NPR ran a survey among listeners asking them to describe last night’s State of the Union speech in three words, and salmon emerged as the winner. They also put together this word cloud depicting it:
Score one for the Northwest! In all seriousness, though, it’s a good reminder of how a joke can make a point better than anything else. President Obama had pointed out the inconsistency of the Department of Commerce regulating salmon in saltwater and the Department of the Interior regulating salmon in fresh water. He ended by saying that “I hear it gets really complicated once they’re smoked.” Cue the laugh line.
Of course, it’s also an example that a joke or story can often obscure the intended message. I doubt the President’s advisers had salmon as one of the top three takeaways in the speech. It’s up for debate whether salmon as a one-liner gets the “simplify government” message across or just gets lost in its own cuteness.