Very rarely do I get off the boat, looking for mangoes, but Rumproast post about conservative "humor" led me to click on a link to "Pajamas Media" in order to count coup. The Rumproast post has a point-by-point breakdown of a right-wing "comedian's" essay, and illustrative examples showing that right-wingers just aren't that funny. In the original essay that's lampooned, the moran writes:
Take me, for example. I’m certified funny by all the national authorities. In fact, doctors often use my material as a diagnostic tool. If someone reads something I’ve written and doesn’t laugh, that probably means he has a brain tumor.
This is why Republicans favor deregulation... obviously the national authorities have been co-opted and now certify sub-standard wags as funny. Well, a reader posted a rather lengthy, pretty thoughtful comment to the post, and the author responded by riffing on what he'd written before:
21. Pastor of Muppets
Is this even remotely serious? All the best comedians since roughly ever have been liberals, minorities, or at least have left leanings. George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Hicks, Tina Fey, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Eddie Murphy, Louis C.K., and those are just off the top of my head. I could go on all day. The only “conservative” comedians I can think of are Jeff Foxworthy, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Larry the Cable Guy and that ventriloquist guy with the skeletal terrorist puppet. Ron White isn’t even that conservative; he just speaks with a twang.
I understand that the point of this whole website is to basically chant “Conservatives good, liberals bad!” ad infinitum, but by any metric, funny liberals greatly outnumber funny conservatives. And there is a reason for this: good comedy is the process of taking traditional, everyday, normal, familiar institutions and ideas, and ridiculing them until they look weird and funny. This is what conservatives can’t handle. They can’t handle their sacred institutions being ridiculed. They can’t handle their traditions and ideas being challenged. And they don’t seem to understand that this is what good comedy is about.
Instead, conservatives view comedy as the polar opposite: the normal ridiculing and shaming the weird and different until it conforms. This is what conservative “comedians” like Ann Coulter do: ridicule gays, minorities, woman, liberals, etc. There’s not much of a set up or a punch line; conservative humor is essentially the political equivalent of “yo mama” jokes: “Liberals are so stupid that [fill in the blank]“. There’s really no thought required. All it does is help conservatives affirm their preconceived beliefs: “Oh, look dear, this woman on the teevee is making fun of liberals, and we hate liberals, so we must be right! Aren’t we so clever?!” But where are the conservative comedians challenging conservative idea? They largely don’t exist, because conservatives won’t accept it.
One of the few exceptions to this are Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, who are both self-proclaimed conservatives and outrageously funny. And they are equal opportunity: they’ll poke fun at Al Sharpton one week, and Glenn Beck the next. And yet, conservatives don’t watch South Park. Liberals tend to be the biggest viewing audience. And this underscores my point: it’s not that conservatives aren’t, or can’t be funny, it’s more that conservative audiences generally don’t appreciate nuanced, challenging humor; they instead prefer “yo mama” jokes.
April 6, 2012 - 10:42 am
Frank J. Fleming
You may have a brain tumor.
April 6, 2012 - 11:09 am
Heh, what a rejoinder... I decided to don wetsuit, slither into the fetid waters, and respond.
That’s no tumor, Frankie, it’s called a cerebral cortex.
Surprisingly, the comment made it through moderation... I may have to click through once more to see Frank's witty rejoinder. Something tells me that an average lefty could win a battle of wits with the guy with one hemisphere tied behind his or her back.
Speaking of the brain and conservatives, remember folks, they aren't anterior cerebral cortex people, they're amygdala people. If a conservative indicates that he or she was joking, it's probably a pathetic attempt to walk back eliminationist or otherwise horrible rhetoric. Expect the horrid John Derbyshire to hide behind Thalia's skirt any moment now...