I myself am a Veteran of Iraq and yet, I walked away without so much as a scratch. I did receive a Combat Action Ribbon, but if you made a movie about my experience it would likely be a comedy as opposed to an action movie. However, I’m of the opinion that Pete Davidson’s joke about future Congressman and Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw was indeed actually a little funny. For those who don’t know, Crenshaw lost an eye in Afghanistan and now sports a patch over his eye. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson quipped that Crenshaw looked like a hit-man in a porno movie. Crenshaw, to his credit seemed to take no actual offense at the joke as a Navy SEAL with 5 deployments tends not to fall in the category of “snowflake.” Crenshaw is well aware that he wears a patch and I am certain is familiar with all possible jokes that come with it. Something tells me that Crenshaw displays his patch with pride and has become a big part of him that he owns with confidence. So a quip from about him looking a porn star hitman is insignificant and simultaneously a little humorous. It was followed that was most disheartening from Davidson and Crenshaw hits the nail on the head with his response.
Veterans are Funny People
It is true that veterans can find ways to laugh at almost any experience imaginable. That sort of gallows humor has carried veterans of all stripes through some pretty dark and challenging times. In fact, Veteran owned brands even developed their own movie featuring William Shatner that made light of veteran Mary Dague who lost two arms in combat. She was proud of the movie and supported it wholeheartedly. There doesn’t exist a scenario where veterans are easily offended and most reject the “we can say it about ourselves but others can’t” standard of humor. If it’s funny then it is funny. Does the only congressman to sport an eye patch draw the easiest comparison to a movie hit man? Sort of and as such, it is worthy of a chuckle.
Unfortunately, this is where Pete Davidson dropped the ball completely. For he would have been better to say nothing else at all than to follow the quip with the line “I’m sorry, I know he lost an eye in war, or whatever.” That’s where the genuine apathy poured through and that is where Davidson missed the mark. Crenshaw could have easily laughed off Davidson’s remark and moved on had Davidson not been completely dismissive of the sacrifices of war afterwards. For while a man of Crenshaw’s character shined through not to be offended, he didn’t like anyone going after his beloved and fellow vets. War is not a “whatever” and those that paid the ultimate price in any fashion are not to be dismissed. Pete Davidson made a funny quip that by itself could stand alone as a joke. However, he followed it with a grotesque display of apathy towards veterans and should be held to task for that.
Election Season Outrage
The truth of the matter is that were this not an election season it wouldn’t have made the news at all. To capitalize politically on this gaffe is too rich an opportunity for many to pass up. That’s likely why Crenshaw looks so frustrated he even has to step in front of a camera and answer for this. The man took unimaginable suffering for this country and the man can take a joke. From Bob Dole’s damaged arm to John McCain’s damaged temperament, when you enter public life all is fair game and Crenshaw knows it. However, Davidson’s follow up apathetic remark as to the effects of war on those who served was the most disheartening.
Davidson did not take heed of the fact that he was indeed taking on a very serious subject. If he did he could have followed with, “I’m sorry, I know I just went there but it was a joke and please don’t kill me for it. Thank you veterans for all you have done.” That would indicate he knew as a comedian that he was tackling the offensive as is the job of humorist in a free society. Instead, he just followed with “war or whatever” which speaks to Davidson’s true thoughts on the matter. The man made a funny joke that was fair game and hardly offensive to Crenshaw. Davidson then followed it with a glaring moment of honesty as to what he thought about those who fight in the wars. That was the sad part. Veterans should really be neither offended or surprised that many in elite circles hold such views. They certainly should not lose the sense of humor we all hold dear. Pete Davidson’s joke was slightly funny and if we can drop the politics we can admit that. His apathy towards veterans and those wounded was the saddest joke of the night.