Take Kathy Shaidle's "George Carlin Wasn’t Funny: The Top Five Most Overrated Comedians." Understand first that Shaidle is one of those culture warriors who thinks we're all living in a politically correct pogrom; she wrote in 2010 that since the 1980s, "political correctness has gotten worse, not better. Yes, some of us joke about it, but we do so in whispers around the office coffeemaker, lest we risk our jobs."
Yet, brave soul that she is, she's willing to take on the PC shibboleths of our time, as she announces in her opening:
Yeah, I’m a heretic. I also fell asleep during Star Wars.Now, if you've been around the internet at all, you know that contrarianism is actually a great way to get attention. Does everyone love "Mad Men"? Write about how it stinks and watch the clicks and quotes roll in!
Bruce Springsteen? Pompous blowhard.
The Godfather? Long stretches of beige nothingness.
And The Who are better than The Beatles.
(Hell, I prefer The Monkees to The Beatles…)
But here’s the first “pop culture” contrarianism I’m a teensy bit afraid to confess in public:
George Carlin never made me laugh.
Shaidle's got as much right to get in on this racket as anyone. But when you read her article, you find that her idea of contrarianism is very narrow -- that is, what she mainly finds unfunny about these allegedly funny people is liberalism.
When Louis CK talks about Tracy Morgan's gay jokes (in an interview!), Shaidle complains that he "sounds like the kind of person a comedian (like Louis CK) is supposed to be making fun of." Then she answers CK with a long Mark Steyn quote, and asks, "isn’t Steyn’s take patently superior? But Mark Steyn votes the wrong way, so no GQ 'Man of the Year' virtual tongue-baths for him."
On and on it goes: The Smothers Brothers were really fired by DEMOCRAT Senator John Pastore and one of them was mean to Penn Jillette -- that's how not-funny they are! Lenny Bruce isn't funny mainly because she says so -- and not that she needs back-up, but professional funnyman Nick Gillespie thinks so too, and Rush Limbaugh is funnier than Jon Stewart, so there. And Carlin's not funny because "like so many old hippies, he just wouldn’t go away." Plus:
And if Carlin was so brave, why didn’t he rail against two other words you REALLY can’t say on the radio and [most of] TV: “n*****” and “f****t”? Because fighting for the right to say them would shock his liberal fans...Apparently the "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" bit isn't funny, but this shit is a riot. (Oh, and I think the words she means here are "nigger" and "faggot." The PC speech police must have put in those stars against her contrarian will. Fight the power, sister!)
In the real world, where normal people might conceivably wander in and read your stuff, articles like this would be incomprehensible. But normal people seldom get to these articles, because they're not the target market -- which would seem to be the people of the Conservative Exodus. Even deranged separatists need something to read at the compound.
UPDATE. But I gotta say, I got a kick out of the one about how Twilight is okay even though it has vampires because it's pro-life. "Will these women follow Bella’s example and protect their unborn child?" asks author Rhonda Robinson. "Perhaps. If this film is as persuasive as its opponents fear." I wonder where the big fights between the Hollyweird lieberals who want to get rich off the Twilight franchise and the Hollyweird lieberals who fear its pro-life message take place. The New Republic, maybe?