Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gutfeld Recovered

Greg Gutfeld was the resident conservative at Huffington Post, the gold filling among so much tooth decay. But I thought they had killed him. Turns out he's still there, but he's buried deeper than the good news in a New York Times Iraq story.

Hat tip, John Cole, who digs up some of the gems:

LESSONS IN LEFTISM: When someone brings up James Frey's fabrications in his book "A Million Little Pieces," simply sigh, and sniff, "Really, how is he any different from George Bush?" For extra credit: "You know, there's another book out there that's full of embellishments: It's called the Bible."

There you go: I have just summarized how to act and sound like a predictable, lame-ass lefty in two simple sentences! What do I win?

(remember: when saying these things, you need to adopt the same voice a grad student would employ when saying "checkmate" to himself while playing computer chess.)

Or ...

some commenters to my recent post noted that Tookie Williams was not executed for writing children’s books, but for killing four people. Christ, I must have missed that small fact when i was reading about Williams on the Huffington Post. I thought all he did was write children’s books!

thanks for the heads up!

Cole's commenters, who span the political spectrum, have an interesting but, I suspect, typical response. Some call Gutfeld "a conservative who is actually funny," and admittedly that's a rarity, but from the Left comes a strong denial that there's anything funny at all about what he writes.

One Jack Roy is able to take a step back and seek objectivity, and his observation probably is on the money:

I used to think that conservatives who were quite insistent that Jon Stewart and Al Franken were not, in fact, funny, were simply so consumed by partisanship that they had to deny the obvious funny-ness to avoid cognitive dissonance. Unlike honest conservatives like John Cole who’ll listen to and laugh at Patton Oswalt even when he’s on his anti-Bush rant, conservatives like Ann Althouse and her commenters who proclaimed that the Daily Show just wasn’t any good any more, I thought, had to be kidding themselves.

Because humor is objective, I thought. If something’s funny and you disagree with it, you still laugh—-unless you’re being held hostage to your disagreements. And that’s the sad fate of only a few unfortunate souls.

Then I ran into Greg Gutfeld’s occasional musings, and people swear to me that he’s funny. I look, and I look, and I can’t get it. (The Cindy Sheehan / Michael Moore bit was a rare exception.) And now I wonder whether political comedy is unfunny for everyone who doesn’t go along. And I had preferred my illusions that it could be somehow transcendant. Sigh.

Yep, I'm afraid he's right. I see a lot of it especially among those who grew up thinking of themselves as on the left, but the ground-shifting has put them on the center right. No, folks, Hunter S. Thompson didn't change; he always was like that. YOU changed.

I probably would have found Jon Stewart funny in my younger years. I don't see much of him now, or much in him. It's also true, as Gutfeld remarks, that you cannot be funny AND earnest at the same time," which may be the real key to Jack Roy's complaint.

But I'm old enough to affirm that, long before I ever would have accepted the label "conservative" in any form, when I was reading anarchist books and the "Catholic Worker," I wondered who the hell ever laughed at Al Franken.

Gutfeld hits another sore point with this:

oh, i also predict that all those Huffposters who gushed lovingly over stem cell research roughly four months ago will not write a single word about the recent revelations about all the fraudulent research behind said research. Why is that? Just wonderin!

Frankly, this is a serious matter for all us who uphold science and secular values as guides to good decision-making. Having just come through the Dover, Pa., "intelligent design" controversy and touting the intellectual honesty and rigorous value-neutral fact-work of science, I'll tell you it's galling to be stabbed in the back like this by a scientific community that, after all, appeared ready to rush to embrace some flim-flam artist at least in part out of a political agenda.

Too few of us have taken the pains to decry that. And this certainly is a case where saying, "Really, how is he any different from George Bush?" will get you nowhere.