, I think, is in the reactions. The President, for example, laughed at every joke about him and was having fun; it was obvious. Trump was not.
This points out the power that we have over ourselves and how we are perceived. It’s all in our attitude. If Trump had been able to laugh at himself, he wouldn’t have been seen as being humiliated but rather as a good sport. He would have enjoyed the evening more, and so would everyone else in the room because it’s hard to laugh at a joke about someone if that someone isn’t laughing too. It’s actually kind of painful to watch!
We have a choice about how we react to things around us.