What’s so funny anyway?

I find myself less amused by the opening segments of Comedy Central’s weeknight double-punch of fake news lately. I can’t help but wonder whether programs like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which have us laughing at the ineptitude, corruption, war mongering, and profiteering of our Government, are in some way diffusing what ought to be a steadily building anger; an anger which by all rights ought to be seeking a vent right about now.

07.25. filed under: !. inquiries. observations.

I see where you’re coming from and you do have a valid point, but I feel like if we don’t laugh at it we’re going to go mad, and that’s not going to get anything done either.

The other aspect is that a lot of people wouldn’t have any idea -what- was going on if it weren’t for these news shows, and as pathetic as that is, I’d rather see people get this information through a comedy show than not at all.

posted on 07.25 at 08:27 PMPatrick

Well, it’s like Joe Hill said to his friends when he was about to be executed on trumped-up charges: “Don’t mourn, organize!”

I’ve spent enough time around lefties since 1979 to know that most of them couldn’t organize a bedwetting, much less a coup. On the right it’s a whole nother story. Even the chickenhawks (i.e. draft-dodgers who agitate for others to go off and die: nobody of any importance in the Bush regime served in harm’s way), i say, even the chickenhawks on the right at least read something of military strategy and know how to follow orders, keep secrets, put plans together and execute them. That’s why they keep winning. For a lefty I am anomaly. I know rather a lot about military history. I’ve read Machiavelli and Sun Tzu.  I’m a bit of an admirer of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, the man who (along with the daft but fearless German general Blucher) ended Napoleon’s career at Waterloo. Wellington was an oddity for his day: he was an intelligent general. Most weren’t, because back then promotions tended to depend on who you were related to, how much money you had (officers had to raise money for their commands) and other factors that hadn’t much to do with brains. Wellington was outnumbered at Waterloo, partly because many of his best men from the Peninsular campaign had been drawn off and sent to America, where they got clobbered at New Orleans (he’d been offered that job but passed on it because it didn’t pass the smell test; he had a bad feeling about the whole war against the United States, whereas he fought Napoleon with gusto, out of hatred not only for the man but for what Napoleon stood for in Wellington’s eyes: the rule of the rabble ending in the rule of a single despot. Wellington believed parliamentary representation was the best guarantor of freedom, and he’s starting to seem prescient!

Wellington was stricken with grief at the end of battle, when one after another of his young officers was reported dead; yet he’d saddle right up and plan for the next battle against the continental despot; his career resembles that of Eisenhower (he never led troops after Waterloo, but embarked on a patchy second career in the House of Lords).

I guess I’m not sure what I’m trying to say with this little essay about Wellington, except that liberals who won’t fight won’t save the world. Seriously! Think about it: in World War Two, who were the good guys? Liberals and (yes!) communists. Conservatives were the bad guys. Let me repeat: right-wingers tried to destroy and enslave the human race, and they were beaten by a heartless commie sonofabitch named Stalin and a New York liberal in a fucking wheelchair! Also an English drunk who also, I’m confident, admired Wellington.

And we bombed Dresden. To beat Hitler, we bombed Dresden. Or maybe it didn’t really need bombing, but the point is, we did it. No bleeding heart pansy milquetoast pacifistic dithering; we identified the Fascists and Nazis as a threat to our civilization, and we took it to them.

Now the Fascists are running our country. (Alright, they don’t call themselves fascists, but if it quacks like a duck and steps like a goose…) THey should have been taken seriously a lot sooner, but there were too few on theleft like me, who did take it seriously, and who read military history. Now we’re cornered, but we can still take the fight to them if we start ORGANIZING. First step would be intelligence gathering. Find out all you can about the fascists, and collect the data. I mean it; find out where the key people live, where they hang around, all the personal data you can get. Know their org charts, where their offices are, who works for who, where the money goes, you name it. What? Does this sound sinister? They’re doing it to YOU, baby. And what do you do when you’ve got data?

Look for the weak spots.

There’s a lot more to this, but I anit gonna talk about it right now.

posted on 07.25 at 10:53 PM.

Here are some events hosted by the DNC if you want to voice some of your opinions and show support for the team.  The way I see it the Democrats are my team.  I don’t agree with them all, but when they get back into power, we can move them back to the left as we wish.

posted on 07.27 at 09:44 AM.

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

Perhaps some amphetamines in Obama’s coffee?

In one sense it’s hard from this Pacific distance to guage the day to day middle American attitude other than by reading the ‘net and the tv grabs of (allegedly) significant events. So don’t mistake my ignorance for objectivity as it were. Although I’ve seen Jon Stewart et al on the net on many occasions and occasionally on tv, it’s funny because I think they just started showing The Daily Show regularly this week. Irony.

But I mention Obama specifically because he is one character to have emerged from the not-right in the last few years who appears to have a bit of magic about him. With the litany of depressing and inept adminstration policies and actions over the years that you have touched upon; in the face of seeming mild political and public dissent, I get the feeling that a significant section of the middle ground has kind of buckled, relented, given up, decided that the power of the status quo and the interminable and overwhelming drift to the right is not worth fighting for anymore.

I really think that it would take a someone like a JFK or an Obama or the like to really grab the attention of the majority beyond the mediocre responses gained by your Gores and your whatisnames, so as to reinstill a passion for loudly expressing opposition, such that the voice would be taken up by media and Dem politicos and would become the mainstream and not the fringe, where it would become acceptable and not ‘proterrorist’ or ‘antidemocratic’; such that the brushfires of dissent that are easily stifled at present because of their haphazard and subdued nature would become a conflagration of will burning all the way to the White House.

If I’m waxing melodramatic it’s because it seems to me that it will take a profound attention-grabbing Democrat not only leading but actually inspiring the populace with artful rhetoric laced with magic. Shouting and arguing on the floor of the Capitol or in occasional newsgrabs will not do anything towards inspiring people to want to get involved again. This is where masterful strategy at the top of the party is needed to chart something, anything out of the norm, to catch the attention and inspire the populace. It mayn’t have to be the next runner for Office but if I was them I would be pooling the resources of their best minds towards a sweeping and extravagant, attention grabbing calendar, perhaps outside of the Presidential bidding process——- something…I don’t know…....dialogues/travelling shows/team unity on a platform of policy notions that offer an honest alternative. A Democratic Party cross country demonstration. A spark. A showing of determination….............which would have a much greater likelihood for success if a magician like Obama was to get involved and coordinated.

Yes, I’m talking out of my ass but, well, the ‘history is a nightmare’ quote seems apt because I fully relate to the people who have shrunk back on to their haunches in the face of the western world (here included, to an extent at any rate) moving inextricably to the right. We are at the negative side of the pendulum swing that is the cycle of history and unless there is some other force of shiny material that makes people get motivated and enthusiastic, then…....well, it’s just less tiring to sit here, defeated….soothing the angst by laughing at it with the only ones who prosper in a political sense in winter: the comedians.

posted on 07.28 at 10:46 AMpeacay

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments guys.

posted on 07.29 at 08:45 AMjmorrison

The aforementioned thoughtfulness of these comments, and the ambition of the original post, have given me quite a bit to consider. Although it will take some time for the thoughts bouncing around my noggin to find a nucleation point, I feel compelled to offer a general response to all of this.

The contentions that we won’t act, shouldn’t be laughing, should be revolting, need to be organizing, have to stop moving to the right… All of this is what the point is not. Right and left have no meaning anymore (assuming they ever had), especially when trying to condense the views of 300 odd million individuals into a binary construct. Hell, I don’t even buy the contention made by Mr. Buckner that the commies were, at their core, and more leftist than the fascists. Who really gives a damn about right and left, conservative and liberal? These distinctions have been used to far greater utility in obfuscating issues than in clarifying them.

It has to cross any half-conscious person’s mind that laughing about Bush administration misconduct is absurd. I watch The Daily Show a few times each week, and it makes me feel a little dirty when I chuckle. However, it gives a voice to the disenfranchised through a historically-preserved technique - satire. For certain, the likes of Thomas Paine were able to take a hatchet to sociopolitical myths, but these times just might require the tack of Jonathan Swift. We needn’t be awakened from history. We need to realize where we are in the pattern of history.

Finally, relying on Obama and shiny rhetoric to lead us back into the shadow of JFK is to underscore that this is not an age of reason. Are we so helpless now, with our unprecedented levels of education and prosperity, that we can’t be expected to create and agree upon a basic ideal of right and wrong without a beloved ruler paving a road for our collective morality? Who is anybody to say, only decades away from the short-lived influence of Kennedy and in the midst of Reagan, Bush, and Bush fallout that the net, long-term effects of either regime are better for mankind? These times require reason, passion, and a long view. Allowing the direction of this society, and our civilization as a whole, to be manipulated by a few charismatic leaders is antithetical to the notion that we should be rational and strong, and undermines the potential of a representative democracy.

posted on 07.31 at 04:43 AM.

typo above, second paragraph:
“and more leftist than the fascists” should have read “any more leftist…”

I’ll learn to type one day.

posted on 07.31 at 04:48 AM.

General Buckner, its so good to hear that people like you are working to redress our problems.  Don’t let anybody call you an armchair general, because I can tell by the way you talk, your plans WILL come to fruition.

How clever of to deliver the manifesto at this general curiosity blog.  The fascists will NEVER look here.  Hidden in plain sight!

However, I wish you would reconsider Dresden as your model for the struggle you are planning, given the 30,000 civilian casualties.  Just a thought.  We really “took it to them”, but ya know…

Anyways,  baby, I can see your no chickenhawk when it comes to the epic battle against conservatives.  No pansy milquetoast dithering for you!  Your intelligence gathering black ops sound quite impressive, I mean, I can tell that you are a man with experience in the dark arts. 

I suggest you contact Obama’s office (on the DOWN LOW, if you know what I mean), and share the juice on the “org charts”.  Trust me, the Obama team will love to hear from you!  They need true warriors like you to work the paramilitary angle.

And believe me, when you say “There’s a lot more to this, but I anit gonna talk about it right now.”  I know why you can’t talk about it.

posted on 09.12 at 10:16 PM.

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