Saturday, June 27, 2009

American Power And Republican Humor Fail

In the past I've been quite vocal about my opinion that Republicans suck at humor and I usually emphasize the point by citing the classic example of Exhibit A. It's hard to say exactly why this is though. Does good comedy just require a more liberal mindset? Are most conservatives just a bit too uptight to adequately bring the funny? Or is it something much more ephemeral? My own theory is that most Republican attempts at comedy fail because, as with their political views, these guys seem to define themselves not by what they believe but instead by what they dislike, and the entire enterprise comes off as fairly hateful rather than being even halfway entertaining.

What is the point to all of this theoretical musing, you ask? Well, following the recent dust up with my conservative counterpart Donald Douglas over at American Power it seems that Don has committed one of the biggest mistakes a neoconservative blogger can make: He's now trying to be funny. Now I know what you're thinking: A lot of the stuff Don writes is positively hilarious, this latest endeavour should be pure comedic gold! Ah, but he wasn't actually trying to be funny all of those other times he's cracked us up, hilarious as they were. To put this in perspective, have you ever had a five-year-old try to tell you a joke? They totally suck at it; no timing, a limited vocabulary, stilted delivery, etc. Yet this same five-year-old can with it's next breath inadvertently spit out something that's so humorous you end up pissing yourself just a wee bit (pun intended) laughing about it.

I like to think of Don as the five-year-old of Republican humor, and unfortunately this is one of those times when the little guy's trying just way too hard. For those unfamiliar with the regular commenters around here, repsac3 is a fellow liberal blogger and the creator of American Nihilist, a straight up parody of Don's own site peopled with a motley crew of several other bloggers who share Reppy's basic political views and also find Don's writing as funny/tragic as I do. Repsac is the main target of Don's latest attempt at humor in which I think that perhaps he's now trying to duplicate the satirical tone I employed when writing my own two guest posts that Reppy plundered (with my flattered approval) for use at his site, as I did originally post them in the comment section of Don's blog.

Regardless, please now prepare yourselves for the rhetorically awkward and pitiably unfunny comedy stylings of Donald Douglas from his post "Comrade Repsac3: Commissar of State Security, People's Commissariat for Internet Affairs":

This is Comrade Repsac3, the USA People's Republic Netroots Commissar 1st Rank of State Security, Commissariat for Internet Affairs. Comrade Repsac3 grips feverishly to his sinecure as hardline enforcer for the USA radical left-wing netroots people's movement, the paramilitary base of the Democratic People's Party USA. Comrade Repsac3 models his program as akin to the notorious Lavrenti Beria, the CPSU's butcher of internal security from 1938 to 1946.

As internal security chief for the netroots party appendage apparatus, Comrade Repsac3 leads the Godless nihilist cadres in the left's purge of "Homophobic, Red Shirt, Bible Thumping Nazi, Gay Bashing, Tea Bagging, Racist, White Guy, Bigots."

Comrade Repsac3's shock troops include:

* Comrade Biobrain, State Chief for the Final Extermination of Truth.


James "Barebacker" Webb, Master Enforcer for the Annihiliation of Non-Hypocrisy.

* (O)CT(O)PUS: Netroots High Commissioner and Chief Breaker of Men, Supreme Enforcer of Internet Security and Conformity.


Truth101, Minister of Hate, Animal Bestiality Division.

The central organizational directive of atheist collectivists will stop at nothing to implement its totalitarian system of eradication of tradition and values. No one in conservative America is safe.
So, are your eyes watering and your sides splitting? Yeah, neither are mine. Sorry about that, and no: I didn't fuck up the bullet points; every word is in its original context. But while you weren't laughing did you notice that I scored the title of Master Enforcer? Not too shabby. I was gunning for Minister of Hate but since the only opening was in the Animal Bestiality Division (I'm no expert on the subject but isn't all bestiality "animal bestiality"? See, there's that inadvertent funny again) I'm satisfied with my new post.

Oh Don, you try so hard but unfortunately for you I grade on a steep curve so there will be no A's given out for effort on this assignment. I suggest sticking with hate-filled invective and gross exaggeration, particularly as they apply to your views on liberals, gays, atheists, minorities, the poor, etc. Go with what you know (and are at least somewhat good at) and leave the snarky humor to the professionals. Trust me: We know what we're doing.


Benjamin Blattberg said...

I think I may be coming around to the view on American Power as both tragic (my original view) and humorous (what keeps me coming back).

As for conservative/Republican humor, I agree that it's hard for them, and when I see one trying to be funny, I always flash on that scene in Dodgeball where Ben Stiller's character explains to Christine Taylor's character that he has handcuffs if she's into that sort of thing--ha ha, he's just kidding--but he really has the handcuffs.

(White Goodman: There's no reason we need to be shackled by the strictures of the employee-employer relationship. Unless you're into that sort of thing. In which case, I got some shackles in the back. I'm just kidding. But seriously, I've got 'em.)

It's like conservative/Republicans always flip between making a joke and making a point--they want to make sure you "get" the joke.

(This might go some ways to explaining why some that I've met online see name-calling (e.g. "democRATS") as both argument and joke. It's like a race to see who can make the most devastating political pun over there.)

repsac3 said...

I plunder, because I love. (Besides... This time, I kinda more pointed, than plundered...)

You'd'man, Steele... erb... I mean, Jimmy B.

I'll save ya a seat at the nihilist pancake breakfast, yo... ...in big gay atheist Hell, of course. (Where else?)

BD said...

JBW - I'm not sure the curve is all that steep. You're elitist, but not *that* elitist. (I say this with a nod of approval) Don's problem is not with your curve (curve of your hips maybe?), but with the fact that a grade, nay, assessment, is rendered.

Leslie Parsley said...

Oh, the repugs have a sense of humor, allright - mean, vicious, racist, degrading, etc. The women are a bunch of dried up ole prunes and the men are representative of the Neanderthal amongst us. If you think back to the NRC, not one woman wore a pantsuit, indicating that even in this century, they still can't think for themselves. Anyway, as I remarked elsewhere, it takes brains to have a sense of humor.

Dave the Longwinded said...

You know, because I'm a big nerd, I've actually tried to put my advanced degrees in English to use and really think about this so many times in the past.

Why is it that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are usually comedic gold, but the The 1/2 Hour News Hour was flatly painful?

And, JBW, you're genius has outstripped my academic training -- principle versus spite. Comics called "liberal" will hammer themselves and their sympathizers for all the same reasons they'll hammer others. Chris Rock may joke about white people and racism, but he'll joke about black people and racism, too. Stewart beats away at Obama's inconsistencies as much as he did Bush's.

The republican mindset of the last 15 years has been one totally unable to see or confront its own inconsistencies. Don's post isn't comedic; it's tragic. He doesn't seem to grasp that his "joke" about government enforced control of information actually did happen under Bush via the NSA, the PATRIOT Act, a total dismissal of FISA, etc.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

It was the spirit of Christian love and tolerance of the nonbelievers that led me to join Don in his crusade for free animal love. Why does he hate me JBW?

JBW said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I'll address them thusly:

Ben JB, I think Mark Levin has already cornered the market on that front.

Reppy, just don't use up all the strawberry syrup before I get there.

BD, obviously the extent of my comedic powers were slightly exaggerated for this post but I still think Don fails on many levels. At least he'll get a certificate of participation at the end of the year.

Thanks, PP. Personally I think that the left can be just as vicious as the right at times. We're not that much better than them, just funnier.

Dave, you flatter me (which I love). I think the problem with Don's jokes is that they're basically the same mean stuff he says about us when he's not joking. Reppy, T101 and the rest of us go over the top and call ourselves "evil nihilists" because we think it's funny when Don does it for real. Satire only works when it reflects reality, not when it copies it.

T101, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that it was the picture of the buffalo-humping Donald the Moose and the diploma from a crackerjack box comment. Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Tim said...

I will say this about the Doctor -- a thesaurus is a terrible thing to waste.

JBW said...

Agreed Tim, he does have vocab skills. I guess that's why it's so funny that he uses the same, stock 10-12 words to describe his perceived enemies.

Kevin Robbins said...

Nice post, JBW. I'm basically with Dave. I think you have to be willing to be self-deprecating to be funny and I can't see conservatives doing that. You have to be willing to fall on your face, and then laugh at yourself if you do. In professional circles, I believe what they have is called Stick-Up-The-Ass Syndrome.

Of course, some grounding in reality might help, too. Don's work was too dated, too high brow and too fantastic (in the fantasy sense).

And Truth, I'd forgotten about the cracker jack box comment. I don't see why he banned you. All I do is what "professor" in quotes all the time. And write posts called "A Professor, Really?" I think he just couldn't handle the Truth. I've been waiting to use that one.

Kevin Robbins said...

Er, put "professor" in quotes.

I need to preview after a couple of drinks.

Dave the Longwinded said...

I can think of one exception to the Republicans-suck-at-humor rule: P.J. O'Rourke. I don't often agree with the guy on much, but he's usually one of Bill Maher's better (funnier) guests.

JBW said...

Gracias, ex DLB. I think that it's conservatives are so worried about being taken seriously when they spout inanities in everyday life that they can't just relax and let people laugh at them when they're trying to be funny.

And don't worry about the typo, it happens to the best of us when we're a few pops in the bag.

JBW said...

O'Rourke is great, Dave. I've read a few of his books and seen him on Real Time several times. He's self-deprecating enough to not take himself too seriously.

Anonymous said...

Am I too moderate to be lumped in with "conservatives" or "republicans"? I mean, truthfully I don't think of myself as either of those, but I know you lean that way in your thoughts about me.

...and frankly, I am one of the funniest people I know.

JBW said...

Just a broad generalization, one L. I've known black guys who don't like basketball and white guys who don't like the show Friends. And you're one of the funniest people I know as well. It's one of the reasons we get along with each other.