Lighten up, America. Don't kiss the 'kiss cam' goodbye

Sometimes I think I’m too hip for the room -- or the stadium. I’m  always the first to roll my eyes when the time out activities begin during a ball game. Until something REALLY wacky happens then I’m Mr. Common Denominator.  I can’t help laughing, too.

Take for example the “kiss cam,” a sports arena staple for some years now which, during a break in the action, scans the crowd looking for unsuspecting couples who are then urged on by the fans to smooch.

Every time I’ve seen this time killer, I’ve said to myself, “What a hack move. The Yankees are so much better than this.”

And then they focus that frame on a cute couple or even once when I was at a Yankees game, on two big, beefy Teamsters in the bleachers…  I remember it like it was yesterday.  They see us seeing them! It’s like a silent film comedy. They put down their beers.

Perhaps we can’t handle -- or don’t deserve -- laughs. Doesn’t it feel that’s where America is heading? Perhaps we should replace the kiss cam with something more safe; more dull, more grey. Perhaps the “handshake” cam?

They look into each other’s eyes! (Oh my gosh, will they?) And...slowly...they tilt their heads...AND KISS! The crowd goes nuts! Me included!

I may be a comedy snob, but funny is funny! Look at ‘em! All big and sweaty and giving each other a smack on the lips! Milton Berle woulda LOVED this! No wonder the camera went back to them later for a bow…

Well, now it appears the Kiss Cam is going the way of Christmas and the Ten Commandments in this country, and while not nearly as profound, it’s for the same reason: a couple of people are offended.

A recent Associated Press story reported an incident at a Syracuse University football game during which the kiss cam lingered while a reluctant woman’s face was held so her male seatmate could kiss her.

The kiss cam has since been discontinued at Orange sporting events because one, that’s right, just ONE person posted a comment on who suggested this behavior ranged anywhere from unacceptable to assault.

That’s a legitimate argument, and if the woman wants to file charges, Godspeed to her.

That’s the answer! Leave it up to the individual to decide for him or herself if they want to take legal action, and let lessons be learned from the outcome.

In fact, terminating the traditional yucks guarantees behavior won’t improve. The only thing accomplished is...well, nothing.

In what is a true overreaction, the New York Mets last week issued a mass apology after their Kiss Cam lingered on two players in the dugout.

As one might expect the crowd -- seeing the obvious joke -- went cuckoo as the players saw themselves on the Jumbotron and sheepishly played along,  ultimately demuring as the cam focused elsewhere.

Well guess how that silliness was labeled? You guessed it, homophobic. And how pathetic that the Mets just rolled over like obedient Jack Russells  -- sorry if that offends --  and apologized for having done absolutely nothing wrong.

But perhaps it’s best. Perhaps we can’t handle  -- or don’t deserve --  laughs.

Doesn’t it feel that’s where America is heading? Perhaps we should replace the kiss cam with something more safe; more dull, more grey. Perhaps the “Handshake” cam? Nah, too much like church, God forbid.

Better yet, how about the “Turn-and-Acknowledge” cam? Fans could just look at each other to gales of laughter.

No, still too much room for error...

How about the “Sit-Still-and-Stare-at-the-Cam” cam? No hugs, no laughs, no individuality, no fun...No Merry Christmas. No God. No self expression.

No joke.