Tag: The Daily Show

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.

On more reasoned and mature discourse from Leftists

As you may not have heard, Glenn Beck and his family were assaulted in a New York City park. Now, first, before I get into it, I will clarify that when I say “assault”, it seems to have been only in the legal sense of the word… what happened to them was assault by the legal definition, and was from the moment the wine was spilled on his wife. That’s assault, brotha, even if it’s not the fist-meet-face sort.

Of course, reaction from the left in general has ranged from “It’s just more of his demented lies, no one who opposes Glenn Beck would do such a thing” to “The bastard had it coming, it’s his own fault, shame it wasn’t something worse”.  Well… those two things don’t work together terribly well, but hey, doesn’t stop some people from putting them together in the exact same post on the subject.

Of course, Glenn Beck has the right to his views and no-one should ever take that right away from him… but y’know, the right to speak goes both ways, so if someone wants to boo and heckle you, they’ve got that right too, especially if you’re the kind of bloke who can lose his bap on-air and furious slate a caller, only for you to call them a “pinhead”.

So, just to be clear, having a TV show and saying things people don’t like means that people can shout at you and insult you as you walk along the street. It also excuses physical damage to your person or possessions. Might as well have been honest and followed up “but y’know” with what he actually meant, “he shouldn’t be allowed to actually speak about them”. In fact, note the distinction there… Beck has the right to his views, not to express his views. Clearly, being a conservative is okay, just so long as you don’t go around making it all obvious you’re a conservative. Y’know. Maybe you could tone down the conservativeness, to spare the feelings of those who could be offended. Be conservative on your own time, not in public where children could be exposed to that sort of lifestyle. Don’t see how that could be offensive to ask of all you Pubs.

Speaking of closet conservatives, expect to see a lot of Beatles CDs burn-… I mean, mp3s deleted. Turns out that Lennon was not the die-hard, eternal counterculture true believer many thought he was. I think this has a high probability of being true, since the one dropping this little revelation tries to make excuses for him:

“He’d met Reagan back, I think, in the ’70s at some sporting event. … Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young [peace] demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that. … He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me,” he told “Beatles Stories” filmmaker Seth Swirsky.

First of all, looove the ambiguous wording there. “Go after”. Just enough to imply horrible things without actually giving any claims to be debunked. The incident between the national guard and the protestors has become like a drinking story for the left re: the right’s fascist tendencies. Every time it gets told, it’s more violent and more of a jackbooted crackdown. But aaaanyway, the fact that he tries to excuse Lennon by saying he “forgot” about it it, while making sure to bring it up all the same, says this guy is probably speaking the truth when he talks about Lennon’s conservative leanings. “Don’t hate him too much for it, okay? It may have been just a phase or something. It’s not like he was one of those flaming conservatives.”

But speaking of entertainers, and wandering back to the Beck incident, let us ponder the person of Jon Stewart. The man who held a supposedly sincere “Rally to Restore Sanity”, to plead with people to tone down their partisan hatred, to cut down on the vicious rhetoric. (Okay, so he doesn’t allow conservative pundits on his show, but he really isn’t partisan, honest!) But hey, that’s just his show, right? It’s just comedy. Surely, being that the Rally was a non-partisan effort to reach out and plead for reasonable discourse, he would take some time to deplore the actions taken towards Glenn Beck, yes? That’s not very sane, that’s not very reasonable, it deserves chastisement from someone whose opinion could theoretically matter to the perpetrators.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like he’s going to find time to do so, what with his busy schedule of making racist comments about Herman Cain. Don’t expect to find the video on the Daily Show’s site… or much on youtube, either, straaaangely enough, as this was the best I could find. (Admittedly, maybe I’m not looking in the right places. Feel free to prove me wrong on that one.)

Sorry for the nasally douche after, but that’s the only clip of the actual incident I could find. Most of the videos regarding the incident are liberals defending Stewart for making “the obvious joke” and sneering at Cain for having a thin skin. Similarly, most of the news articles (of which there are few) on the subject are busy making Stewart the victim, accusing Cain of playing the race card and of being thin-skinned about a harmless joke.

If you have to take a moment to actually process the irony of all this without your head exploding, I understand. I think we all need a headache break after that one. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your standards.

Let’s just take a moment to think about this, alright? A white political pundit mocks a black politician using a racial stereotype, caps it off with stating that the black politician is obviously stupid because he “doesn’t like to read”, and the general response of the news media is… to defend the white guy and chastise the black guy.

I mean, sure, this isn’t actually anything new. For godsakes Fox itself airs at least an hour of what’s essentially the same thing every week. Seth MacFarlane votes Democrat and openly despises conservatives and everything even slightly related to conservatives (except Conway Twitty, I don’t know if that’s him being deliberately ironic or what… oh, and Fox, obviously, whose money he’s glad to accept lots and lots of), so he can get away with making openly racist jokes. Same thing with Stewart… he is a Speaker Of The Narrative, to be defended no matter what.

Fun little side note here, when trying to look up the racist quotes made about Clarence Thomas by various people, I discovered that leftists have their own catchy little name for blacks who go off the reservation by registering Republican: “Rethuglitoms”. Shockingly, Google and Wikipedia seem to have buried or deleted most of these references… I know, I wouldn’t have expected that either. (Where’s the sarcasm tag? Ah screw it.) It doesn’t seem to have bothered to cover up the same vitriol by black people themselves, though… Spike Lee, so famously angry at white people for, well, living, doesn’t seem to have had problems referring to Thomas as a “chicken-and-biscuit eating Uncle Tom”… a statement I’m sure he feels proud of every time he looks over his large collection of black stereotype memorabilia.

Again, anyway. Even if you don’t agree with the tactic some are starting to suggest… that conservatives borrow from Democrat-supporters and begin decrying all criticism of Cain as racist, even when it’s obviously not… it’s hard to argue that Stewart’s comments would not have been considered wildly racist had they been made about Barack Obama. Well… it’s obviously not that hard, you’ve just got to abandon those little things like “integrity” and “honesty” and “consistency” and then it starts getting really really easy, to judge by the amount of it. Heck, go looking for the story yourself, you’ll have a tough time finding one that even mentions the incident outside of the context of defending Stewart and rebuking Cain (or, at the very least, tries to spin it as Cain letting Stewart off the hook).

If this is sanity, stop the sanitarium, please, I’d like to get on.