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MAJORITY OF AMERICANS NOW BELIEVE EVIL IS BAD, SURVEY SAYS
February 6, 2002 7:52 AM   Subscribe

MAJORITY OF AMERICANS NOW BELIEVE EVIL IS BAD, SURVEY SAYS Andy Borowitz is rapidly becoming the best political satirist on the web. More frequent than The Onion, and more wide-ranging in his humor than Tom Tomorrow, this guy is becoming a must-read for left-leaning humor. All three great sources of political humor beg the question of why cartoonists and humorists seem better capable of attacking conservatism than liberal politicians or pundits?
posted by mattpusateri (25 comments total)

 
... oh, I get it. Americans are stupid, and we only believe what our politicians tell us. Whatever. The Onion and TT are much funnier than this. Perhaps this is not his best material. I certainly hope not.
posted by starvingartist at 8:01 AM on February 6, 2002


What ever gave you the idea that The Onion is left-leaning humor? I think The Onion's great strength is that they manage to evade the ideological tar pit.
posted by Faze at 8:06 AM on February 6, 2002


why cartoonists and humorists seem better capable of attacking conservatism than liberal politicians or pundits?

Because most Cs and Hs are lefties. Hey, how old are you, anyway?
posted by luser at 8:08 AM on February 6, 2002


left-leaning?

left-leaning?!?!?

a joke is a JOKE people!

HUMOUR DOESN'T LEAN.

christ. ENOUGH ALREADY.
posted by jcterminal at 8:10 AM on February 6, 2002


Actually, a majority of Americans cannot name their senators and respective representatives. Fewer than 15 percent know the name of the chief justice. In any case, I looked upon this one as similar to a spoof I saw of the standard USA Today survey a few years ago, with 125 percent of respondents agreeing upon questioning that the USA is the greatest place on Earth. It's a spoof of dumb, obvious polls.
posted by raysmj at 8:13 AM on February 6, 2002


the title was kinda funny but he didn't go anywhere with it in the article. Definitely not in league with onion & tomorrow.
posted by mdn at 8:15 AM on February 6, 2002


Err.. anyone who doesn't think The Onion is an intrinsically left-leaning periodical is probably missing a good portion of the irony there.

The Borowitz thing was okay, but I still think the Onion is far and away the best source for satire on the Webbernet. While it's become quite 'in' to deride it as being so 2000, I think it's still as strong as ever.

Really; is there anyone out there whose satire so frequently devastates and stimulates? Not to mention the endless, snort-milk-out-your-nose guffaws...
posted by Aphex Kid at 8:18 AM on February 6, 2002


Man, What is up with mefites making these grandios overblown claims? "This video will change your life!" (some idotic video of remixed WTC footage with a techno beat... uh, yeh...) "This is the best blog entry ever!" (some stupid poem) and now "Best satirest ever"

I'm sorry, this guy sucks. I mean the premise is funny, but it's just way to over done, and propped up with old, old, old-ass jokes.

Didn't make me laugh at all, just un-daring kiddy humor and boring at that.
posted by delmoi at 8:27 AM on February 6, 2002


The reason that the C&H are doing such a good job on the conservatives is, "They're in power now, and taking shots at the president and his buddies is more fun than taking shots at the people on the outs."

Think about it. Two years ago, it was Clinton getting all the shots.
posted by djfiander at 8:28 AM on February 6, 2002


Okay, The Onion is sort of left-leaning in the sense that all the media that does not explicity identify itself as conservative, is sort of left-leaning. But you get the impression that it is skeptical of all sides, and is essentially trustworthy.
posted by Faze at 8:34 AM on February 6, 2002


I don't believe it.
posted by bradth27 at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2002


The Onion is capable of great subtlety. One of my favorite pieces in the post-9-11 issue was Not Knowing What Else to Do, Woman Bakes American Flag Cake. The humor is very gentle. The writer is both making fun of his subject, and loving her, simultaneously. It captures, much better than thousands of 'serious' pundits writing on the same topic, the restless, anguished, what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-now mood of post 9-11 America.

Borowitz's humor is much more bitter, but raysmj has it right, one of its points is the stupidity of both public opinion polls, and the woeful ignorance of the general public on current affairs. (Are other nations' citizens really better informed than the US's? I wonder.)

Is it leftist? Um, maybe. I can imagine National Review publishing something like this about a Bush père speech, or The Nation about a Clinton speech, although I can't imagine Salon publishing it about Clinton, Salon was just too sycophantic about the Clintons.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:49 AM on February 6, 2002


I certainly do hope Natural Law is more recognized. It's important in making moral decisions!
posted by aaronshaf at 9:05 AM on February 6, 2002



A while back, I gotinto
rather involved debatewith Eloquence on this very topic. I came to the conclusion that
humor may be the ultimate politcal weapon, no matter what side of the political
fence you stand on(even if, like me, you spend your time jumping back and
forth over the fence). But to answer the question, it's because the main
qualities of good humor are concision, sincerity and the ability to deflate
pretension, traits that are notably absent from most political speech.


posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on February 6, 2002


Sorry, link
to said debate.


posted by jonmc at 9:29 AM on February 6, 2002


I can't laugh at anything that has a "Click here for dated topical humor" button.
posted by thebigpoop at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2002


I certainly do hope Natural Law is more recognized. It's important in making moral decisions!

Sorry... what does that have to do with the topic at hand?
posted by Fenriss at 10:09 AM on February 6, 2002


All three great sources of political humor beg the question of why cartoonists and humorists seem better capable of attacking conservatism than liberal politicians or pundits?

Perhaps it is because our issues are much more morally serious to us.

The topic of Natural Law? It has to do with the article posted... however humorously portrayed... Americans conceding to the Law of Right and Wrong... Evil and Good... was heavily present in the construction of our country's main documents. "We hold these truths to be self-evident." Natural Law is usually assumed as self-evident, and when people start questioning this... then us Christians become concerned with moral relativism, which allows for ANYTHING to be ok... even terrorism (because of perspectivism).
posted by aaronshaf at 12:00 PM on February 6, 2002


mattpusateri: Are you saying that only conservatism is deserving of critique, by humorous or non-humorous commentators? Isn't it possible that liberalism itself is just as deserving of critique, and that honest commentators, whether or not they use humor, will critique as they see the need, rather than placing an untenable political agenda on their commentary, which might render it less effective?

Rather like your FPP, one might note.

And speaking as a liberal, or a borderline former liberal, the problem with liberalism today runs much deeper than whether or not one has a sense of humor.

And I don't think Borowitz is that good.
posted by dhartung at 12:36 PM on February 6, 2002


I like Aaron McGruder, also.
posted by McBain at 12:53 PM on February 6, 2002


I like Aaron McGruder, also.
posted by McBain at 12:53 PM on February 6, 2002


I certainly do hope Natural Law is more recognized. It's important in making moral decisions!

Oh please... the word evil doesn't automatically mean absolutism, as we still have to work out what is "evil" to begin with - this is no place for a complicated ethics debate, but the joke here, to me, was about the simplistic categorization of the problem anyway - "hey man, evil sucks!" kinda thing; the prez denoting the problem to be "evil" itself rather than the complex and terrible specifics which led to it, etc.
posted by mdn at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2002


I think blaming the problem on evil itself is the same as blaming the problem on "terrible specifics" (terrible specifics = evil specifics). I don't see Bush denoting the problem to be some floating force of evil...
posted by aaronshaf at 3:31 PM on February 6, 2002


I think blaming the problem on evil itself is the same as blaming the problem on "terrible specifics" (terrible specifics = evil specifics). I don't see Bush denoting the problem to be some floating force of evil...
posted by aaronshaf at 3:33 PM on February 6, 2002


dhartung,

By no means am I suggesting that only conservatism is worthy of mockery, derision, and satire... Those tools are free to go in any direction...

Rather, my point (other than finding Borowitz' daily dispatches to be very funny) was that liberal politicians and pundits seem to have a hard time articulating simple, clear retorts and responses to flawed, vulnerable right-wing rhetoric or policy. There are no great Democratic speakers in the Congress, and no national-figure celebrity left-wing pundits on the scale of a Rush Limbaugh or an O'Reilly. Gephardt's response to the SOU last week was so meely-mouthed, timid, and airy, it could hardly have been less effective.

Meanwhile, Jon Stewart on Comedy Central, Borowitz, Tom Tomorrow, and the guys at the Onion, tend to reveal and cut away at some of the absurd policies and ideas of the right, and do so with seeming ease. Progressive "leaders" seem at a loss for how to attack Bush and the GOP in an effective way, while comedians and cartoonists seem to do it effortlessly... maybe because they, unlike the Dems, aren't tainted by campaign finance themselves...
posted by mattpusateri at 6:31 PM on February 6, 2002


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