I’ve resolved to blog more often, play around with the blog design, and all that. I’ve been a little too focused on getting things squared away on the church Facebook page and a little too unfocused on… pretty much everything else going on around here, including blogging.
Part of that is, yes, it’s hard to blog on the iPhone from work. I’ll just be getting over that hump however I can in future.
Meanwhile, some funny sad, funny ha-ha, and funny weird things, all having to do with right-wing ideology, Paul Krugman, rock-and-roll, and/or humor.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says that Newt Gingrich is just the latest of the “fools and clowns” in the Republican presidential race to become a frontrunner.”I have a structural hypothesis here,” Krugman told ABCs Christiane Amanpour Sunday. “You have a Republican ideology, which Mitt Romney obviously doesn’t believe in. He just oozes insincerity, that’s just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there is a question here, my hypothesis is that maybe this is an ideology that only fools and clowns can believe in. And that’s the Republican problem.”
via Krugman: Only Fools and Clowns Believe Republican Ideology | Video Cafe
But wait: what if providing an ideology that appeals only to fools and clowns is the strategery? We’ve learned this week that getting your news and current events exclusively from FOX News makes viewers dumberer.
What if your only ideology is getting your candidates elected by any means necessary, because they can benefit you and your friends and your business associates down the line, for years to come? You can claim you’re pro-life and anti-gay until the breeders come home. As long as you have your slate of fools and clowns to put up, it doesn’t matter who gets elected, or what they say on the way. If they’re ideologically pure enough (ie., with nary a clue or an original thought), your dumberered base will vote one of them into office – probably the one that is just smart enough to dance with the ones what brung him.
Meanwhile, Glenn Beck attempts the near-impossible feat of putting a “humorous news” program on – like “The Daily Show” for conservatives. It doesn’t seem like it’ll be all that funny, since conservative humor seems to consist of lame put-downs (“Dirty hippies, get a job”), and schoolyard-bully insults.
The funniest thing about this concept is that it’ll be hosted by somebody named Brian Sack. Endless comedy fodder galore there, except that making fun of somebody’s name is, yes, schoolyard-bully schtick.
Are there any conservative comedians that are truly, laugh out loud funny? According to one list of Top Ten political humorists, not really, since Dennis Miller was the only right-winger on the list, but was described as “not that funny anymore” since his conversion to conservatism after 9/11.
A lot of the same comics make Lori Day’s list – posted at Huffington Post, which is pretty funny when you think about it. It’s the kind of site that gathers mostly-liberal content, much like a magpie or a packrat gathers treasures; there’s some good stuff there, but also a hell of a lot of bottle caps, bolts, and nuts.
Anyway, Day has this to say about whether it’s possible to be conservative AND genuinely funny:
I know this may come off a tad polarizing, but I think liberal comedians are funny as hell and they have no equals on the other side of the aisle. I stand a greater chance of seeing Russia from my house than spotting a genuinely funny conservative comedian anywhere in the continental United States.
There are so many hilarious liberal comedians. Think of the perpetually baffled Jon Stewart with his sharp tongue and soft heart; the slyly satirical Stephen Colbert masquerading as a conservative to dish up a heaping serving of irony; the smirky genius of Bill Maher, who never worries about being popular; enraged and frustrated Lewis Black, always on the verge of a primal scream; politically savvy Chris Rock, who takes no prisoners when it comes to issues of race; fast-talking, tongue-in-cheek Rachel Maddow with her intellectually captivating style; and the late George Carlin, who had the greatest gift on Earth for cutting through BS.
The list is endless.
But where oh where are the conservative political comedians? Rush? NO. Glenn Beck? GOD NO. Bill O’Reilly? SAME ANSWER. Fox News? YES — but they aren’t trying to be funny.
The current GOP candidates are drop-dead funny, but they also aren’t trying to be. They’re the manna from heaven that falls into the laps of left-wing talk show hosts who have the easiest job in the world these days.
I knew that I needed to do my homework and get out of my own media silo because there must be some amusing Republican comedians out there that I just don’t know about. I decided to consult The Google. While I believe that notable conservative comedians must exist, I swear, searching online for them was like trying to find Bigfoot. I scrolled through link after link, but the deeper into the pages I went, the more obvious it became that I was unlikely to find any big names.
Well, she clearly missed out on mentioning P. J. O’Rourke, who can be pretty funny in spite of his cognitive dissonance (his admiration for Ayn Rand’s philosophies can be baffling).
Finally, Krugman again – this time, taking a break from economics to get a prescription for better music from the Rock Doctors on WBEZ’s “Sound Opinions.”
Now it’s time for the Rock Doctors to open the clinic and greet another patient. In the past Drs. Kot and DeRogatis have conducted couples counseling, held a musical intervention, and helped a listener with a music allergy. Today, they are challenged to assist their first-ever Nobel Prize winner. Jim and Greg are joined by Paul Krugman, an economist at Princeton University and regular columnist with the New York Times. Paul was invited on the show after a recent blog entry caught our eye. This self-described “baby boomer” explained his renewed interest in music, especially after discovering Grammy winners Arcade Fire. But in an age where you can access everything all the time, where do you start? Jim and Greg thought they might be able to prescribe some new music to Paul that would fit the criteria provided in his patient history.
Paul explained that he was looking for melodic, joyful music that wasn’t a mere record label marketing ploy. Jim’s prescription was Wye Oak’s 2011 album Civilian, and Greg recommended Hotel Shampoo by Welsh musician Gruff Rhys. During their follow-up appointment, Paul comes out of the gate explaining that he didn’t like either record. But, he did see the merit of both artists when it came to their live performances, especially Wye Oak. Seems like this baby boomer has actually abandoned the traditional album in favor of live performances on the internet. And while the recorded albums didn’t make the grade, Paul concurs that these two acts supply his demand for capitalist-free art.
Want to schedule your own appointment with the Rock Doctors or nominate someone you think is in need of assistance? Fill out our patient form at soundopinions.org.
Finally, while writing up this post, which has been brewing for a while until stumbling across a couple of the citations today, I was listening to that most excellent and timely WFMT show, The Midnight Special. As it happens, host Rich Warren was playing not just old folkie protest tunes, but NEW folkie protest tunes about the Occupy movement, as well as other great music.
I’ve been aware of this show for years – even before moving to the Chicago suburbs (it’s been on the air in one form or another since the McCarthy years). I can remember hearing when I was still living in Eugene in the 70′s and 80′s, for Gawd’s sake. So hearing the “new” protest songs and other new folk music was like a tonic. Great stuff.