Trudeau and the Left Overs

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One of the life lessons that should be learned early on is the one which teaches us not to get into arguments with the funny papers. This is a very good rule of thumb, but I bring it up because I am planing on dispensing with that sound advice today . . . but just for a day. Tomorrow I am back on the old regimen, and the cartoonists can say whatever they want.

Off to the right you may click on the image in order to read yesterday’s Doonesbury.

So a cartoonist walks into a redneck bar . . .
So a cartoonist walks into a redneck bar . . .

Now Garry Trudeau really does have a sense of humor, and I still read Doonesbury regularly — which means I am in a position to testify that I can still notice it from time to time. Unfortunately, as the nation has polarized, and as Trudeau has become more and more of a standard issue liberal, we have to content ourselves with glimmers of the old stuff. There was a day when he really was consistently irreverent.

But now . . . he creates a conservative comedian out of some old popsicle sticks, in order that he may interrupt that poor sap’s routine with a plodding, finger-wagging, pedantic, censorious, and prissy lecture.

As I write these words, a memory returns to me. After all these years it is still tender. One time I was with a group of kids doing an elementary school assembly, and I think it was because I was part of the Safety Patrol. The point of our little skit was, of course, safety, and we had a kid (it might have been me, actually) ride across the stage on a bicycle, and then disappear off stage. There was then some kind of pots n’ pans racket, and then we rolled a bicycle tire back onto the stage. I think it was pretty clever for a bunch of little kids, and it of course got a big laugh from those who had assembled to be edified. Now for one of the teachers the mere fact of the laughter was dangerously close to a high state of moral disorder, and she jumped up to remind all of us that safety was a serious issue. We aren’t kidding about this, children.

Trudeau — graduate of Yale, winner of the Pulitzer Prize when in his twenties, probably as rich as Michael Moore, that other great champion of the working classes — jumps in to remind us that the point of satire is to afflict the comfortable. And of course, as we should all know, the point of conservatism is just the opposite. Everyone knows how conservatives love to comfort the comfortable and to afflict the afflicted. Got it. Everybody knows how Colorado cake bakers love to kick the downtrodden. That is why we were simply forced to haul him off to his sensitivity training. We had no choice. After that is a stint in Humor Camp. We have to teach these people how to take a joke.

Of course, to encourage some who might be hesitant we should call it Good Humor Camp, only without any ice cream. We were not put on this earth for pleasure alone.

Like so many ideologues of the left, Trudeau simply cannot wrap his mind around the fact that he is the Man. He is the Establishment. He and his stripe run the show. Now I recognize that the bleeding edge Left of the sixties have kind of spent all their mojo. Now their ponytails are all gray, and they are the mere Left overs. But this doesn’t change the fact that they are in charge. Gloriously incompetent, true, but still the Man. Judging from the headlines, Zonker Harris is running pretty much everything these days, and doing so from the precise middle of a large cloud of sweet smoke.

Who gets defined as afflicted and who comfortable is a worldview decision — every worldview has a narrative, with the protagonists and antagonists assigned by the prior worldview commitments. And Trudeau lives in a bubble-wrapped world where Elizabeth Warren cannot be considered part of the comfortable classes. Has she not suffered persecution? Does she not have the high cheekbones that have made her minority status unquestionable? In such a world, Fauxcahontas jokes are unfunny by definition.

Of course, I can think of one defense of Trudeau in this. There is one legit reason why he might be missing what we are doing. After six years of Obama, conservative humor has shifted, and has gotten kind of mordant. Kind of like the jokes that Solzhenitsyn used to tell on those cold Siberian nights. You kind of have to be there.

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Ben Bowman
7 years ago

It’s hard to have a good sense of humor when you’re spending all your time being “morally outraged.” This exists in both liberal and conservative sides but seems hard to see in ones self. The left is morally outraged when someone says something that hurts their feelings and is constantly on “PC” patrol as if hurting someones feelings was the worst thing ever. The right is just as outraged by the new pop star “twerking” on stage. In fact they are outraged so much that they can’t stop watching clips of it. I think that those who are honest with… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
7 years ago

You’re getting to good at this. Time to quit the day job and start Blobulating full time.

A Wheelr
7 years ago

Might I suggest one change to Good Humor camp:
– You CAN have your ice cream but you can’t eat it and while you watch it melt, there might be a multi-media public announcement with incredibly depressing music reminding everyone that cows have feelings, too.

BJ
BJ
7 years ago

The problem here is that the left is realizing (at least I would hope so at this point) that tearing down a system of good governance is easier than actually building one or even managing a good one already in place. The left is very good at tearing down systems, so now that they have been the leaders for six years and the problems have compounded, all they know how to do is tear down. When they are the leaders, they must find someone to tear down. It has to be someone else’s fault. Hence, the republicans even in the… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
7 years ago

You must have a strong stomach–I haven’t been able to stand Doonesbury since before Reagan.

Valerie (Kyriosity)
7 years ago

“Let them eat cake!” <— Send them to the guillotine.

"Don't let them eat cake!" <— Them, too.

Jane Dunsworth
Jane Dunsworth
7 years ago

The biggest howler in that strip is that while the point that the point of satire is to afflict the comfortable is arguably correct, it is also a sine qua non of satire that it reflect reality, however obliquely. His popsicle-stick conservative comedian doesn’t bare the vaguest resemblance to any conservative comedy I’ve ever heard, even that which I consider subpar or objectionable. It’s not just a little off, or a little unfair, or exaggerated, or whatever — it doesn’t partake of any of the basis of rightwing humor in any recognizable way. If he thinks he’s imitating Rush Limbaugh… Read more »

damien
7 years ago

it does gall me that the incessantly vocal left view themselves as the counter culture. that’s really pretty funny.

Thursday
Thursday
7 years ago

The greatest satirists are a parade of right wing social conservatives: Aristophanes, Juvenal, Dryden, Swift, Pope, Waugh. And three of their favourite targets are those liberal darlings: women, homosexuals and foreigners.

Liberals (or proto-liberals) tend to be better at comedy, which is a different form of humour. Moliere, Byron, Mark Twain, and Oscar Wilde come to mind.

David Smith
David Smith
7 years ago

Once again, Trudeau along with the rest of the Progressive Priesthood have shoveled nonsense like this a few too many times. As a result, I’m suffering from acute apathy as to their view of me or mine. As the country song says, “My give-a-damn’s busted!”

. . . well, maybe not all the way yet – after all, I’m commenting – but let’s just say what they think matters a whole lot less than it used to!

Thursday
Thursday
7 years ago

I can’t resist posting this account of Native Americans by Tobias Smollett, another right wing satirist, from his novel Humphrey Clinker: By dint of her interrogations, however, we learned, that he [Lismahago] and ensign Murphy had made their escape from the French hospital at Montreal, and taken to the woods, in hope of reaching some English settlement; but mistaking their route, they fell in with a party of Miamis, who carried them away in captivity. The intention of these Indians was to give one of them as an adopted son to a venerable sachem, who had lost his own in… Read more »

jigawatt
jigawatt
7 years ago

This video would be one of the funniest bits of conservative satire ever produced, if only the video itself weren’t so serious. Hint: The ad is from a liberal anti-gun group. And since the guy already had a restraining order against himself, he was already breaking federal law by having a gun.

jigawatt
jigawatt
7 years ago

Ha, “the guy already had a restraining order against himself”!
Replace with: “the mom had a restraining order against him”

Andrew W
Andrew W
7 years ago

Ironically, this strip could itself be satire of the Progressive sanitisation of art. Art must be wielded towards approved ends; it cannot be an end in itself. This debate is being played out in the US Science Fiction community at present: the tension between the novel as message (goal: to support the cause) and the novel as entertainment (goal: to tell a good story).

Jane Dunsworth
Jane Dunsworth
7 years ago

Well, now I feel dumb. “Bear,” not “bare.” Sometimes muscle memory outstrips thought.

Valerie (Kyriosity)
7 years ago

Yeah, Jane…sometimes it outstrips it bare.

DCHammers
7 years ago

Wow! That Doonesbury was a stinker. Could Trudeau have gotten that bad or is it just a PC ghost-writer? For a couple decades I would read Trudeau every AM and listen to “All Things Considered” every PM. Then around 2004 the political lectures on gender, gays and Bush became just plain boring. Every once in awhile I check back in, but it’s only gotten worse – more boring and Obama-worship switched out for Bush-despising. There was a day when Gary would skewer everyone. One of my favorites was when Joanie Caucus gave birth to her second daughter and called home… Read more »

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

I got one
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because it’s Bush’s fault and you’re a racist.