City Journal Autumn 2014

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Harry Stein
No Respect « Back to Story

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DiPaolo says that at such moments, the laughs he gets are at first tentative and uneasy. “People in their twenties, their brains have been turned to mush from what they’ve been taught in college.”

A good craftsman never blames his tools, and a good comedian never gripes about how his audience is brainwashed.
Harry Stein's essay starts with an entirely false premise: "Could there be more target-rich comedic terrain than today’s Left?" Humans in general, regardless of politics, are fodder for the best comedians, whether it's Mort Sahl, Larry David, or Imogene Coca. George Carlin, by the way, did a lot of boring, political ranting. Lenny Bruce got so self-absorbed he was torture to watch. From the false premise, Stein and Nick DiPaolo descend swiftly into whining, resentment, and victimhood. DiPaolo hasn't had an HBO special. Well, neither have hundreds of other comedians. Comedians can't make fun of Obama. I guess he's never heard of Jon Stewart. The self-absorbed whining doesn't get any lower than DiPaolo's closing anecdote about the "Hispanic short-order cook, who can barely manage a nod, even though he's not busy." The target-rich comedic terrain here is DiPaolo. Dan
I was curious, and so looked up one of this fellow's performances on a video online. It was rude, nasty and not funny. By contrast, the blue collar comedy tour guys tend towards the conservative and are quite entertaining.

Maybe this fellow is just a foul-mouthed dud with a political angle to try to make up for a lack of talent. It's a publicity game that can be played at either end of the political spectrum.
Comedy .. Find some funny guys. They need the press.
It's tied up with the ideas of "a black thang, you wouldn't understand" and "white people can't see racism."

When Sarah Palin says something stupid, we can all recognize it for what it is. When Al Sharpton does, there's an assumption that he's speaking the truth about the world he lives in; it just doesn't appear that way to people who don't live elsewhere.

The Left believes that reality is different things to different people. Not just that it APPEARS different, but that it IS different. In the same way standardized tests are obviously flawed because minorities don't as well on them.
The Triad of Propaganda (education, media and entertainment) show how deeply ingrained the left are in generations.

This indoctrination prevent discussion and communication.
Perhaps it’s Conservatives who fail to appreciate the humor in all that is Left Wing. Grimly serious, America’s Right is perennially obsessed with Leftist hypocrisy – in the media, Hollywood, Washington. No high school nerd whose Fruit of the Looms were ever pulled over his ears is as resentful over being bullied as Conservatives. But the most celebrated Conservative comedians today are America’s Stand-up Lefties themselves – they, in their millions, just don’t realize it – which is also funny. Saturday Night Live couldn’t produce a funnier skit than the current controversy over the Washington Redskins – or rather the Redskins part.

It’s like someone previously stole all the really good causes and the only two remaining are the overwhelming injustice in the naming of our sports teams and active discrimination against the gluten free folks. It’s not like we call our teams the L. A. Tacos or the Detroit Darkies – an argument could be made such team names are intentionally cruel. But the Redskins – really? And even more hilarious are the ensuing nationwide debates; the team owner taking it seriously, the televised interviews, pro and con, with mildly bewildered Native American leaders – and finally the “everyone get on board” fad which quickly spreads across the country through our colleges and down into your local high schools. Is Gauchos a more racist team name than Cowboys? Fifty Gauchos vs. Cowboys editorials later, that debate point finally exhausts itself and we move on to the next example. Bob Costas takes official notice and does his sanctimonious spiel, it’s now official and America must publicly admit to our darker tendencies in the naming of our sports teams.

Leftist hypocrisy is real of course but hypocrisy has become the Conservatives’ “Louie, Louie” song – the same verses over and over, only two chords of musical complexity and rather boring lyrics. Assuredly there is plenty of Leftist hypocrisy out there. In sports, for example, carefully observe the televised fan shots in the next Detroit Lions home game – see any black folks sitting in the stands? In fact, there are more black people on the playing field than in the stands – but that doesn’t strike the Left as the least bit racist for a city which is overwhelmingly black – which is also very funny. Calling a team of millionaire blacks, Samoans, whites and Hispanics “Redskins” is very amusing when considered from the proper angle. But Conservatives fail to see the humor in that joke, certainly the hypocrisy is remarked upon but there is little appreciation for the amusing irony of the situation.

There is always a kernel of truth in every joke, that’s what makes it funny. So, Conservatives, pull your Fruit of the Looms down off your heads and learn to appreciate Leftist humor – they perform it every day in comedy clubs like The New York Times. The Left takes itself too seriously and all for our personal viewing pleasure – relax and enjoy the skits – but don’t forget to tip your waitress.
On the subject of conservatives and their relative lack of success in comedy, I think many on the right too readily ascribe their failings to the audience's "false consciousness." This idea originated on the left and usually takes the form of "you right-wingers are voting against your own interests / you're clinging to your guns and religion." In the conservative form, it accuses those on the left of being brainwashed by political correctness.

I think it misses the mark.

There's a lot of room for satire of the left. See the excellent show "Portlandia" for a takedown on a lot of urban, coastal lefty ways--and watched mainly by the same set. Bill Hicks is still adored by youth, and his politics had a decidedly libertarian streak. South Park. Red Eye. Or see George Carlin's attacks on P.C. speech controls. But none of these comedians and satirists are explicitly conservative or libertarian--or even implicitly--though many are. It's best to focus on the comedy itself and simply try to be funny. Your politics will shine through.