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Shock TV?
February 5, 2007 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Fox News is expanding their channel tonight with a new late night show. Red Eye will be hosted by Greg Gutfeld, famous for joining HuffPo as a blogger and using every post to bait the readers [1][2]and Ariana [1]. Also joining him is Rachel Marsden who herself is a controversal figure... Fox News is also about to air shows by conservative shock jock Mancow and a right-wing Daily Show clone ... does conservative humor work?
posted by DougieZero1982 (92 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Schlock TV - deeper pandering to an audience increasingly dissatisfied with their offerings (leavings?)
posted by FormlessOne at 3:21 PM on February 5, 2007


Marsden's first brush with controversy came in 1996 after she alleged Simon Fraser University swim coach Liam Donnelly raped her. Donnelly was fired but later reinstated after he produced evidence that Marsden was stalking him and sent him sexually explicit e-mails.

Ollie North, Dick Morris... now this chick... why do they keep hiring people like this.

She is Fox News' canadian expert... a canadian who hates Canada. She also write cringe worthy columns... IE: Why does Hollywood hate America?

Dosen't this dumb down the news even more... and expose Fox News as right wing?
posted by DougieZero1982 at 3:21 PM on February 5, 2007


That seems balanced.
posted by Flunkie at 3:24 PM on February 5, 2007


I've never heard of the Gutfeld guy, but I'm surprised he was blogging for HuffPo. Or is it a DailyKos kind of site where anyone can blog? Either way, his posts were amateurish and laughable. Why is Fox hiring a guy who can't write a blog without intermittently forgetting to capitalize the word "I"? Or who uses smiley faces in his blog entries?

I also notice Marsden was convicted of the harassment charges and given a year probation (per this link).

So... Fox is obviously deliberately trying to stir things up. The question is, is it for ratings or is it for a more sinister reason? My guess is ratings.
posted by smashingstars at 3:25 PM on February 5, 2007


I remember back when FNC started, their tagline was "We report, you decide"--as in, "we are the unbiased, unideological news channel." Because of that, it's interesting that with these additions they seem to be admitting their long-understood ideological bent.
posted by epugachev at 3:27 PM on February 5, 2007


does conservative humor work?

P.J O'Rourke is a fine humourist of the right, despite being so very, very misguided. (His line that he is a Nazi because no woman fantasises about being raped by a liberal sums up all there is to love and hate about him - plus he drinks!).

He, unfortunately, hasn't blipped on my radar for a while - possibly my inattention, or possibly the cream of American policy has curdled before his eyes and he actually has some shame. Fox News, on the other hand, is laughable, but not actually that funny.

Full disclosure: I listen to a Fox News feed with a timer to turn off the telly as I go to sleep, in much the same way I used to listen to Tom Lehrer cassettes. It's the accent I guess.

Fuller disclosure: You know who else used to listen to Tom Lehrer tapes as he went to sleep? Jim Morrison! And I was born nine months after he died.

Fullest disclosure: Actually I was born 4 days beforehand, but that's a way less interesting story.
posted by Sparx at 3:28 PM on February 5, 2007


no
posted by Shike at 3:28 PM on February 5, 2007


A deeper question: why do people watch television?
posted by koeselitz at 3:30 PM on February 5, 2007


Heh. The show sounds like typical Fox News stuff.

Rachel Marsden's Wikipedia article is a funny story. Because it documented in detail some past episodes in her life, her article became the subject of massive and lengthy Wikipedia litigation. The end result was that Wikipedia now tries not to put too much negative stuff into a biography (even if the negative stuff is true) because such things can have negative consequnces on the subjects.

See for all the glory but relatively boring details:
Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Rachel_Marsden.
posted by bhouston at 3:32 PM on February 5, 2007


A deeper deeper question: why do people ask why people watch television?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:33 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sure it works. If by "work" you mean fellate the conservative confirmation bias.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:35 PM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Because people who make a big deal out of not watching television are generally insufferable dicks?

I don't go to the opera, but I don't expect people to applaud me for it.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on February 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ghastly stuff, all of it. My favorite part, however, was linking to "Patriot Art" from Marsden's site. Oh dear.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:36 PM on February 5, 2007


A deeper deeper deeper question: Why do people watch Deepak Chopra on television?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:36 PM on February 5, 2007


Gesundheit!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:38 PM on February 5, 2007


This is the best news Comedy Central has ever had.
posted by tkchrist at 3:39 PM on February 5, 2007


Because people who make a big deal out of not watching Deepak Chopra on television are generally such insufferable dicks?
posted by epugachev at 3:40 PM on February 5, 2007


bhouston, I remember her Wikipedia entry being very detailed with lots of explosive stuff... I looked at it today and there was almost nothing.

That's hilarious... There seems to be like 10 mods that keep removing all the stuff people keep adding. I was wondering why there was so many edits in January alone.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 3:40 PM on February 5, 2007


Sparx writes "P.J O'Rourke is a fine humourist of the right, despite being so very, very misguided. (His line that he is a Nazi because no woman fantasises about being raped by a liberal sums up all there is to love and hate about him - plus he drinks!).

"He, unfortunately, hasn't blipped on my radar for a while..."


He's been on NPR a lot lately, it seems, though not talking much about contemporary politics. He has a new book out on Smith's Wealth of Nations; it sounds interesting.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:42 PM on February 5, 2007


This thread makes me wonder about the sufferable dicks. Just who are these martyrs of manliness, and why do they weep so copiously?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:43 PM on February 5, 2007


P.J O'Rourke is a fine humourist of the right,

PJ is a lush. But a lush who hates George Bush. It takes one to loath one, I guess.

Any conservative who has any principle at all hates George Bush.

And why so few Conservatives do, I suppose.

(see what I did there with the joke on conservatives? See I reversed the principle stat.... oh never mind)
posted by tkchrist at 3:43 PM on February 5, 2007


A show like this works by attacking those in power. It would work best with a sitting Democratic president. However, with the Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House, there should be good material to work with.

However, what in the world would this be doing on a "news" channel? Shouldn't this be on regular Fox or something else? Imagine the shitstorm that would result if CNN picked up The Daily Show.
posted by flarbuse at 3:46 PM on February 5, 2007


does conservative humor work?

Political humor is funny because it skewers whoever is in charge. It's doubtful Fox will target the White House for hijinks.

It seems obvious that, in the interest of longevity of advertising revenue, TDS will skewer whichever Democratic candidate takes office in 2008, just as they skewered the Democratic Party before Bush II took office.

The Daily Show skewered Bill Clinton when he was in power, although this fact is ignored by Surnow. And for good reason, since he needs to promote his show to a certain advertising demographic that is rapidly shrinking.

Humor based on promoting a particular agenda doesn't work, particularly when the agenda is already being fulfilled by those people who are already in charge.

Surnow's program will fail the same way and for same reasons as Al Franken's Air America, but it will fall harder for simply not being funny.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:46 PM on February 5, 2007


Artw: "Because people who make a big deal out of not watching television are generally insufferable dicks?"

Somewhat like the insufferable dicks who waste their time worrying about the conservative programming on the TV channels that no one in their right mind watches, no?
posted by koeselitz at 3:49 PM on February 5, 2007


I hope the Daily Show clone is as painfully bad as The America Show
posted by saraswati at 3:49 PM on February 5, 2007


Oh sweet Jesus not Rachel Marsden again.
posted by jokeefe at 3:53 PM on February 5, 2007


Why is Fox hiring a guy who can't write a blog without intermittently forgetting to capitalize the word "I"?
Because they're intentionally restricting their set of candidates to right wing extremists.

Was this supposed to be a trick question?
posted by Flunkie at 3:53 PM on February 5, 2007


Perhaps it would be a good exercise to try to come up with some conservative monologue jokes?

"So, you know Nancy Pelosi's from San Francisco. I bet she likes gay people."

Hmm, not really really getting anywhere here.
posted by epugachev at 3:53 PM on February 5, 2007


But in answer to the question: no, political humor doesn't work. Pandering just isn't funny, whether it's Jon Stewart or this dumbass doing it.
posted by koeselitz at 3:53 PM on February 5, 2007


Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter were filming skits for the Daily Show clone... Rush is the president and Coulter the VP.

I mean... should we archive this stuff for future generation to laugh at in an ironic way?
posted by DougieZero1982 at 3:55 PM on February 5, 2007


Because people who make a big deal out of not watching Deepak Chopra on television are generally such insufferable dicks?

When Deepak Chopra makes it on to AM radio your declarative statement will transform into an interrogative?
posted by peeedro at 3:56 PM on February 5, 2007


This about says it all, I think. I imagine that given the chance to run around the country torturing people at the drop of a hat, rush would jump at it.

And thanks for bringing up "The America Show" again. You know how much drinking I'm going to have to do to forget about that garbage again?
posted by bob sarabia at 4:01 PM on February 5, 2007


Imagine the shitstorm that would result if CNN picked up The Daily Show.

I believe they do show it on CNN International, or at least used to.
posted by dw at 4:09 PM on February 5, 2007


"...does conservative humor work?"

Short answer: no.

It doesn't work without bullying, bigotry, classic examples of psychological projections, grotesque omissions of fact, and outright lies.

To be a humorist or an artist, a good one anyway, you need an active imagination.

Conservatives, almost by definition, do not.
posted by rougy at 4:10 PM on February 5, 2007


Bring back Futurama. Tell them it is future-oriented conservative humor.

They might buy it.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:12 PM on February 5, 2007


Red Eye?

If a "brown eye" is a generic term for someone's asshole, and a "yellow eye" means the same thing, but only for the assholes of Asian people... how many Native Americans are going to have to debase themselves in order to produce this atrocity?
posted by gurple at 4:14 PM on February 5, 2007


The worst thing about the Daily Show clone is that it will be used as the tag piece on the original Daily Show, instead of real home-grown humor like President Bush trying to say "reconcilatory" without strangling.
posted by hexatron at 4:14 PM on February 5, 2007


I think I've finally figured out why Republican comedy can't work -- Bakhtin talked about how laughter is a shared tendency aimed at the exalted, the over-done, the pretentious. Basically, laughing at something covers up a lot of past grief, and is ultimately an indirect expression of anti-authoritarianism.

Ca. 2007, the Republican party has bent over backwards at every opportunity to give Bush (and perhaps more importantly Cheney) everything he's wanted -- a war and occupation, illegal wire-taps, the detention of an American citizen without trial (Padilla), an extra-legal detention camp (in Cuba, of all places), etc. People who supported or still support Bush are basically boot-lickers. The worship authority for its own sake. They are toadies of the worst sort. They're incapable of sincere laughter, because they are the opposite of anti-authoritarians. To question their idols would make their heads asplode.
posted by bardic at 4:15 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


(But I'm going to watch this at least once. I think it'll be funny.)
posted by bardic at 4:15 PM on February 5, 2007


saraswati writes "I hope the Daily Show clone is as painfully bad as The America Show"

GODDAMNIT! saraswati, I had finally managed to purge that abomination from my mind, and you brought it all roaring back. That "show" gives me 'Nam flashbacks, and I've never even been to Vietnam.
posted by brundlefly at 4:17 PM on February 5, 2007


I think I've finally figured out why Republican comedy can't work -- it's because I'm a liberal.
posted by gurple at 4:21 PM on February 5, 2007


The America Show, Episode 3: "Wal-Mart Rocks!"

I can't wait to watch these... no audio at work. Was this a public access show?... I can only find 2 episodes.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 4:21 PM on February 5, 2007


They're incapable of sincere laughter
Be that as it may, I predict that they will laugh heartily.

NOW IS THE TIME TO LAUGH! HA HA HA! HA HA HA!
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


TVNewser said that early pilots had Laura Ingraham trying to be Jon Stewart and the leak said it was beyond horrible... Roger Ailes really wants that young audience...
posted by DougieZero1982 at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2007


does conservative humor work?

Answer: Why don't you ask Dennis Miller's current career.
posted by Peter H at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2007


Answer: Why don't you ask Dennis Miller's current career.

Fox News quickly snatched him up from CNBC to do once a week bashings on O'Reilly and Hannity.

Pelosi blinking, Global warming is good because he's always cold and France sucks... yeah, you get the idea.

R.I.P. Dennis Miller.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 4:30 PM on February 5, 2007


does conservative humor work?

Answer: why don't you ask Trey Parker and Matt Stone's careers.

(ie: yes, if it's funny)
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:35 PM on February 5, 2007


I think conservative humor can work--P.J. O'Rourke's already been mentioned, and I think there's a strong case to be made that "The Simpsons" is an essentially conservative show. The problem is that that kind of conservatism (old-school, libertarian, family-and-local-government style conservatism) is almost diametrically opposed to today's Republicanism.

Humor, particularly satire, has to be anti-authoritarian to really work. As Molly Ivins memorably pointed out about Limbaugh, making fun of children and cripples doesn't get you much of a laugh. And while old-fashioned conservatives were deeply suspicious of authority, the proto-fascists in the modern GOP just aren't cut from the same cloth.
posted by EarBucket at 4:37 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sorry drjimmy11, but Parker and Stone are equal opportunity offenders. They actually identify themselves more with Libertarians.

This is from an interview

"Q: I don't know if you've heard about this, but there have been essays written about the concept of the "South Park Republican."

PARKER: Yeah, we have seen that. What we're sick of—and it's getting even worse—is: you either like Michael Moore or you wanna fuckin' go overseas and shoot Iraqis. There can't be a middle ground. Basically, if you think Michael Moore's full of shit, then you are a super-Christian right-wing whatever. And we're both just pretty middle-ground guys. We find just as many things to rip on on the left as we do on the right. People on the far left and the far right are the same exact person to us."

They aren't on the side of the right. Thanks for trying to spread disinfo, though.
posted by GavinR at 4:41 PM on February 5, 2007


If we were talking about the classic political definition of conservatism, then I would argue conservative humor is oxymoronic. There is no joke that ends with traditional values being upheld that is funny. The best you can do is make fun of hippies for fifteen minutes or so--not that you couldn't draw an audience with that, but let's just all admit it's not exactly fresh. Humor depends on expectations being subverted, narratives perverted, words refigured, or in some way the status quo being inverted (rhyme unintentional).

On the other hand, modern conservatism is a bit different, isn't it? Still, I find many of the modern conservative's attempts at humor to be crude insults and making-fun; the earnestness (or at least the displayed earnestness) of the modern conservative seems averse to and even incapable of something like irony.
posted by adoarns at 4:42 PM on February 5, 2007


I can't wait to watch these... no audio at work. Was this a public access show?... I can only find 2 episodes.

It was a pilot by a few amateur right wing comedians. Thankfully for all of humanity it was never picked up. It was posted here a few months ago

To brundlefly and bob sarabia, you're welcome!
posted by saraswati at 4:43 PM on February 5, 2007


*twitches*
posted by brundlefly at 4:45 PM on February 5, 2007


Matt and Tre are politically confused... they seem to give a different answer every year. They have claimed to be Republicans before... then libertarians, then said they didn't know what libertarians were when asked by Reason Magazine.

If Bush is popular, they'll be against him... if everyone hates Bush, they'll be for him.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 4:45 PM on February 5, 2007


Ah, Dennis Miller. He spent so long playing the character of a smart guy in his act that he came to think he actually was one...
posted by lodurr at 4:46 PM on February 5, 2007


... I think there's a strong case to be made that "The Simpsons" is an essentially conservative show.

I notice you used a small 'c' in 'conservative.'

I've been arguing that for years. But the thing is, by that measure, most progressives and liberals are 'conservative.'
posted by lodurr at 4:48 PM on February 5, 2007


The basic political slant of South Park seems to be "You're stupid. Shut up. You're stupid." It doesn't seem to matter much what "you" they are addressing.

They're much better when they refrain from the political.
posted by Flunkie at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've been arguing that for years. But the thing is, by that measure, most progressives and liberals are 'conservative.'

Dunno if I'd exactly argue that with you, honestly. The fact is that the "right-wing/left-wing" dichotomy stopped describing American politics a while ago, if it ever did. I think that the libertarian/authoritarian axis is becoming more and more important, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) nearly everyone in authority tends toward the authoritarian side of things. Satire's damn near the only weapon the rest of us have left.
posted by EarBucket at 4:56 PM on February 5, 2007


It doesn't matter what politics someone has, as long as they go where the funny is. For instance, the much-mentioned PJ O'Rourke is a Republican who wrote the following:

The Democrats say, 'We know what is wrong with America and we can fix it.' The Republicans say, 'There's nothing wrong with America and we can fix that.'
posted by Bookhouse at 5:04 PM on February 5, 2007


Rachel Marsden! Slowly I turn... Check this out (from a right-wing pub, BTW)
posted by CCBC at 5:16 PM on February 5, 2007


Rachel Marsden's Wikipedia article is a funny story. Because it documented in detail some past episodes in her life, her article became the subject of massive and lengthy Wikipedia litigation. The end result was that Wikipedia now tries not to put too much negative stuff into a biography (even if the negative stuff is true) because such things can have negative consequnces on the subjects.

FYI, The ArbCom case (summarized @ Signpost), though quite the neverending sturm und drang, did not influence the creation of the BLP policy (which has been in place since mid-2006). It may be a factor leading to closer enforcement of the policy in the future.

I remember her Wikipedia entry being very detailed with lots of explosive stuff... I looked at it today and there was almost nothing. That's hilarious...

If Wikipedia gets shut down someday as a result of a libel case, it won't be so funny. Basically, a lot of insiders expect that it will be named in a libel case in the next year or two. There's even a guy who's predicted the demise of the project within five years, probably because of the difficulty of policing libel.
posted by dhartung at 5:19 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


...does conservative humor work?

Only when it's funny.

And therein lies the rub.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:49 PM on February 5, 2007


...does conservative humor work?

Molly Ivins said it well: "Satire is a weapon, and it can be quite cruel. It has historically been the weapon of powerless people aimed at the powerful. When you use satire against powerless people, as Limbaugh does, it is not only cruel, it's profoundly vulgar. It is like kicking a cripple."
posted by Tones at 5:54 PM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


"The Democrats say, 'We know what is wrong with America and we can fix it.' The Republicans say, 'There's nothing wrong with America and we can fix that.'"


I believe the actual quote is:

"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it. "
posted by stenseng at 6:23 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


“There is no joke that ends with traditional values being upheld that is funny”

All happy families are the same but each unhappy family is unhappy in a different way...hmmm....dunno if that applies to comedy. Leave it to Beaver was popular. The Andy Griffith show was fairly popular and very occasionally funny to me at times.

Man, all ‘X’s are ‘x.’ Totally. Especially Mr.X he’s not ‘y’ at all. He’s a big ‘x.’ Unlike all the ‘y’ers who I personally identify with. Everything that is ‘X’ is not ‘y’ and never will be. Fortunately no one can ever call me on my bullshit because all my terms are variable and I can make exceptions for any given audiance member.


“...does conservative humor work?”

Funny is good. Funny is good. But then do it by using comedy and humor, not police action and coffee remarks.

I like the Daily show. I’m not a conservative now? I dislike Dennis Miller. And he’s not funny, and not, I’d argue because he’s conservative (although I don’t see that he is) but because he’s a shill. Like Limbaugh, like all those other hacks, and there are some on the left.
Comedy requires selflessness above all else. Conservative, liberal, whatever political stripe, even authoritarian, it can all work but for that. Be false, duplicitous, push an agenda instead of aiming at comedy and it’s not funny. This is not to say one can’t have an agenda and be funny, merely that funny comes first, which can be dangerous.
Shills don’t know how - or rather - don’t want to do that. They want to shill. Which is why the Aristocrats is such a huge hit amongst comedians, it represents the lengths to which they will go - but often not publicly and so also the limits. Because they have their image and careers and are willing to risk those only so much. Which makes it funny, because look, I can be this f’ing sick and dirty, but y’know I’m too chicken to whip it out in public. But indeed, it can’t merely be dangerous (Michael Richards’ recent adventures come to mind) or satirical it has to be, first and foremost dedicated to the laugh.

ANY show which aims at - whatever - is going to fail. Because the goal comes before the dedication to the laugh. The Daily Show works because it’s first loyalty is to making something funny, not making a lesson out of anything or going somewhere - or avoiding going somewhere. It’s a comedy show.
The Red Eye, apparently, isn’t. They’re shills for an agenda. That they happen to use one political label or another doesn’t mean dick really.
Can black people be funny? Can white people? Can communists be funny? Christians? Whether Fox shilled for the Dems or the Libertarians or whomever, shills aren’t funny. ‘Cos they’re shilling, not making the people laugh.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:02 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


isn't the Redneck comedy tour mostly conservative humor that has done exceedingly well?

And I believe Christian stations have been doing this kind of thing for some time. I'm not as confident this show won't be a success.
posted by kigpig at 7:10 PM on February 5, 2007


I believe the actual quote is ...

Both are correct, thank you very much.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:27 PM on February 5, 2007


Rachel Marsden had the harassment coordinator and the university president on her side against the swim coach. Both lost their jobs; the swim coach (Liam Donnelly) kept his, and is still winning championships.

She then worked for Gurmant Grewal, who lost that election. He did fire her after news leaked that she was working for him, but it was too late. The Marsden curse had already begun to work.

And now she's working for Fox News? Well, hopefully the Marsden curse will still be working its magic.
posted by wenat at 8:37 PM on February 5, 2007


ThinkProgress has a clip from Red Eye online... watching it has made me too nauseous to actually comment on it yet...
posted by Tones at 9:03 PM on February 5, 2007


"...there's a strong case to be made that "The Simpsons" is an essentially conservative show."

I just don't see that, man. I would say it's an "anti-authoritarian" show.

It's usually well written, but would have died long ago without the talents of the main characters.
posted by rougy at 9:07 PM on February 5, 2007


That sample clip is amusing

Red Eye uses the hand held shaky cam! IT'S TOTALLY EXTREME!!!!!

DEMOCRATS ARE RACISTS! They like light skinned black people!
Oprah douches!

all this in a clip that lasts seconds. /media matters explodes.
posted by DougieZero1982 at 9:17 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I watched the clip and wasn't even insulted. I was merely bored.

On a related topic, is there some rule that FNC hosts must have gigantic heads? Do they just have really lousy cameras so they need bigger headed hosts to see them?
posted by chairface at 10:11 PM on February 5, 2007


"ThinkProgress has a clip from Red Eye online..."

Jeezus that sucks. I mean if they were a bunch of sophmores at a TGI Fridays, that couldn't get more pink. Ack! I gotta take a shower. That ruined my whole night man.

...although it did validate nearly every life choice I've ever made. And my God I now fully relate to "No Exit" by Sartre because I'm sure they'd hate me.
"...isn’t he saying what every liberal is thinking? That Obama is acceptable because he’s...not threatening."
Yep, that's Hell. No need for red hot pokers.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:22 PM on February 5, 2007


*blink*

FOX???

*blink*

NEWS???

*blink*

AH - HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
posted by ZachsMind at 10:50 PM on February 5, 2007


No mention of R. Emmet Tyrell yet? He's totally right wing wacko, but damn if his style of writing doesn't make me laugh sometimes.

His latest:

Surely, Castro must still get a kick out of the idiotic laudations American lefties erupt in after leaving his presence. After Steven Spielberg dined with him in 2002, Spielberg enthused that he had just spent "the eight most important hours of my life." Probably they had two desserts. After a three-hour visit in 1998, Jack Nicholson pronounced Castro a "genius. We spoke about everything" -- which I guess makes Nicholson a genius, too. And remember when the filmmaker Saul Landau complimented Castro for having "brought a greater equality in terms of wealth distribution (to Cuba) than I guess any country in the world today"? There is nothing like widespread poverty to boost a country's equality index.

Of course, poking fun at the left has never taken much skill or effort.
posted by three blind mice at 11:14 PM on February 5, 2007


Mentioned above, but not (as far as I can see) linked: Episode 3 of the increasingly appalling America Show.

I swear, I jumped with delight when I saw they'd made a third one. God, this is gratifying! In an age of YouTube and Fox News, it's so easy to get desensitized to the aggressively amateur and bizarrely offensive. Is there anything out there that can slap me awake again?

Yes, yes, YES!
posted by bicyclefish at 11:16 PM on February 5, 2007


"Of course, poking fun at the left has never taken much skill or effort."

Is yer childrin learning?
posted by rougy at 11:51 PM on February 5, 2007


As usual in discussions about politics, there's a lot of confusion about what the word "conservative" means.

Of course Stone and Parker are conservatives. There's no other word for what they are.

Take any episode of South Park. Here's the basic plot summary: Someone complains about X. Half of the characters get very upset about X, and take drastic measures to make X better. And then someone (usually Kyle) gives a soliloquy saying, "Yes, things aren't perfect, but we can't change it all at once and, in fact, there are some good things about X." That is, by definition, conservatism.

Is the current American administration conservative? Not very, but that doesn't change the definition.

That's My Bush was an amazing program which unfortunately got cut short, but what's most amazing about that show was how political it wasn't. Bush's goofiness was used as a palette for lampooning the sitcom genre and all of its tropes, many of which are unmistakably liberal (the "very special episode," overrepresentation of minorities, the tearjerking sympathetic endings).

If you keep saying about the South Park guys, "Oh, they make fun of everyone and everything equally," then you really haven't watched their shows beyond the fart-joke level.

Other popular conservative comedy: Penn and Teller, Colin Quin, Denis Miller, Denis Leary, etc., etc.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:17 AM on February 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


As an SFU alum, I'm saddened that this whore has been so "successful".
posted by sharpener at 12:20 AM on February 6, 2007


I thought Mancow was the best thing in the world when I was twelve (ten plus years ago). He was on this excellent, now-defunct rock station in Chicago, and he would put on freak shows and have local bands on all the time and I still thought prank phone calls were hilarious.

That whole time I thought he was this cool, conspiracy-theorist anti-government guy because of the way he would dog Clinton. Then, I realized that he wasn't anti-government but just anti-Bill Clinton and it really put me off, which was fine because I was outgrowing him anyway... but still, what kind of Republican likes the Dead Kennedys?
posted by elr at 1:21 AM on February 6, 2007


roll truck roll, in what way do you consider Penn and Teller conservative? Not a snarky pseudo-question there. Other than the global warming thing (which I'm hoping you're not considering a defining characteristic of small-c conservatism) I haven't seen evidence of it. To be fair, I haven't seen a whole helluva lot of their stuff. I've enjoyed them when I've seen them, but haven't seen anything I view in that way. Whenever I've seen Penn talk, he's always seemed more libertarian.

Teller, on the other hand, is extremely conservative in his use of words.
posted by brundlefly at 1:53 AM on February 6, 2007


You're right, brundlefly. And in a kind of tangential way, that's one of the points I was trying to make: libertarianism has more in common with conservatism than present-day fundamentalism has.

I've seen a lot of episodes of Bullshit; they seem to come and go on Google Video. And Penn is definitely no right-wing mouthpiece, but his skepticism more often than not seems to fall on the left. In one episode, they interview Howard Zinn and attack multiculturalism in college curricula. In another episode, they criticize the government for funding and endorsing twelve-step programs, citing both a low success rate and the spirituality espoused by programs. There are also several rants on environmental issues, and many loathsome references to Michael Moore.

But the episode where Penn really leaves nothing to the imagination, as far as his politics go, is the one on gun control. At the end of the episode, he practically suggests that Showtime viewers pick up their guns and revolt against the government.

As an interesting aside, the South Park guys actually got the idea of doing a Scientology episode from Penn and Teller. P&T has started planning an episode, but Showtime got wind of it and canned it.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:32 AM on February 6, 2007


Parker & Stone and Penn & Teller are shills, too, albeit not in precisely the way that Smedleyman's talking about: They're shills for their own popularity, and they learned a long time ago that being controversial keeps them fat and happy. Intellectual integrity really isn't a strong suit for any of them, as far as I can see.
posted by lodurr at 5:50 AM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I listened to Penn's radio show via podcast for about two months before I got sick of it. He claims that he is a libertarian, but is actually a Republican shill. In the whole time I listened, he never said anything bad about a Republican, but would repeat as many anti-liberal talking points from Drudge as he possibly could. It's a shame, because he's quite interesting when he talks about anything other than politics.

Also, Penn would talk about "Matt and Trey" in reverential tones as if they were gods.
posted by rfs at 6:55 AM on February 6, 2007


Anybody else ever think of how the news gets turned into infotainment in the movie Network? Sybil the Soothsayer? Vox Populi? Docutainment about a bunch of quasi-revolutionary thugs? Hell, these news channels, and TV in general, are at least as outrageous as that black comedy seemed at the time.

(Howard Beale died for your sins.)
posted by pax digita at 7:39 AM on February 6, 2007


bicyclefish, you are a brave brave person. I do sometimes enjoy awkward humor but the america show is so unbearably painful, with none of the reassuring touches of some flicker of self-awareness. It is just such a blunt level of idiocy, like when kramer flipped out... I want to be able to enjoy it as harmless ridiculousness, but part of me really finds it depressing.

I think what lodurr said about Matt & Trey and Penn is spot on - they want to stir shit up, more than make a particular point. Their general brand of humor is aggressive and simple; they are usually funny by going further than you expect them to (and they are funny sometimes; I'm just saying it's not a particularly complex or subtle kind of humor). That's consistent with right wing politics, really, though they would use different adjectives - strong and definitive, perhaps. The point is, liberals are "wishy washy" precisely because they tend to think we have to negotiate and compromise and tolerate each other, whereas conservatives tend to think there is a right way and a wrong way, and we mustn't bend the rules, reconsider or reinterpret principles, or otherwise fuck with the system.
posted by mdn at 9:44 AM on February 6, 2007


mdn et al, I don't want to leave the impression I don't respect Parker & Stone for their capabilities. There's some stuff in individual episodes of SP, and in the SP movie, that are just inspired. Even Team America has its moments. (Kim Jong Il's ballad "I'm So Rone-ry" stands out.)

So I guess it would be fair to say that they disappoint me, more than that I dislike them. There's so much unrealized potential there, and so many easy cheap shots.
posted by lodurr at 10:11 AM on February 6, 2007


South Park is about how you shouldn't really give a shit about anything, because it makes you a douche, comma, shut up, you're stupid.

Lately I think they're kind of on to something.
posted by tehloki at 10:52 AM on February 6, 2007


The Simpsons and South Park seem to be conservative in the exact same way that Bush isn't a real coservative according to all the back-peddaling wishy-washy Republicans a few months ago.

Hey, what happened to those guys?
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on February 6, 2007


Mentioned above, but not (as far as I can see) linked: Episode 3 of the increasingly appalling America Show.

Fucking hell. Life's just too short, you know? I made it to the shrieking and displaying of the Wal-Mart bag before it occured to me that I could be doing something more fun, like flossing my teeth.

Re: South Park-- I always thought they were more contrarian than conversative.
posted by jokeefe at 7:43 PM on February 6, 2007


From Marsden's January 29 column:

As I sat at home freezing in -13C weather and listening to Bush's knee-slapper, I wondered why the enviro-fascists always seem to require more convincing when it comes to the dangers of terrorism and the importance of fighting it in Iraq, yet don't hold their man-made glo-bull warming theory to the same standard.

"Glo-bull". Get it? Huh? Oh my god, could I hate this woman any more? What a fool.
posted by jokeefe at 7:54 PM on February 6, 2007


I am now embarassed that this media-slut twit was schooled in my province. She is a regrettable embarassment, and I sincerely hope her 15 minutes of fame ends extremely quickly and with great humiliation. She is malicious, self-serving, ill-informed, and mean-spirited. Fuck her, and fuck all she's rode in on.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 PM on February 6, 2007


"The America Show" is a million times better than "Redeye."
posted by MadAboutPolitics at 8:25 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


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