Saturday, June 17, 2006

On Humor & Fascism

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was spanked this week for a series of email exchanges he recently had with hecklers. It’s hard to imagine why someone who considers himself to be a “serious journalist” would behave like this, but apparently some of his critics got the better of him. The New York Post wrote:

Olbermann's antagonists, who asked not to be named, repeatedly claimed in their June 8 E-mails that dead Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was Olbermann's "hero," prompting the television star to advise: "Hey, save the oxygen for somebody whose brain can use it. Kill yourself."
When forced to apologize, Olbermann defended himself this way:
“(H)ow many of us could receive literally hundreds of them questioning our patriotism, religion and ethnic origin, without succumbing to the natural wish to confront such hate?"

Confronting Hate

First of all, real men don’t describe their testosterone, smart people don’t discuss their IQ, and patriots need not explain their patriotism. Olbermann’s need to confront questions of his patriotism, religion, and ethnic origin suggests something more akin to self-doubt than a confrontation with evil.

As I explained here, one of the most vital components to an effective fighting force is troop morale. When liberals like Olbermann use the First Amendment to undermine our efforts in Iraq, it hits our troops like a roadside bomb. Real patriots can disagree and argue, but they don’t call their Commander-in-Chief a criminal, or the war we are fighting immoral – which is probably why Olbermann’s self-doubt prompted him to lash out.

I explained here how well-meaning pacifists become our enemy, but George Orwell went further:
Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security…

What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-Fascist, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-fascist as anyone, but—’. The result of this is that so-called peace propaganda is just as dishonest and intellectually disgusting as war propaganda
Although Olbermann thinks he confronted hate, he actually attacked Americans who have good reason to question his patriotism. I wasn’t privy to the email exchange, but those who subordinate their country and servicemen for envy or greed (ratings) probably lacks spiritual values as well.

But if he wants to confront hate, Olbermann should try waving the American flag in France, Iran, or Hollywood for a few hours. Instead, this is how Olbermann confronted hate:
  • Given how far you are from knowing your a- from your elbow about my industry, you couldn't be stupider, wronger, or dumber...
  • Go - your mother.
  • You 'Americans' still watching that evil f- O'Reilly?
I’d heard nothing about Olbermann’s tantrum until a friend emailed it to me and those on his email list. About Olbermann, my friend wrote:
Perhaps if he spent less time bashing O'Reilly and Bush, and more time reporting the news in an unbiased fashion, his ratings would creep up to half of O'Reilly's. Real America recognizes good journalism, detailed investigations, and they scorn and ignore fraudulent, vitriolic schmucks with agendas.
Although the NY Post piece was funny, a college professor replied:
As I repeatedly notice, you right-wing extremists have very little sense of humor.
Because the professor didn’t get the joke I, as a former liberal who spends his life surrounded by liberals, felt somewhat qualified to help him understand liberal and conservative humor. I explained it this way:

Liberal vs. Conservative Humor

Liberal humor relies mostly on anti-Bush haiku and the progressive envelope of sex, drugs, bodily functions, and fart jokes. This is what they call, “Adult Content.” One might argue that Garrison Keillor doesn’t use those devices, but lefties would also describe his audience as mostly “right-wing Christian conservatives.” Garrison won’t degrade his content to “Adult Entertainment” because, 1) he respects his audience and, 2) George Carlin has already cornered the market for prurient theophobic dementia. Like Bill Clinton, liberals love George, but most wouldn’t trust their children or livestock alone with him.

Conservative humor relies on fact-based tragicomedy where conservatives expose the pink underbelly of liberal banality. For example, conservatives laugh at the fact-based anecdotes from the Darwin Awards because hearing about stupid people doing dumb things is very funny. Liberals use the same site to find new friends, new voters, or for instructional purposes. Seinfeld succeeded because liberals thought he was really cool, yada yada, and conservatives enjoyed the addled characters.

Conservatives love Ann Coulter for the same reason that well-behaved children enjoyed watching their pretty twenty-something-year-old school teacher swat spoiled brats. No scream is louder (and nothing is funnier or more satisfying) than a disruptive and spoiled adolescent who receives his first spanking because his parents aren’t around to protect him. But to liberals, the event can drive them to outlaw school spanking – which they did. This is also why felons are overwhelmingly liberal (except for newsworthy anomalies like Duke Cunningham).

Which brings us back to Keith Olbermann, who behaves like he suffered his first spanking. Like our spoiled adolescent, he feels humiliated by his behavior, a boss’ forced apology, and his precarious ratings. Many of our friends find this humorous, while you seem to have suffered trauma that prompted you to post your own widely-received tantrum. And believe me, when you and Keith start to whine, conservatives find it funny, your cluelessness makes it funnier, and your status as a college professor makes it funnier still.

We don’t expect you to understand or laugh, for I haven’t included any anti-Bush haiku or adult content.

I hope this explanation helps. But I warn you, the evolution from liberal to conservative is a one-way street. Once you grow up, senility or drug use is you only hope for return.

The professor hasn’t responded yet