Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spread the humor liberally...

I thought about the recent comment concerning left-leaning humorists on the Sound Off! blog. I have lomg [long] been puzzled by the dominance of liberal humorists and the relative paucity of popular right-wing humorists. 

There could be several reasons.  First, conservatives are about rules, discipline, deferred gratitude, duty, and similar virtues  - none of which sound like funny stuff.  In short, conservatives don't make good comedians as a rule because they don't see the world as a very funny place.

I was once asked to try writing for The American [Enterprise] - about as far right wing as you can get.  They accepted one article, but found the other pieces (which were eventually published elsewhere) as unsuitable because they lacked the stinging satire or brittle edge so prevalent in conservative magazines.

Consider one of the great right-wing humorists: P. J. O'Roarke.  I like his stuff, but it a [is] searingly sarcastic to the point of meanness, and not [co]incidentally heavily laden with booze-soaked episodes.  So while it cheers the vengeful cadre of those outraged but [by] unjust rewards, it certainly doesn't linger on the taste well after reading it.  Compare to Garrison Keillor, who even if you disagree at least tells jokes about the better nature of humanity.

Conservatives spend a lot of time being angry and threatening those who fail to meet their standards of conduct.  Note the bald threat from the writer of the e-mail.  This is not to pick on him - it's been a feature of his part of the political spectrum for about forever.  It could also be because gags from the left get such an angry response, that proof that someone is listening and reacting provokes more.  If conservatives couls hrug [could shrug] more off, they might have less to deal with, but they can't pass up even an implied dig.

Non-conservative humorists can work closer to the edge than conservatives who are more adherent to ruels [rules] of decorum and taste. Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Robin Williams - and now Stewart, Colbert and Letterman all dance on the precipice of propriety where our fear of outrage is often the basis for humor.

Look around and back into history. While it could be the entertainment industry has mounted and maintained a powerful blackout on conservative humor for over a century, a more likely explanation of why there is so little conservative humor (and hence humorists) is the right is not very funny, or at leat [least] good at being funny.

When you spend your times [time] preaching right behavior, it's hard to think up gags.  Furthermore, the tendency of conservatives to take themselves very seriously really begs to be used as a target. I mean, they are going to be outraged no matter what, so why not make fun of them?

The writer [of the email] wants a balance in humor. He does not suggest any comparable witers [writers] or performers, and I don't think he (or Agweb) would like the readership scores if we did feature the current offerings from the right.

We don't write the material (well, I try), we just share it.  And if you can find reliable comedy with a right-wing stamp of approval send it in.  I've looked and right now nothing can touch the combination of wit, sarcasm, and irony that the left produces in quantity every day.

Oh yeah - conservatives can't dance either. 

[badly needed corrections]


buffalobill said...

I liked your first line...I agree, with your thoughts. Conservatives are easy targets, because they take everything-including themselves- so darn seriously. I would like to disagree with your last statement, the one about whether or not conservatives can dance. I have always been politically conservative (and socially liberal) and I can dance just fine! I laugh a lot as well... Bill

PS check out My blog sometime...

Ol James said...

Well here's a link to some of the best conservative humor. It's been around for decades or longer than most of us.
Cowboys and Ranchers are some of the biggest conservatives around,and yes Farmers,(even if they won't admit it).There is a wealth of good humor out there and some of the best is political.