Friday, January 02, 2009

Who's funnier - Liberals or Conservatives?

If you're a News Junkie, like me, you probably saw the recent flap about a parody song called "Barak, the Magic Negro."

I have never heard the song; from what I understand it's sung to the tune of "Puff, the Magic Dragon," by a guy who's impersonating the Reverend Al Sharpton. And the jist of the song is apparently about how President-elect Obama has succeeded because he doesn't have a "ghetto" background (as perceived by other African-Americans).

Defenders of the song say it's a sarcastic indictment of the mainstream media and their unwavering embrace of Obama throughout the recent campaign and election. Detractors say it is racist.

I doubt most of those detractors know any more about the song than I do. But since it has the word "negro" in it, it's obviously racist.

(The song has been out there in the public for quite some time; evidently Rush Limbaugh used it regularly, much to the delight of his loyal fan base. The reason it recently was thrust back into the news is because a guy who wants to be Chairman of the Republican Party sent out CDs to Republican colleagues, that contained the "Magic Negro" song.)

The whole episode causes me to ask myself, who's funnier, the liberals or the conservatives?

The liberals confidently declare that they are MUCH funnier than those stuffed-shirt conservatives. And they point to their celebrity champions, like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. And of course, since they see themselves as much more tolerant than the conservatives, they dismiss the feeble comedic efforts by various conservative voices as being driven by racism, or hatred, or some other form of bigotry.

I'm not so sure.

Maybe I'm wrong, but liberals seem WAY less likely to laugh at themselves. Sure, they guffaw it up when the fun is being poked at George W. Bush (who's certainly not a FISCAL conservative, but he's no liberal, either!) or Sarah Palin or Charlton Heston or Proposition 8 supporters. But you better not make fun of them or their champions, or you're a racist bigoted hate-monger!

There is a small segment of the population whose self-determined mission in life is to be offended by everything. Their ranks are made up of mostly liberals, seems to me.

Most of us fall somewhere in between. Although I don't perceive George W. Bush as being a bumbling idiot, I certainly laugh at some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth! (Funny that the people who make fun of Bush-the-moron also seem to think the same guy is somehow a scheming manipulative evil genius.) Bubba Clinton was (and is!) a laugh-a-minute! Tina Fey's Palin impression is pretty impressive... but there's not enough material there to bring it back, week after week after week. (Perhaps if she had been elected VP, it would be different.) But I'm also a little anxious. Will we all be walking on pins and needles for at least the next 4 years, because we don't want to be branded racists if we laugh at Obama?

As Obama takes office, it will be interesting to see how the "mainest" of mainstream media - Leno and Letterman - handle him. So far, they seem to be treading pretty lightly.

I'm not much of a "broadcast media" follower; when I think about it, most of my news comes through "reading" sources. But here are some (non-expert!) personal opinions and observations on some people in the limelight:

John Stewart - I don't have cable and only see him very occasionally, but his material seems to be directed toward an audience with a superficial, "drive-by" comprehension of current events. Some of it's pretty funny; some of it not so much.

Stephen Colbert - ditto on not being very familiar with him, but when I've seen him, I always get the impression he's mostly playing to himself. And he thinks he's hilarious! (Obviously people must agree, or he'd be off the air.)

Dennis Miller seems to fancy himself as a conservative counterpoint to those guys. The few times I've seen him (typically as a guest on one of the late-night network shows), he comes across as pretty funny.

Rush Limbaugh - I used to listen to Rush all the time. And I think the guy's a comic genius! Much of his stuff is serious, but first and foremost Rush is an entertainer and he's the first to declare that. A lot of his material is hilarious... either intentionally or otherwise.

(Most of those conservative-leaning talkers, like O'Reilly and Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, don't seem to be TRYING to be funny most the time, from what little I hear of them. People who listen to them regularly might have a totally different viewpoint.)

The funniest conservative stuff I'm personally aware of is the Iowahawk - click HERE to link. (The guy is a Comedic Genius! I urge EVERYBODY to "favorite" it and check back at least weekly.)

Another website that is consistently funny is the "Blame Bush!" website - click HERE. (I'm not sure if it has a future, with that specific content. I say that by 10 years from now, everything will no longer be Bush's fault!)

(BE ADVISED... as with everything on the WorldWide Web, it's a wasteland of freedom of expression out there. Pretty much EVERYBODY is offended by something; both liberals and conservatives have widely-varying tolerance levels. There's a good chance that both of those sites have some content intended for mature audiences.)

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