Friday, April 25, 2008

Why So Serious?

It might be time to once again make an important point crystal clear: I'm neither conservative nor liberal. My attitude is that if each side of the aisle finds good reason to dislike the things I say, my opinions, my overall tone, etc., then I'm doing something right.

That said, I have a question for those who count themselves among America's "staunchly liberal" contingent; it involves something I've noticed as I scan the content on the Huffington Post -- the reaction to my pieces as well as the contributions of others.

Why the hell do liberals tend to take everything so goddamned seriously?

I bring this up because there's a tidal wave of righteous indignation gaining momentum across the blogosphere at the moment in response to an ill-advised but relatively harmless comment made by, of all people, Keith Olbermann. While discussing the future of Hillary Clinton's campaign with Newsweek columnist and sycophantic turd Howard Fineman, Olbermann responded to the notion that someone might have to step in to settle the Democratic primary by saying, "Right -- somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out." This was admittedly a really stupid thing to say and, whether forced to or not, Olbermann quickly apologized to those who might have felt that he recommended physically beating the hell out of Clinton. "It is a metaphor. The generic 'he' gender could imply something untoward. It should've been 'only the other comes out -- from a political point of view,'" he said in an official statement.

Only an idiot would fail to notice an undercurrent of sexism among MSNBC's male anchors: Chris Matthews, David Shuster and former MS host Don Imus have all made comments about women that they then had to retract. But likewise, does anyone with a brain really believe that Keith Olbermann was, in fact, suggesting that a man physically harm Hillary Clinton?

Like Shuster's infamous "pimping-out Chelsea" line before it, Olbermann's remark is nothing more than an offhand shot taken by a guy who's essentially talking to hear himself talk. And while it may reveal something about Olbermann's true attitude toward women, once again, I doubt very seriously that he was taking out a hit on Hillary.

And yet, judging by the response from some on the left, you'd think that was exactly what he'd done.

Keep in mind, this is Keith Olbermann we're talking about -- someone who's been a hero to liberal America by giving it the kind of public voice it hasn't had in years. As silly as I thought it was to pitch a fit over John Gibson's comments about Heath Ledger's death, or what O'Reilly and that buffoon Limbaugh have to say about anything at all, at least the outrage was aimed in the, pardon the pun, right direction. These people are the left's sworn enemies; it makes sense to try to play "gotcha" with them, no matter how ineffectual such outrage may be. But Olbermann is ostensibly one of their own; turning on him not only shoots your own cause in the foot, it actually goes a long way in proving why the Democrats can't seem to win an election to save their lives: Republicans are organized -- they get behind a set of people and a set of talking points, no matter how ridiculous, and they stay there. To the left, this kind of unwavering True Belief is stubborn and robotic and proves that your average red-stater can't think for himself. But guess what? It wins elections.

In the past couple of weeks alone, I've been castigated by commenters on HuffPost for titling a column about Gloria Allred "Burn the Witch" ("What's wrong with you? How can you say something like that?"); I've been accused of insulting children ("Kids should rule the world. Imagine a world where children could vote: 'Do you think your mommmy and daddy should be sent to Iraq? Yes or No?'"); and, my personal favorite, I've been raked over the coals for my insensitivity toward lunatic cults ("Saying that someone 'drank the Kool-aid' is cruel to those who died at Jonestown."). And I'm not out there by myself when it comes to facing the wrath of the supposedly free-thinking perpetually aggrieved: Earlier this month, Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi got into a blogging row with aging sex writer and pompous liberal cliché Erica Jong after he wrote a piece which referred to Hillary Clinton as "flabby." Jong didn't just go after Taibbi -- because that would be positively Philistine for someone as erudite and evolved as she is; No, Jong analyzed Taibbi's crack to death before finally coming to the conclusion that -- and I swear, she was serious about this -- insulting Hillary's appearance was a form of Freudian displacement designed to help Taibbi come to terms with the fact that he wants to have sex with his mother. In his own defense, Taibbi responded by just cutting to the chase and calling Jong a worthless hack -- which not only had the benefit of being true, it was infinitely more amusing to read.

Once again, Matt Taibbi is about as liberal as they come -- and yet those who consider themselves, I suppose, the humorless liberal "elite" (and I don't use that term the way the right often does) see no harm in eating their own. I truly believe that, as with Jong, it stems from the constant need to overcomplicate and overanalyze issues as a means of showing off one's superior intellect, and the inability to just go from point-A to point-B in a straight fucking line.

It would actually be funny if it weren't so sad -- and so antithetical to what the left hopes to accomplish, particularly in an election year. I hate the far right wingnuts like poison, but for the most part they can take a fucking joke and don't convene a press conference when somebody offends them, which is one of the reasons they've had such a powerful voice in this country for the last several years.

Jesus people, lighten up -- or you'll die trying (and by that, I don't mean that I'm advocating violence against you).


Vermillion said...

The gist of my response: What TOOK you so long to write this?

It is quite obvious that you are, for lack of a better word, irreverent; you plainly just don't give a fuck, and I love that about you.

It is sad how liberals (the supposed First-Amendment shilling and open-minded folks) seem to have lost their sense of humor. Then again, a zealot is a zealot, no matter the color of the state they are from.

Frankly, I am waiting eagerly for someone to complain about my Tyra jokes.

slouchmonkey said...

I was thinking the other day about the Clinton ad with the sleeping kid and the phone ringing at 3am. "Who's going to be there to take that call?"

Why didn't Obama or McCain counter with the exact same ad and when they show the phone ring, boom - Obama picks it up amid stacks of papers and briefs in a "mock" oval office saying, "Yeah, thanks I ordered the pizza. Uh-huh, working late."

You're absolutely right nobody can take a f-ing joke anymore.

Peter L. Winkler said...

"sycophantic turd Howard Fineman"


Alex said...

This totally reminds me of a Doonesbury from a couple of years back. Mark and Chase (the gay radio station guys) are arguing and Chase points out that "liberals" suck at the political game because they can "see all sides" to an argument. Conservatives know they are right and no one can convince them otherwise. Mark, of course, says something along the lines of, "hmm you may have a point there," which Chase exclaims is the case in point.

Robo said...

It can all be blamed on the continuing Pussification of America.

Oh I'm sorry...I meant the continuious trend of politically correctness that our beautiful country has seen develop in the last decade.

I think that old saying, about Panties in a bunch, applies here....Hey it's 2008 and men can wear panties (if they want) so that's NOT a sexist remark. [covers ass]

VOTAR said...

Saying that someone 'drank the Kool-aid' is cruel to those who drink Kool Aid!!!

Because at Jonestown they didn't have Kool Aid.

It was Flavor Aid.

Deacon Blue said...

Chez, HOW DARE YOU say that liberals take things too seriously! You insensitive boob.

Oh, wait, I'm hating on women's breasts if I call you a boob...and I'm being misogynist.

You insufferable fart.

Damn, what about those poor people with chronic flatulence?

You bastard.

Fuck! Children without fathers will be hurt by that one.

Wait a minute, I'm not even a damn liberal. Or a damn conservative.

But now I'm belittling people who are damned by using the word "damn"...twice!

P.S. I think the worst thing the left brought to the party in the past couple decades was "political correctness." I still have debilitating bowel cramps every time I remember the attempts to turn "handicapped" into "differently abled."

Anonymous said...

I don't know if buy into your elite PC Dem's narrative. It has been the mainstream media story line for 40 years. Just like there are very few conservatives that have not rallied behind the - per Rush Limbaugh - not truely conservative McCain, there are very few liberals who will not rally behind Hillary or Obama. I am a liberal and my main man Edwards is long gone. Hillary and Obama are too conservative for me. But vote for McCain - he is for mixing church and state, against choice, said there will be more wars, my friend, etc. He says he is not too hip on that economy thing and he apparently does not know the difference between AQinI, Sunnis and Shias. Come on.

Anonymous said...

("Kids should rule the world. Imagine a world where children could vote: 'Do you think your mommmy and daddy should be sent to Iraq? Yes or No?'")

I am so sick to death of anyone who finds limitless wisdom in children and says that they should be in charge. After the Iraq question is posed, here are a few other sample questions that can be asked of children:

'Do you think we should have candy for breakfast from now on? Yes or No?'

'Do you not want to get shots anymore from the mean old doctor even though they give you a balloon afterwards? Yes or No?'

'Given the finite amount of resources available on this planet, increases in the cost of living, and dad's lay-off, are you going to throw a shitfit when mommy and daddy can no longer afford the electricity to let you play Xbox? Yes or No?'

Anonymous said...

I figured Keith's apology stemmed from some weird-ass firestorm brewing from somewhere. I heard it when he first said it on air and didn't think a thing of it.

The Clinton's really do need to follow Senator Clyburn's advice "Chill Out!!" They must have a whole group of people monitoring TV ready to fire off a stream of "Apology Demanded" letters.

Now...back to chillin' out and drinking the Kool-Aid

b80vin said...

Uh, how many humorless liberals ARE there exactly? All of them? Can you express it as a percentage? As someone who is adamantly atheistic, even I can make a distinction between a Christian and a fundamentalist Christian.

Erica Jong as an example of the liberal without an internal sense of humor is ridiculous. She's a feminist! NO feminist has a sense of humor (See? I can do it too).

As for political correctness, like any good idea, it can be taken to an extreme ( as brilliantly illustrated by Deacon Blue {shout out to the old school Dan fans}) by some, at which time it becomes a parody of itself. But the basic premise is somewhat sound.

Finally, if you don't think conservatives can be easily offended tell one you're a gay atheist who believes in evolution. They take that shit seriously, man.

Deacon Blue said...

@ b80vin:

Well, that may be the first time in my 40 years on the planet that the word brilliant has been used for me (I'm sure the universe will set the balance right by handing me my very first "idiot" soon). I might have deserved it more, though, if I had gotten my last part of the comment right. I forgot that people were actually trying to change "handicapped" to "handi-capable" and "disabled" to "differently abled." At least I was in the right ballpark...

b80vin said...

You remind me of something I saw once: TAB- Temporarily Able Bodied. It was a movement by some disabled folks to let people know that as they grow older they'll become less "able bodied" and end up needing all the things the disabled were saying were needed for them. The optimistic idea that they could get americans to think about the future touched me deeply. Their logic had me in stitches (metaphorically speaking).

And I'm 49 1/2 and the brilliant label has yet eluded me (except for an Aussie friend who uses it every time I suggest ANYTHING, and therefore doesn't count), so maybe I project, but I still think your parody was brilliant.

Harris said...

In the immortal words of Stud Cantrell (look it up), "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke."

Stephen said...

If they'd just let the libertarians into the public debate PC would pack up and move to Canada.

Stud Cantrell.....That's a name I haven't heard in a long time. Long of the best HBO movies ever made! Let's Go Stogies!!!

Melissa B. said...

MSNBC and its parent company, NBC Universal, have been macho idiots for some time. BTW, I'll bet Olberman, Matthews, et al are all pretty flabby--in a metaphorical sense, of course.

dick_gozinia said...

@b80vin -

I have one quibble with your above comments and that is I'm an agnostic, evolution-loving conservative. There are plenty of us out there, so please don't lump us in with the complete morons in the religious right crowd that have systematically fire-bombed the sense out of the conservative party. Some "conservatives" still believe in small government, fiscal responsibility and individual rights.

We can also take a joke, especially since we've seen walking ones like Rush, Savage, Coulter and O'Reilly all these years.

Paul said...

The more important question is why you assume that the 1% minority of liberals who post batshit crazy comments online represent everyone else.