Tag: humor

Talk Like a Pundit!

Because we need some comic relief, here’s PJ with a guide to Punditspeak, translating terms you’ll hear in the punditsphere into English. Viz:

highly placed source—anyone dumb enough to answer my emails or phone calls.

highly placed source speaking on condition of anonymity because—because they’re dumb but not suicidal.

on background—the highly placed source is pulling this out of his ass.

on deep background—the highly placed source is pulling this out of somebody else’s ass.

studies show—I’m pulling this out of my own ass.

The whole thing is pretty funny.

Once Again, PC Eats Itself

So this week, Comedy Central announced their replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show: South African comedian Trevor Noah. Noah, known for a somewhat edgy standup routine and a couple of correspondent reports on The Daily Show was immediately praised a great choice.

Wait for it….

A few hours after Comedy Central announced that the South African comic would replace Jon Stewart, Salon’s TV critic predicted a surge of “right-wing rage” because “conservative critics have a practiced, doublespeaking method of piling on the heat on figures who stand out because of their race or gender or sexuality,” and obviously their guns would turn on Noah.

Not 24 hours later, Salon published a piece about how Noah’s old tweets—not conservatives—might “kill The Daily Show.” As Sonny Bunch helpfully recounts, the Internet discovered that Noah, who’d grown phenomenally popular in the rest of the Anglosphere, had a bit of a clunker problem.

You can click through to read the offending humor, which consists of tweets that include some Jewish jokes and some fat-girl jokes.

This has all led to some whipsawing in progressive media, from a Trevor Noah welcome wagon to a caravan of pitchfork-wielding villagers. On Monday, Vox’s Max Fisher introduced Noah to readers with “seven of his funniest clips,” and predicted that the host would make his show “a fresh and perhaps invaluable contribution to how we talk—and joke—about race and nationality.” He proved it, with a dive into Noah’s popular videos, pulling out solid routines about how bad Africans looked in famine relief ads and how mixed-race people get “upgraded to black” when they’re famous.

Yet within a day, there was dissent within Vox; writer Kelsey McKinney was explaining why Noah might be unfit to lead TDS. “A Daily Show host should be held to a higher standard than other comedians,” she wrote in regard to the tweets. “These jokes are offensive because they are reflections of cultures that are oppressive and privileged—and rather than being critical of those societal constructions, the jokes instead reinforce them.”

It’s Patricia Arquette all over again. It was fine for Noah to make black jokes, white jokes or anti-American jokes. But he can’t make fun of fat women because he’s above them in the N-dimensional matrix of the perpetually offended. (Weigel reminds us of the Suey Park-Colbert incident, where a bunch of hashtagivists insisted that Colbert’s satire of racism was, in itself, racist).

So what do I think? Chris Rock, a few months ago, gave an interesting interview where he talked about our culture of perpetual offense as it applies to comedians:

It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough to write a perfect act and get onstage, but everybody else workshops it and workshops it, and it can get real messy. It can get downright offensive. Before everyone had a recording device and was wired like fucking Sammy the Bull, you’d say something that went too far, and you’d go, “Oh, I went too far,” and you would just brush it off. But if you think you don’t have room to make mistakes, it’s going to lead to safer, gooier stand-up. You can’t think the thoughts you want to think if you think you’re being watched.

Exactly. Comedians who live on the edge of offense, as Rock sometimes does, have to work their material to go up to but not over the line. And the only way to know you’ve gone over the line is when people get offended and stop laughing. Think about Rock’s routine on black people vs. the n-word and how much work he must have done to make sure it was funny without being offensive. That’s something that can only come from experience, from trial and error.

For comedians (and really, for everyone), Twitter is a test audience of 284 million. We’ve seen a lot comedians — Patton Oswalt and Louis CK, for example — tweet jokes that went over the line (sometimes way over it). Hell, we’ve seen random people like Justine Sacco have their lives turned upside down because a dumb joke went viral.

I didn’t like Noah’s tweets (which are, granted, a small selection from over 8000 tweets). But I did find his stand-up material good. Not George-Carlin-in-his-prime good, but reasonable. I do think his tweets went over the line and the Jewish jokes did bother me. But I’m willing to give Noah a chance at The Daily Show. If he starts making offensive jokes, I’ll turn it off. But as someone who has occasionally tweeted stupid things, I’m not willing to line up the firing squad just yet.

NSA and The Florida Department of Departments

I’m on vacation this week in Disneyworld with the wife and Sal 11000 Beta. It’s a quiet week in politics anyway, with the most interesting commentary revolving around the NSA’s pathetic lies and the pathetic pundits who believe those lies. Check out this evisceration of Jeffrey’s Toobin hacktastic work in which compares Snowden’s leaks to the MLK assassination (seriously).

You can also check out ZDnet’s hilarious “data driven analysis” which tries to convince us that NSA is no big deal. Taking it apart is pretty trivial:

  • The 2776 leaks documented by Snowden are from one year and one collection center and represent reported leaks. It does not include illegal abuses that have no been reported (duh). The NSA is increasingly reminding me of a bad liar. “We don’t routinely collect data”. “Well we do, but we don’t collect data we shouldn’t.” “Well, we don’t do so abusively. It’s all an accident.” We know what the next lie is: “We do abuse it but only on bad people like Tea Partiers”.
  • The claim that Facebook collects 20 times more data per day is irrelevant and misleading. FB collects a ton of information, so if NSA is collecting 1/20th of that, that’s way too much. And remember the euphemisms NSA uses for “collecting” data. Also, FB can’t put us in prison.
  • That the percentage of reported errors is tiny is not very relevant, since the system is still leaky. It also contradicts point one. You can’t simultaneously claim that the errors are tiny compared to the vast amount of information NSA collects and then claim that the NSA doesn’t collect a lot of data.
  • He claims the NSA collects an amount of data less than one MP3 file. This is bullshit. He deliberately confounds metadata — of which the NSA collects trillions of pieces without a warrant — with records, of which it collects a lesser number. He also claims that NSA only makes 2776 mistakes a year. That is flat wrong. That 2776 errors, some of which means thousands of pieces of illegally collected data, not metadata. So this complete horseshit.
  • He then says that these numbers would be regarded as a triumph for a corporation. Well, first of all, if ATT erroneously charged people for phone service, they’d get sued. And second … do I need to say this again? … apparently I do … corporations do not have police power over us.
  • Anyway, that’s the NSA rant that has been building in my mind whilst taking advantage of the free wireless Disney provides in long lines to get princess signatures.

    I did think you’d get a kick of this, however, which I photographed on a vending machine today:


    As far as I could tell, the point of that notice is to be a notice. But Ken at Popehat tweeted me that he blogged about this over a year ago. The best explanation in the comments, which sounds right to me, was this:

    My brother and his wife own a large vending machine company. The stickers are not proof of taxes paid, or anything like that. You can buy them from private vendors. The reason for the stickers was that they used to have information on them as to who owned or operated the machine. The problem is that they had the FEIN of the business on it, and this was frequently used to fraudulently steal the identity of the operator.

    To fix this, the vending companies were lobbying to have the law changed so that the decals were no longer required. This effort was unsuccessful, but in 2010 the vending lobbyist was able to accomplish the next best thing: They had the requirements of the sticker changed so that it no longer has to contain information that can be used by identity thieves. That is how it happened.

    Even if that’s right, it’s still pretty stupid.

    Have a fun week, guys.

    Dropping Faster than Snooki’s Underpants

    Dave Barry has his Year in Review post up again and it’s definitely worth your time. One of my favorite quips:

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, having dealt with all of the city’s other concerns — disaster preparation, for example — turns his attention to the lone remaining problem facing New Yorkers: soft drinks. For far too long, these uncontrolled beverages have roamed the city in vicious large-container packs, forcing innocent people to drink them and become obese. Bloomberg’s plan would prohibit the sale of soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, thereby making it impossible to consume larger quantities, unless, of course, somebody bought two containers, but the mayor is confident that nobody except him would ever be smart enough to think of that.


    the Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C. for their convention, during which they declare their near-carnal passion for the Middle Class and celebrate the many major achievements of the Obama administration, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, solar energy, the winning of the War on Terror by killing Osama bin Laden, the Chevy Volt, bold presidential leadership in the form of making the difficult decision to order the killing of Osama bin Laden, wind power and many, many other major things that the administration has achieved, such as killing Osama bin Laden. The Democrats acknowledge that the economy is not totally 100 percent “there” yet but promise to continue moving steadfastly forward with their relentless attacks on the root cause of economic stagnation and continued high unemployment, namely, George W. Bush.

    Read the whole thing. We need some humor right about now.

    Louisiana Considers Secession to Delight of Non-Residents

    If you’re not following Victoria Jackson on Facebook (yes, her), you really need to.  She reads WND and believes it so you don’t have to.

    Some intrepid people in Louisiana have submitted a petition to the White House to let their state secede from the Union.  Again.   It’s stupid, of course, because if they meet their quota, the White House will just say “no” and the president will no doubt take the opportunity to make a funny joke at the expense of people who dislike him.  And the press corps will laugh along and hoot at how stupid red state people are.  It’s already comical because 90% of the signatures I see on there already are from outside Louisiana and many are in blue states. 

    Maybe this would be the good compromise Seattle Outcast was after: Let Louisiana out and let Puerto Rico in so we don’t have to change the flag. 

    Up to you if you want to sign or not.  If you do choose to, I’d like to know why you did it.

    UPDATE: This post has been getting some search engine attention so I’m going to seriously address the questions I’m seeing.

    These petitions mean absolutely nothing.  Even if the White House approves such a thing, your state would still need to hold a referendum or pass an ordinance of secession in its state legislature to finalize it.

    None of this is serious.  The position of the federal government is that the United States is indivisible.  I’ll refer you to the Supreme Court case Texas v. White.   Any attempt to secede from the US by any state or group of states would certainly lead to the federal government intervening and arresting every state official responsible.

    We had the Civil War because the Confederate states voted to secede and President Lincoln chose to stop them from doing so with military force.  There isn’t any reason to think Obama would do any differently, really.  Peaceful secession is simply out of the question at this time, with or without a petition. 

    Save your state some embarrassment and ignore these petitions.  Let’s get a Constitutional Convention going instead.

    Obama economy made me do it!

    This story is just too crazy to make up. here are the details.

    COLUMBUS, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) — A former Columbus police officer admitted in court that he robbed a bank last year so he can get health benefits being in a federal prison. Edward Pascucci told U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land Thursday that he was facing “severe health problems” and homelessness when he decided to rob the Citizens Trust Bank last August, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

    “I didn’t want to be homeless,” Pascucci said, according to the paper. “I should not have manipulated the justice system, but I couldn’t think of any other way to get help.” The FBI said Pascucci walked out of the bank with more than $1,000, according to WTVM-TV. He was jobless for more than a year when the crime occurred. Pascucci – who served as a police officer for 15 years – was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

    Things are so bad you decide prison is a good alternative? And you used to be in law enforcement? In addition to pointing out how messed up things are, this whole thing tells me we should wonder if we coddle people in prison too much. Tax payer provided healthcare, three meals, roof over your head, and from what others say, sex too. Dang, and here I thought Obamacare was going to fix everything if we just passed it.

    Callin’ Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton! Money to be made..

    I call racims!

    There is also some structural damage to the restaurant, which is located at 6701 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway, at the intersection of Sheriff Road. A collapse team was dispatched to stabilize the building and board up the restauarant’s windows, which had shattered.

    A fried chicken joint on MLK Highway is insensitve! Especially when you have a Sherrif – a.k.a “Da Man” – involved too. Some white people have to be to blame and someone needs to pay for this offense.

    I am joking of course, and no doubt some will probably think this is in poor taste and insensitve on my part since someone did die, but I am surprised someone making a living from this nonsense hasn’t tried to shake down this KFC. Maybe it is black owned or nobody has made the connection yet.