Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Update! Rupert Pupkin apologises

Hey De Niro, say it ain't so!

The former King of Comedy makes a perfectly good joke about the media-blight of minority-preparedness ("Are we ready for a gay bishop?" "Are we ready for an Asian NBA player?") and suddenly a bunch of globular, jowly white guys are acting like he just found the burial plots of their dearly beloved ancestors, unearthed them, and urinated into the empty holes while doing his very own De Niro impression.

His apology is somewhat politically-savvy, as De Niro tries to ensure that it is obvious his main concern is Michelle Obama.

"My remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone -- especially the first lady," De Niro said in a statement.

I'm not sure what to make of a 'satirical jest', much less how one speaks with satirical jest, and we've dealt with the bizarre issue of intent before: a great joke suddenly hinges on some excavation of intent; but the three grotesqueries remain: the joke was not racist, and somehow a bunch of white guys are victims of ersatz racism; the Obamas will always bow to the moral authority of right wing demagogues; and, gosh, aren't these old white goats great defenders of their ladies' honour?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Gingrich Who Stole Race

I'm done, I'm through, I've had it. Really, I give up. You know that really cute saying by Tom Lehrer about how awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger made satire obsolete? At a certain point, you just reach the end of your rope and you say, it's over. Lehrer continued to write satire, he continued to work in parody, he refused to give up; I, on the other hand, think there is no more point having any sort of conversation about comedy.

Newt Gingrich, a man sculpted by God from leftovers from Rush Limbaugh's right buttock, has demanded apologies for a joke Robert De Niro made at a fundraiser. Gingrich called the joke inexcusable; he wants President Obama to apologise. And you know what? Because the fundraiser was attended by Michelle Obama, and because the joke involved her, Michelle Obama's people . . . agreed, and called the joke 'inappropriate.' They caved in, they agreed with Gingrich, and they threw De Niro out of the back of a bus, so to speak.

That's the country, and that's this presidency, in a squirrel-gnawed nutshell.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Well judged

It's important to know what's what on the internet. News organizations, including ones that are not overtly propaganda wings of the Republican party, are perfectly happy to promote frank nationalist propaganda disguised as the public service of 'opinion', although they're also entirely willing to disseminate Republican party propaganda; things that are NSFW tend to be disappointingly SFW, but are still NSFW, reflecting how low the bar is set on what is considered suitable or not suitable for work, which, come to think of it, is not a bad thing: hey, just over a week until Mad Men is back; the best things are still ones you read in print, but it's exciting that you're not limited to print, even if when you read it on a blog, you're constantly following links, most of which are not edifying; and anyway, I was looking up the correct spelling of e-mail/email and came across this, which is helpful but also, I thought, very funny in a well-judged way. It was nice to come across something that wasn't trying too hard and yet had a lovely touch with a good line, quoted or its own.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sarah and her Lesbian Niece

It's really great finding a clip of a comedian at her peak and getting the chance to see her do one of those near perfect acts where every line is perfectly weighted, perfectly sharpened - the line is often long passed before you see how deeply you've been slit. In this case, there's an added bonus. The audience really doesn't seem to like her very much; it's a very generous audience, you can tell that much, but they're not really that keen. For most of the video, I'm wondering if they detest her or simply don't get her. Still, there's a gorgeously horrible moment towards the end when the audience is finally coming around and they really get hooked.

An alert member of the elite readers of this blog sent me this link to a paper, "What makes humour aesthetic?"

I'm not going to lie, I'm not going to make idiots of you, I'm not going to take you on a ride on my spangled unicycle down stupid lane . . . I only skimmed this paper. Barely. I haven't studied it deeply, I am not presenting you with a comprehensive rebuttal, I'm not hitching you on a spangled unicycle and taking you down brilliant analysis lane.