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Glenn Beck and the Sad Trombone
December 17, 2011 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Here is "The B.S. of A. with Brain Sack," a show aired on Glenn Beck's TV channel that claims to be a "non-partisan" alternative to the Daily Show. How good is it? Better than the right's previous attempts at making a satire show, but uneven.... Judge for yourself: here's a monologue, in five parts: 1-2-3-4-5. Here's a few of the better bits: Kill Panel - Pilgrim Funnies - Isle of Skulls MLYT

Here are some more, in general order of less to more cringe worthiness:
Penn State Riot - Herman Cain - At The Debate - Newt or Newt - Pumpernickel Boulevard: Hitler (warning: obnoxious theme song) - Glenn Beck and Sad Trombone

We're getting into more strident territory here:
Question Marx - Arab Spring Break - Pumpernickel Boulevard - Math
posted by JHarris (88 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Glenn Beck has a TV channel?
posted by Yakuman at 6:51 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, sort of: http://web.gbtv.com/index.jsp
posted by JHarris at 6:56 PM on December 17, 2011


The right is good at authoritarianism, death squads, making shirts that are brown, waving guns around, being racist, bringing rickets back to the UK. Comedy, not so much.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 6:57 PM on December 17, 2011 [34 favorites]


The spinning globe behind him has only the U.S. on it.

So, that's either one of two things. A deliberate attempt to focus on the U.S., or some kind of Colbert Report ironic rah-rah meta-joke about the U.S. being the only country of interest.

Either way. Lame.

Look, the Daily Show succeeds because it's funny first, and everything else second. The moment you try to reverse that, you fail, no matter who you are. I don't know why some people just don't get this basic formula, which has been the formula ever since Thog the caveman first tripped over the mastodon bone and fell into the fucking campfire, and Ragnar laughed so hard, he blew yak milk out of his nose.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:57 PM on December 17, 2011 [27 favorites]


Given the description, I was really looking forward to a show hosted by the pia mater or other meninx. Glenn Beck as avant-gardist?

Then I watched the clips. It's barely better than public-access sketch comedy--although a slight improvement over "The Half Hour News Hour." I do wish I'd been right.
posted by MimeticHaHa at 7:01 PM on December 17, 2011


The trouble with Conservative comedy is that things tend to be a lot funnier when they're truth-based.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:07 PM on December 17, 2011 [23 favorites]


The part that really gets me is, in the "You're Not Hitler" bit, they make a point of saying all kinds of people are not Hitler. Okay, great. But then they outright compare Bush to Obama. Uh.... And then they compare Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden to Michael Moore, completely undermining their point in the process!
posted by JHarris at 7:11 PM on December 17, 2011


-a "non-partisan" alternative to the Daily Show-

I wish people would stop accusing Jon Stewart of being a partisan (Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause); he's not. He comes to things with left wing views in his background, sure , but he doesn't present/subvert/warp these events so as to further the cause of the left.
posted by peacay at 7:19 PM on December 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


At first I watched the Isle of Skulls sketch and the Kill Panels video, which were decent. Yeah, I thought, as "non-partisan alternatives to the Daily Show" go, it's the best I've seen. However, then I watched Arab Spring Break and that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It's really, really vile. Not only does it take a movement for democracy and liberty and slurs it with terrorism, but it straight-up slanders a group of hundreds of millions of people. That sketch isn't humor, it's hatred with a laugh track.
posted by Kattullus at 7:24 PM on December 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


Let me add: Thanks for posting this, JHarris. I'm not happy I to have seen Arab Spring Break, but it's not something I would've come across elsewhere, and hideous though I may find it, it's important to be exposed to this particular viewpoint from time to time.
posted by Kattullus at 7:26 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree peacay, and I didn't address it because I think it's really obvious except to people who have drunk some pretty dense kool-aid. I hope no one thinks that I think this show's premise is valid. I did laugh a few times when going through the links, and there are places where they aren't entirely yay-team. But then you get to Question Marx, and as Kattullus notes, to Arab Spring Break, and ugh.
posted by JHarris at 7:29 PM on December 17, 2011


At first I watched the Isle of Skulls sketch and the Kill Panels video, which were decent.

I stopped maybe thirty seconds into Isle of Skulls which would have been hilarious ten or so years ago when the Daily Show was first doing that kind of stuff. But now it's just re-tread, like watching an okay (at best) cover band.

Then I checked out a few of the monologue bits. Didn't laugh.

So ... comedy show, not funny. Who cares what its politics are?

Didn't even make it to Arab Spring Break, which I'm feeling is a good thing.
posted by philip-random at 7:32 PM on December 17, 2011


Normal humor is a weak person making fun of strong people, or making fun of events beyond his control.

Conservative "humor" is a strong person making fun of the weak and powerless, for being weak and powerless.
posted by Avenger at 7:33 PM on December 17, 2011 [92 favorites]


Hahaha The Dixie Chicks hahaha, they hate America! It's funny cuz it's true.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:37 PM on December 17, 2011


So... this is the show-within-a-show from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but from the Mirror Universe?
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:48 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


As soon as you start from "I have to be right wing" then move on from there; you're only really going to appeal to people who end up there as in "I hope that the punch line is 'the minority did it'" kind of people.

Avenger said it better.
posted by NiteMayr at 7:53 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who saw that his channel is named "GBTV" and immediately thought, "Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite? Hooray Glenn Beck!"
posted by not_on_display at 7:58 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Now I'm going to try and write a good right-wing joke:

Did you hear this one? It turns out that Christopher Hitchens didn't really skip the death bed conversion to Christianity, it turns out that he really did try to make the conversion. It just that short englisghmen with a fondness for drink and smokes make poor kickers, so it fell short. Next time one of these athiests get close to the end and we wanna make sure that the conversion goes through, put their death bed on the 2 yard line, you know so that when they make it and we give them the participation medal for their grave all those left wingers can get a good feeling because "everyone got one and no one was left out"


Hmmm.... still looks like making fun of someone for not winning. Oh Well
posted by NiteMayr at 7:58 PM on December 17, 2011


"The right is good at authoritarianism, death squads, making shirts that are brown, waving guns around"

Are you referring to fearless leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tsetung and Kim Il-Sung? Tens of millions of people have been wiped out by leftist excesses.
posted by juifenasie at 8:05 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The right is good at authoritarianism, death squads, making shirts that are brown, waving guns around"

Are you referring to fearless leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tsetung and Kim Il-Sung? Tens of millions of people have been wiped out by leftist excesses.


See, the right is good at all those things. The left is also good at all those things, plus comedy!
posted by Behemoth at 8:17 PM on December 17, 2011 [50 favorites]


Juifenasie, those people were left-wing in the same way that the one brings Freedom and Liberty by invading with a military action.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:18 PM on December 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Are you referring to fearless leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tsetung and Kim Il-Sung? Tens of millions of people have been wiped out by leftist excesses.

Heh. Well now that there are no more communists who are you going to blame things on?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 8:20 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The left is also good at all those things, plus comedy!

Plus... we have cameras.
posted by Kinbote at 8:28 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris, I thought you framed/quoted it fine - I have no problem with what you posted. It's how this sort of thing gets offered to the public. And while the sillyness of the description may be self-evident to many people, it's still a trope that deserves to be whacked out loud because it's a continually resurfacing mischaracterisation.
posted by peacay at 8:29 PM on December 17, 2011


After viewing "Math", "Arab Spring Break" and a few others, I fear I've witnessed the death of comedy. Look, shoving as many stereotypes as possible into three and a half minutes isn't comedy, doesn't matter what the stereotypes are. This is a sad and transparent attempt to exploit said stereotypes to gain a few cheap laughs from the faithful. It's a far cry from gazing with honest and open eyes into the real world and sharing with others what you find strange, awful, amusing, amazing or what have you.

I did not expect more from Beck, but I did hope to be surprised. I was indeed surprised, I guess, but only that he and his crew would make such blatantly infantile choices in the service of what they blindly imagine to be infotainment.
posted by vverse23 at 8:30 PM on December 17, 2011


I watched as much as I could handle of this a couple weeks ago. I decided then that it was not the Best of the Web & I shouldn't inflict it on my friends. If Pilgrim Funnies is one of the better bits, hoo boy are they in trouble.
posted by scalefree at 8:37 PM on December 17, 2011


I'm not even sure in some cases that I'd call them "cheap laughs". I got only partway through "Math", admittedly, but I don't think I've ever heard a comedy audience sound less like they were really having a good time.

The guy needs better writers, but I'm not sure that'd really help, either; his sense of pacing and tone is just hopeless. I realize it was supposed to be pretend-Sesame-Street, but he looked like he was performing in a church play or something, one of those deals directed by the choir director who was once in a play in high school and where the star is someone Very Important In The Community who wouldn't know acting if it hit them in the face but who will never be replaced because of *course* Mr. Smith has to play Jesus.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:39 PM on December 17, 2011


I also watched this about a week ago, although I did not see Arab Spring Break Something something you and something John Wayne.

I have a very, very vocally right wing co-worker who LOVES the Colbert Report. He thinks it's for real.


Let's just... lets just let him have that, guys. Shhhhhhh..
posted by louche mustachio at 8:42 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where's the interview segment with the guy from Reason Magazine & Zombie Thomas Jefferson? Boy was that a stinker. It puts me in mind of this scene from Ghostbusters:
Egon: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Peter: What?
Egon: Don't cross the streams.
Peter: Why?
Egon: It would be bad.
Peter: I'm fuzzy on the whole "good/bad" thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
Egon: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously, and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Ray: Total protonic reversal!
Peter: Right, that's bad. Okay. All right, important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
posted by scalefree at 8:45 PM on December 17, 2011


-a "non-partisan" alternative to the Daily Show-

I wish people would stop accusing Jon Stewart of being a partisan (Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause); he's not. He comes to things with left wing views in his background, sure , but he doesn't present/subvert/warp these events so as to further the cause of the left.


should be the cause of democrats, not the left. they are not synonnymous
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:50 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Arab Spring Break made me feel more than a little queasy.
posted by pmcp at 8:53 PM on December 17, 2011


Actually, going on, I think they should fire Brian Sack and give the show to the junior correspondent guy from the Isle of Skulls sketch.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:53 PM on December 17, 2011


"George Phblat's new film, 'Benji Saves the Universe,' has brought the word 'BAD' to new levels of badness. Bad acting. Bad effects. Bad everything. This film just oozed rottenness from every bad scene...Simply bad beyond all infinite dimensions of possible badness." "Well maybe not that bad, but Lord, it wasn't good."
posted by scalefree at 8:55 PM on December 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


That Arab Spring Break one was really mean-spirited. I had to turn this off because I became self-conscious about my family in the next room hearing me watching it.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 8:56 PM on December 17, 2011


comedy for people who hate and fear stuff. great.
posted by facetious at 9:08 PM on December 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Those clips were embarrassing and made me really sad.

Dear Glenn Beck, shut the hell up.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 9:12 PM on December 17, 2011


Egads, to my glee and amusement, I found the Pumpernickel Boulevard Facebook page. And they even let me post a message on their wall.
posted by hanoixan at 9:15 PM on December 17, 2011


scalefree,
Anyone who quote Bloom County to get the bad taste out of my mind is a hero in my book.
posted by daq at 9:38 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that was unsurprisingly fucking awful.
posted by bardic at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It might have been funnier if they were delivering jokes instead of talking points.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:56 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, excellent comments by COBRA! and Riki Tiki on why conservative humor falls flat from a similar thread about conservative comic strips.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:00 PM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


@Dodecadermaldenticles

they are good at humor when they are in control and set the parameters of conversation and behavior (pj o'rourke and his shtick)

not so much when they are being called out pretty widely
Normal humor is a weak person making fun of strong people, or making fun of events beyond his control.

Conservative "humor" is a strong person making fun of the weak and powerless, for being weak and powerless.

Avenger, you are exactly right and thank you for the best post in this thread. This is something fundamental that I've been trying to put into words for some time and you nailed it.

Although, when you internalize this, and really understand it, it makes a lot of seemingly innocuous stuff a person used to find funny look kind of awful and grotesque and then you have to question your choices and self

which is probably why a lot of people ignore the underlying principle and just sort of shuffle their comedy around when it starts catching flak

god the human race is fucking indefensible, isn't it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:28 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


The B.S. of A. with Brain Sack.
posted by mazola at 12:26 AM on December 18, 2011


I love Brain Sack.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:34 AM on December 18, 2011


"The men face the harshest punishment known to the Amish: the non-electric chair."

I will admit that I snorked rather loudly at that.
posted by Decani at 1:50 AM on December 18, 2011


From the Sad Trombone link:

"Let's recap. Recall that Fannie Mae was funneling all kinds of money to Barney Frank to organize the Occupy Wall Street protests. Also remember George Soros made billions of dollars during the NBA strike, a strike that was initiated by Soros Foundation chairman Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant.."

I looked on the blackboard, it has a series of arrows connecting George Soros -> 700 Trillion -> The EPA -> "Deep Impact" -> IRS -> TSA -> MSNBC

This shit is beyond delusional, into deep schizophrenia.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:29 AM on December 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


are you suggesting brian sack is a right-winger? I ask because I wasn't aware of that. all I know from him so far is his website, banterist. he struck me as doing a gig with glen beck more in an attempt to get some exposure rather than because he was such a glowing right-wing nut and I haven't been able to come across anything objectionable in my thirty-seconds-a-week research endeavors on him.
posted by krautland at 5:36 AM on December 18, 2011


I looked on the blackboard, it has a series of arrows connecting George Soros -> 700 Trillion -> The EPA -> "Deep Impact" -> IRS -> TSA -> MSNBC

This shit is beyond delusional, into deep schizophrenia.


I think it was supposed to be self-parody. It's kind of a twisted example of Poe's law.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 5:38 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pretty much Fox News with mugging and a laugh track.
posted by O Blitiri at 6:39 AM on December 18, 2011


Yeah, the Beck clip came off as self-mockery to me. Or at least I hope that's what it was.

"Are you referring to fearless leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tsetung and Kim Il-Sung? Tens of millions of people have been wiped out by leftist excesses."

Those guys weren't really leftists though. They used leftist concepts to fool the people into giving them power, but they weren't really interested in things like social justice or egalitarianism. Pretty much by definition, being murderous dictators and all.
posted by gjc at 6:52 AM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the Beck clip came off as self-mockery to me. Or at least I hope that's what it was.

You say that, but if you've ever actually watched an entire Glenn Beck chalkboard scene, it's precisely as delusional. You may think I'm snarking or exaggerating here, but no. He literally has written shit on that board as ridiculous as proposing the NBA lockout was a liberal plot.
posted by Room 101 at 7:09 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish they'd leave the Boy Scouts of America out of this.
posted by zamboni at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2011


Why does the right-wing hate Arabs so much. Is it because the Russians ain't no fun to play cops and robbers with no more?
posted by a shrill fucking shitstripe at 8:28 AM on December 18, 2011


"Those guys weren't really leftists though. They used leftist concepts to fool the people into giving them power, but they weren't really interested in things like social justice or egalitarianism."

On the contrary, if we use your definition of "leftists" and examine the history of what happened in Russia, Cambodia, and China under Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Tsetung (and continues to happen in places like Cuba and North Korea), you can see quite clearly that they really did try to promote "social justice or egalitarianism." The problem was (and continues to be) the lack of a moral sense, the problem lies in not being answerable to anybody but themselves. In the eyes of BOTH left and right-wing dictators, the ends always justify the means: in their quest to create a "better" society, they do not hesitate to murder anybody they view as standing in their way.

After the left- and right-wing horrors of the 20th century, we should be VERY VERY careful about jumping on any bandwagon that promises us "social justice and egalitarianism." No matter how smart we think we are, remember that an awful lot of smart people have come before us, and they were easily fooled.

Talk to people who suffered under Russian or Chinese communism (or read their books). They will tell you how idealistic they were, how much they believed the beautiful lies they were told, and how they suffered as a consequence.

We all need to ask ourselves some difficult questions: How much do I REALLY know about X? Why should I trust this person/political party? Who is paying for these activities? Who stands to gain? X is smart all right, but does that make X a moral person, someone I can trust to make decisions that affect my society for a long time to come? Am I a useful idiot? How can I be sure that X's power will be limited?

Keep your eyes open!
posted by juifenasie at 8:36 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


a shrill fucking shitstripe: "Why does the right-wing hate Arabs so much."

We hate them for their freedom!! And because they have our precioussss.
posted by not_on_display at 8:37 AM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Avenger: "Conservative "humor" is a strong person making fun of the weak and powerless, for being weak and powerless."

Or, as Nelson Muntz has said, "Haww haww!"
posted by not_on_display at 8:38 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell writes "The spinning globe behind him has only the U.S. on it."

And as far as I can tell only the continental US. Hawaii is understandable; it could easily be obscured by cloud. However Alaska is also missing and it's a pretty big chunk of property.

not_on_display writes "Am I the only one who saw that his channel is named 'GBTV' and immediately thought, 'Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite? Hooray Glenn Beck!'"

I didn't grok that it was the Glenn Beck Channel from the FPP and watching the clips was a bit disconcerting until I figured out what GBTV stood for.
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 AM on December 18, 2011


How much do I REALLY know about X?
Unless you have a 50hr/wk job studying X, not as much as someone who does. Therefore, we should not trust any experts, ever, since they could all be fooling us with their clever lies and college edumukasion.

Why should I trust this person/political party?
Trust No One

Whois paying for these activities? Who stands to gain?
Unless you personally can follow every elected official around, there's no way to reliably know.

X is smart all right, but does that make X a moral
person,someone I can trust to make decisions that
affect my society for a long time to come?

If you use 'moral' as a guideline to decide these things, you're part of the problem, not the solution.

Am I a useful idiot?
Since you're parroting vote suppression tactics you heard from...somewhere? on a left-leaning board, I'd say 'yes' - but I'm sure you disagree.

Keep your eyes open!... sheeple!
posted by Orb2069 at 9:33 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The right wing doesn't hate Arabs. They fear, rightly or wrongly, that a supremacist ideology which openly declares that Muslims are the best of peoples is slowly making its way into Western countries. Most (but certainly not all) Americans go out of their way to make sure that hardworking, law-abiding people of any cultural background fit into American society, and Arab Americans are no exception. Muslims are not subject to a particularly high number of hate crimes, and Department of Justice statistics for hate crimes bear this out.

2001: 481 (not to make excuses, but right after 9-11, this high is understandable)
2002: 155
2003: 149
2004: 156
2005: 128
2006: 156
2007: 115
2008: 105
2009: 107
2010: 160 (versus 887 hate crimes against Jews)

Yes, even one hate crime is too much, but in a country of 308 million people, 160 does not amount to a whole lot. The right wing fears Muslims, but does not hate them to the extent of taking action (talk is another matter). Ordinary religious Christians (and may others!), for example, (many of whom identify with the right wing) cared enough about other humans (who happen to be Muslims) to give very generously when a tsunami hit Indonesia or there were floods in Pakistan. Many people on this site will probably get offended by this statement, but religious Americans (roughly equivalent to "right wingers") are much more likely to give to charity than secular/atheist Americans (again roughly equivalent to "left wingers"). Does the right wing hate Arabs? I don't think so. Just visit some churches and listen to what they say about Muslims (Yes, of course, there are exceptions: a guy with a big droopy moustache might be cited by some ;-)
posted by juifenasie at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2011


Are you referring to fearless leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tsetung and Kim Il-Sung? Tens of millions of people have been wiped out by leftist excesses.

If we take the horrible numbers of people killed by those folks and their asinine regimes (100 million being the number usually cited) as accurate, then it pails in comparison to the numbers who have died unnecessarily in just India alone as India chose the Right-preferred path of free markets for health care. India had lost 100 million people from its independence to 1980 to lack of public health care - something the Chinese, for all their other problems, avoided [See Amartya Sen's work on this for more]. In other words, if it makes a good Fox News talking point to use against the Left, you hear about it. If it is vastly greater numbers of dead as a direct result of the policies of the Right, you don't.

But since you are asking, I was referring to (1) the right everywhere, (2) Colombia, (3) the U.S.A., (4) the U.S.A., (5) Germany, and (6) Britain. You will also note that all but number 5 receive open support from the Right today. So again, rickets FTW. Comedy? No.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 9:57 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


People in college with lots of free time on their hands DO have the time to check out any movements they decide to join. The rest of us have a duty (nobody will do it for us) to do a little reading on the side before we support this or that candidate. Yes, there is no perfect knowledge, but we have to try.
posted by juifenasie at 10:00 AM on December 18, 2011


The right wing doesn't hate Arabs. They fear, rightly or wrongly, that a supremacist ideology which openly declares that Muslims are the best of peoples is slowly making its way into Western countries.

Except they don't seem to be spending much energy in distinguishing promotion of that ideology from everyday just-being-brown. Those members of the Republican Party who've been outspoken about the fact that Arab-Americans and American Muslims are perfectly ordinary citizens like everyone else - I'm thinking in particular of George W Bush and NJ Governor Chris Christie - are also among those who have never gotten worked up about "creeping Sharia." I simply haven't seen anyone express ongoing concern about supremacist ideologies without also conflating that concern with "Oh and also brown people exist in America and that's no good."
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we take the horrible numbers of people killed by those folks and their asinine regimes (100 million being the number usually cited) as accurate, then it pails in comparison to the numbers who have died unnecessarily in just India alone as India chose the Right-preferred path of free markets for health care. India had lost 100 million people from its independence to 1980 to lack of public health care - something the Chinese, for all their other problems, avoided [See Amartya Sen's work on this for more]. In other words, if it makes a good Fox News talking point to use against the Left, you hear about it. If it is vastly greater numbers of dead as a direct result of the policies of the Right, you don't.

Jesus Christ, it isn't a fucking scoreboard. How about EVIL is fucking EVIL and rhetoric from either side (or any political philosophy)can be hijacked from high and lofty ideals to fucking EVIL. Characterizing the right as the source of all evil while attempting to give leftist a free ride because they have killed fewer people (see-only 100 million on us so we are okay compared to your 101 million-again Jesus FUCKING christ your ideals do not give you or anyone else a free ride on EVIL) sounds a lot like saying all blacks are lazy or the mexicans are taking our jobs or the jews are the reason we lost the war. I think we all know how...accurate that kind of thinking is and where it goes.
posted by bartonlong at 10:12 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


X is smart all right, but does that make X a moral
person,someone I can trust to make decisions that
affect my society for a long time to come?

If you use 'moral' as a guideline to decide these things, you're part of the problem, not the solution.


It is entirely appropriate to evaluate not only intelligence, but ethics; not only ability, but fitness; not only ideology, but morality. To question whether one should be trusted is a very good thing to do, and yes, it does depend on the ethical standing of the one involved. There are quite a few malicious, vindictive, and heartless people in the world, and no amount of benevolent self-interest can take away from the fact that these people—who are sometimes very smart—can gain power and use it against us. Though that does not mean that we can't trust anyone, it does mean we should actively position our trust on new information and on a complete picture of those that seek it.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:16 AM on December 18, 2011


If it is vastly greater numbers of dead as a direct result of the policies of the Right, you don't.

As if the Right was some sort of monolithic group that all associated ideologies reported to. When we use terms like that, we group in a huge amount of disparate ideas that are bound together only loosely. The same goes for the Left. Not only that, but the Left and Right also vary incredibly from country to country, so much so that the Right in one country might actively support the Left in another (or vise versa) for a more advantageous situation within their borders. As such, those that support conservative politicians in Canada might have nothing to do with the crimes of Rightists in India, and signing on to help out the Green Party does not make one automatically guilty of the crimes of Stalinist regimes. They are useful labels, but in no way are they groups.

Militarism can belong to the right or the left. So too authoritarianism, racism, fundamentalism, secularism, rural or urban-based policies, or social programming. Just the same, egalitarianism and social justice can be found on the right. This is not to say that they left or the right is equivalent morally, but to mean that we must evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:25 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about EVIL is fucking EVIL and rhetoric from either side (or any political philosophy)can be hijacked from high and lofty ideals to fucking EVIL.

That sounds good to me. Evil is evil. You'll note I did not excuse the crimes of the dictators in question. I pointed out how vile their regimes were. Vile as in it's not OK because the imposition of free market policies killed more, but vile as in vile. But the actions of Stalin, et al, are not an excuse to continue to pretend that we don't kill hundreds of millions unnecessarily, which we do. I can't control or influence North Korea. Nor can you. So railing against how bad they are is mighty cheap when there are things we can influence that can have a positive impact.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2011


When we use terms like that, we group in a huge amount of disparate ideas that are bound together only loosely.

I'll agree. And I'll agree that I did that to make a cheap shot. Just don't ask from which North American group I learned to do that.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 10:33 AM on December 18, 2011


I wouldn't spend much time arguing with a troll like juifenasie. The username is a pun in French on 'Jew euthanasia.' Jew in French is 'juif' and euthanasia is 'euthanasie.' I have a really hard time thinking of a different interpretation of that username.
posted by Kattullus at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It literally translates to "Jew in Asia." That seems like a fairer interpretation.

But, yes, troll. No argument here.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:02 AM on December 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Professor Quirrel may be able to shine some light on the situation.
posted by scalefree at 11:45 AM on December 18, 2011


I think you're using the term "troll" very loosely. What definition are you using? Though I doubt I agree with a great many of Juifenasie's positions, I don't see any foul play here. Care to point it out?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:48 AM on December 18, 2011


Sys Rq: It literally translates to "Jew in Asia." That seems like a fairer interpretation.

Oh boy! I apologize. Am I red-faced! I parsed it "juife" (Jewish) "-nasie" second part of "euthanasie." I thought it was a translation of "jewthanasia," which was a Danish white power punk band.
posted by Kattullus at 11:54 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


X is smart all right, but does that make X a moral person,someone I can trust to make decisions that affect my society for a long time to come?

If you use 'moral' as a guideline to decide these things, you're part of the problem, not the solution.


There are quite a few malicious, vindictive, and heartless people in the world, and no amount of benevolent self-interest can take away from the fact that these people—who are sometimes very smart—can gain power and use it against us.


Now, see, this is why I like living in a nation that has laws, limitation of powers and checks and balances, instead of being ruled by the whim of elected autocrats. I don't have to rely on some sort of mythical litmus test to determine who is moral enough for me to swear fealty to. If they screw up, I can vote them out and try to elect somebody who will fix the damage.

The whole 'Who is moral enough?' question plays into a dynamic where being able to buy slander ads that make horrid unverifiable claims about an official's moral fibre carry more weight than making claims based on their voting and sponsoring history - You know, the things we actually hire these people to do?

And that only helps the people who can shout accusations louder - Currently because they have bigger coffers, paid for by the people/corporations who they wrote crappy, crappy laws benefiting - and harming the voting people who should be looking at their record, not wondering about whether or not their elected official is going to get another divorce or has a fondness for pool boys.
posted by Orb2069 at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though I hate ad homenim attacks as much as anyone, it is entirely within the purvey of a citizenry to determine if an official has the ethical standing to carry out their duties. This is why people get relieved/fired when they make comments that don't have a direct connection to their job, but do have a large say in how well they represent a community. If a city council member tweeted something terribly bigoted, I would be more inclined to want their resignation (all other things being equal). Ethos depends on credibility, trustworthiness, and moral standing. I see no conflict in demanding that in an official.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2011


I think the way this thread has ended up is perfect proof that everyone stops being funny when they put ideology first and LOLZ second. Cuz at this point y'all are just tedious.
posted by spicynuts at 2:14 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The right wing doesn't hate Arabs. They fear, rightly or wrongly, that a supremacist ideology which openly declares that Muslims are the best of peoples is slowly making its way into Western countries.

yeah, not all Arabs are Muslim. I guess it doesn't matter.
posted by a shrill fucking shitstripe at 4:18 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you're using the term "troll" very loosely. What definition are you using?

The one where a thread about mediocre comedy gets hijacked into a Red vs. Blue atrocity-off.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:21 PM on December 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Troll is almost always someone who posts inflammatory items on the internet with the intention of provoking an emotional response.

The first comment that caused everything to go down this line was the "The right is good at authoritarianism, death squads, making shirts that are brown, waving guns around" by Dodecadermaldenticles. Juifenasie countered by bringing up the excesses of historic leftist regimes because Dodecademaldenticles's view was at very least incomplete and should not be taken at face value. Then everything else resulted. Would you say Dodecademaldenticles was a troll for posting that first comment? Or Juifenasie was for retorted? Or Dodecademaldenticles for responding back?

I mean, disagree with him all you want, but pointing at Juifenasie and calling him a troll is pretty disingenuous.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:43 PM on December 18, 2011


I can live with that.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on December 18, 2011


Well stated, orb2069! "Now, see, this is why I like living in a nation that has laws, limitation of powers and checks and balances, instead of being ruled by the whim of elected autocrats."

When I said "Talk to people who suffered under Russian or Chinese communism (or read their books). They will tell you how idealistic they were, how much they believed the beautiful lies they were told," I was referring to Russian and Chinese refugees who express gratitude for being admitted to a country where their rights are explicitly protected by written laws that apply to everyone, even the highest officials. Learn from their experience!

I could have made a similar point about the idealism of people who were led to accept other dictatorships, both left and right-wing. I know that the expression "useful idiot" sounds offensive, but at 1:00 AM I couldn't think of any other generally-accepted way of referring to people who unwittingly let themselves be used by power-hungry leaders, such as Adolf Hitler (who was voted into power) and Juan Perón (who know how to exploit human nature to their advantage). Some educated people don't seem to be learning from these experiences. That's the point I am trying to make.

It is obvious that Western societies are going down the drain. Taking sides (left wing, right wing, red state, blue state etc.) and fighting with each other is not very helpful. I join discussions on MeFi when I think I can make a useful point. Calling me a troll is a convenient way to avoid responding to my points.
posted by juifenasie at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2011


It is obvious that Western societies are going down the drain. Taking sides (left wing, right wing, red state, blue state etc.) and fighting with each other is not very helpful. I join discussions on MeFi when I think I can make a useful point. Calling me a troll is a convenient way to avoid responding to my points.

Try saying something -- anything -- pertinent to the post. Then you'll be making a useful point that's worth responding to.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:38 PM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is obvious that Western societies are going down the drain.

Weren't the Greeks complaining about this back in about 330 BC or so, as the Greek city-states gradually came under the umbrella of oligarchy? And weren't the Romans complaining about this as Pax Romana came to its end? And ... well, you get the point. Depending on who's writing the history and the moment they're writing it, Western societies have been going down the drain for well over 2000 years.

So can someone explain to me how an unfunny Web video show is going to halt that decline?
posted by sobell at 8:18 PM on December 18, 2011


Just visit some churches and listen to what they say about Muslims (Yes, of course, there are exceptions: a guy with a big droopy moustache might be cited by some ;-)

I have no idea who this is meant to be.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:37 AM on December 19, 2011


juifenasie: Muslims are not subject to a particularly high number of hate crimes, and Department of Justice statistics for hate crimes bear this out.

Actually, given that Muslims are a lower proportion of the population than Jews (0.6% vs 2.2% were the best numbers I could find) the numbers for Muslims are not really out of line from that of Jews. You are saying 160 vs 887 in 2010, but without putting that into context you are being misleading.

I'd say that given the historic amount of hate projected at Jews, showing that hate crimes against Muslims occur at almost the same rate as against Jews is not evidence that there isn't hatred of Muslims; on the contrary, it shows that there is, because there is hatred against Jews!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:07 AM on December 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also fails to take into account any metric for religious hatred except that one dumb number - including unreported hate crimes, crimes not identified as hate crimes through judicial prejudice and indeed institutional prejudice.

However, given that juifenasie proved his supposition about the Quran by linking to a site with the cover of Atlas Shrugged on the front page*, it's optimistic to assume that he's going to be persuaded by anything as treacherously Islamic as math.

*Along with Homer Simpson in a turban depicting the Prophet Mohammed, and peace signs flying into the World Trade Center. Classy!
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:17 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's pathetic is the MRC (Media Research Center) has tried this shtick for years now, and the fail is even greater.

For your cringing pleasure, Newsbusted.
posted by exparrot at 8:45 AM on December 19, 2011


It also fails to take into account any metric for religious hatred except that one dumb number - including unreported hate crimes

Yes. I'd also like to know what proportion of racist hate crimes are committed against people of Middle-Eastern or South Asian appearance. These presumably make up some considerable proportion of "any other ethnicity". All racial and religious prejudice against Jewish people is described together here. What happens if you do the same for Muslim people?

crimes not identified as hate crimes through judicial prejudice and indeed institutional prejudice.

Indeed we don't even need judicial prejudice to distort these figures, as they are derived from law enforcement agency reports. Looking at the discrepancies in reporting between states would be a useful first step to getting a handle on the value of this report.

Going on, it is also worth noting that, if one excludes "destruction/damage/vandalism" (looking at the 2010 figures) Jewish people are proportionately considerably less likely to experience hate crimes than Muslim people. I am not suggesting that anti-Semitic vandalism isn't disgusting, but this is worth considering. Is anti-Muslim vandalism under reported? If it is occurring in different settings, it might well be. Typical anti-Muslim vandalism seen in the UK occurs at business premises, rather than places of worship. Is this pattern replicated in the US? It may well be that business owners do not see it as a priority to report these crimes, and merely paint over and move on.

This is partly speculation (in part because of the coyness of the DoJ figures on some key points). I hope it is sufficient to highlight the problem with quoting that handy top line figure without considering what it actually means. No-one should go away with the notion that it is anywhere near settled, even on the DoJ figures, that Muslim people experience less hate crimes than Jewish ones.
posted by howfar at 3:28 AM on December 20, 2011


Cool Papa Bell: Look, the Daily Show succeeds because it's funny first, and everything else second. The moment you try to reverse that, you fail, no matter who you are

This is not true, in a number of ways.

The old Daily Show, when Craig Kilborn was host. A comedy show, in the context of news.

Then it changed. In some ways, they're the jester, mocking the court. "Here's how you're doing a terrible job, but haha, we're a comedy show!" And people laugh along. And then Jon Stewart went on Crossfire and told them to do a better job. He called them hacks on their own show.

And as I said before, The Daily Show does a better job of covering the new because they actually remember the past, and they have tape clips to remind the audience about what someone said last month or last year.

The Daily Show isn't a news show of the typical sort, but it isn't strictly a comedy show, either.

posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


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