An Atlantic leftoid* wrote a smug, insular column, “Waiting for the Conservative Jon Leibowitz”, rhetorically asking why there’s no conservative equivalent to The Daily Show or Colbert. The article reads like a gloat about how liberals “get it” and conservatives don’t get it, “it” being the nuanced (read: intellectual) forms of humor.
Over the years, Stewart and his cohort mastered the very difficult task of sorting through all the news quickly and turning it around into biting, relevant satire that worked both for television and the Internet.
Now, as Stewart prepares to leave the show, the brand of comedy he helped invent is stronger than ever. Stephen Colbert is getting ready to bring his deadpan smirk to The Late Show. Bill Maher is continuing to provoke pundits and politicians with his blunt punch lines. John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight is about to celebrate the end of a wildly popular first year. Stewart has yet to announce his post-Daily Show plans, but even if he retires, the genre seems more than capable of carrying on without him.
The insularity of the article is betrayed by the author’s assumption that liberal-dominated fake news shows represent the pinnacle of achievement in humor. The implicit belief is that conservative “failure” in this domain is indicative of an inherent conservative inability to appreciate or master the finer arts of funny, such as irony and satire.
Whenever I read masturbatory liberal articles like this one, I cross-check the article’s biases with my personal experience to see if there’s a match; if there is, I give the liberal the benefit of the doubt that it’s onto something. (It rarely is.) If not, I don’t immediately write off the liberal conclusion, but I don’t give it much merit either. In the real world, where all that matters is how much I laugh, I’ve been friends with quite a few liberal and conservative funnymen (and a smattering of funnywomen). But the funniest guys I’ve known were all far right of center rascally SOBs. Online, the situation is similar. I think the Christian sadists at MPC are funny as hell, and no one can accuse them of being Leibowitz lackeys.
Could it be that American political satire is biased toward liberals in the same way that American political talk radio is biased toward conservatives? Dannagal Young, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Delaware, was looking into the lack of conservative comedians when she noticed studies that found liberals and conservatives seemed to have different aesthetic tastes. Conservatives seemed to prefer stories with clear-cut endings. Liberals, on the other hand, had more tolerance for a story like public radio’s Serial, which ends with some uncertainty and ambiguity.
Yes, how those leftoids love ambiguity and nuance. You can see it in how they assiduously avoid unambiguously pigeonholing, for instance, rednecks.
Framing is one of the most interesting game concepts, and it’s because it has applicability well beyond the context of picking up girls. The supposed leftoid love for uncertainty and ambiguity is just as accurately expressed as a leftoid fear of judgment. Which, when you think about it, makes survival sense. An effete liberal manlet benefits from a society that refuses to judge it unworthy of inclusion.
Young began to wonder whether this might explain why liberals were attracted in greater numbers to TV shows that employ irony. Stephen Colbert, for example, may say that he’s looking forward to the sunny weather that global warming will bring, and the audience members know this isn’t what he really means. But they have to wonder: Is he making fun of the kind of conservative who would say something so egregious? Or is he making fun of arrogant liberals who think that conservatives hold such extreme views?
Liberal audiences love liberal showmen who vigorously pump their priors. I doubt there’s a single SWPL viewer who doesn’t know that Colbert is on its side.
As Young noticed, this is a kind of ambiguity that liberals tend to find more satisfying and culturally familiar than conservatives do. In fact, a study out of Ohio State University found that a surprising number of conservatives who were shown Colbert clips were oblivious to the fact that he was joking.
Good lord. How often are liberal SJWs oblivious to the humor in racially-tinted jokes? Maybe people just don’t find jokes funny when they’re targeted at firmly held beliefs.
In contrast, conservative talk radio humor tends to rely less on irony than straightforward indignation and hyperbole.
I haven’t heard a shortage of liberals engaging in indignation and hyperbole.
When Rush Limbaugh took down Georgetown student and birth-control activist Sandra Fluke in 2012, he called her a “slut” in order to drive home his point about state-mandated birth control. After the liberal blogosphere erupted with derision, Limbaugh responded with more jokes, asking that Fluke post videos of her sex online so taxpayers could see what they were paying for. (After a few days, he offered a public apology, insisting that he “did not mean a personal attack” on Fluke.)
Here we detect the primary driver of conservative retreat, if it exists, from political satire: Conservatives are constrained by the reigning leftoid Hivemind orthodoxies. Conservatives with audiences larger than three people have a limited ability to skewer liberal shibboleths without getting into serious career-ending trouble. Limbaugh’s backpedaling slut smear apology is Exhibit S. Has a leftoid on any of these fake news shows ever had to grovel before the inquisition for maliciously slandering a right-wing representative? No. They have license to smear their right-wing targets, something that non-leftoids cannot do to with the same gusto to sanctified liberal targets like Sandra Fluke.
Conservatives will never win at this game until they begin the process of chipping away at the bedrock of the Narrative. This means AGREEING & AMPLIFYING when the usual liberal accusations are cavalierly leveled. For example, once accused of slut shaming, Limbaugh should’ve had whole skit about Fluke mentally calculating the number of cocks she could raw dog on a $10 supply of pills. (zank you, i’ll be in all zee veek.)
If non-leftoids had the same freedom to parody cherished liberal icons — race, sex, eskimos, SWPLs, new atheists — with the same venom, I bet you’d see plenty of right-wing Daily Shows pop up. Right now, that freedom isn’t there, so mainstream righties have to stick with the liberal script, which in practice means essentially agreeing with the fundamentals of liberal progressivism while making feeble feints against the rapidity of that progress to which they have already tacitly acceded as inevitable.
Despite these societal biases against a conservative satirical uprising, I still think there could be an innate disposition in liberals that favors ambiguity and uncertainty. I think this because women also love ambiguity and uncertainty, particularly in the realm of romance, and we know women are more liberal than men. We also know liberal men are more womanly than conservative men (and this jibes with personal observation), so it’s not much of a logical leap to deduce that liberals in general are on the whole more womanly and thus more frightened of harsh moral dividing lines and of the judgment of peers.
*I invented the term of art “leftoid” because it captures the anti-human nature of the liberal vision, and the robotic incantations with which liberals autonomically resort to defending their faith when attacked by apostates.
PS Here’s a fantastically brutal judgment of Jon Leibowitz in the Post. Money shot:
Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.
He is especially beloved by others in the journo game. (For every 100 viewers, he generated about 10 fawning profiles in the slicks, all of them saying the same thing: The jester tells the truth!)
Any standard liberal publication was as likely to contain an unflattering thought about Stewart as L’Osservatore Romano is to run a hit piece on the pope.
The hacks have a special love for Stewart because he’s their id. They don’t just think he’s funny, they thrill to his every sarcastic quip. They wish they could get away with being so one-sided, snarky and dismissive.
That’s it right there. Leibowitz and his ilk succeed because the entirety of the media industrial complex share the same targets of hate. That’s why he gets so much positive ink, and why he’s catapulted into icon status, however pinched and domed the arena in which he rules.
The leftoid machine is a hate machine, and but for the pretense of objectivity that constrains “journalists” they’d all be taking up pitchforks and driving their hated enemies — core white Americans — into the flames, cackling like maniacs the whole time.