Articles

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Culture of Contempt

The Atlantic’s May cover features Alec Baldwin covered in orange makeup holding up a Trump wig. The cover asks, “Can Satire Save the Republic?” What is satire saving the Republic from? Republicans. While making America safe for Socialism.

After Bush won, Democrats fought back by doubling down on the ridicule. Before long they were getting their news from Jon Stewart’s smirk. Stewart spawned a whole range of imitators. Today you can find numberless clones of the Daily Show across cable and even on CBS and, soon, on NBC.

The left is devoutly convinced that this snickering can save America. That it’s better than the news.

The Peabody awards celebrated the Daily Show as “a trusted source of news for citizens united in their disappointment and disgust with politics and cable news”. But the media was the first in line to anoint the politics of contempt, ridicule and disgust as the future of journalism. Now the future is here.

The Washington Post, once a paper of record, swarms with snarky Stewartesque headlines like, “Jeff Sessions doesn’t think a judge in Hawaii — a.k.a. ‘an island in the Pacific’ — should overrule Trump”. Journalism is dead. And replacing it with snarky lefty spin hasn’t saved the Republic. Or anything else.

But the left’s faith in the power of its contempt has nothing to do with its tactical effectiveness.

The left remains convinced that Jon Stewart brought down Bush and Tina Fey brought down Palin because ridiculing the right isn’t just an ugly tactic. Instead it carries an almost religious meaning. Mocking Republicans can save us. Every ideology expresses its superiority through its own triumphalism. Sneering is the left’s own invocation of its own superiority. These are the grown up politics of kids who were convinced that they were better than everyone else because they looked down on them.

Much as Allahu Akbar denotes the superiority of the Muslim and the inferiority of the non-Muslim, the knowing smirk, the lifted eyebrow and the braying laugh of the audience when the unironic applause sign flashes is the prayer of the progressive to the cruel little god of his own ego. The ritual is tribal. A lefty dons the mock wig of the hated enemy and is ritually humiliated for the entertainment of the tribes of Manhattan, Berkeley and Marin County. The foe is destroyed in effigy. The video of his destruction is virally spread with titles such as, “Saturday Night Live Destroys Trump”.

And yet Trump, like all the other viral subjects of destruction, is never destroyed. The tribal ritual lets lefties vent their anger on a totem that, unlike Trump, can actually be destroyed by liberal laughter.

Satire isn’t trying to save the Republic. It isn’t stopping Trump. It’s saving the left.

Trump has proven even more indestructible than Bush. It’s hard to think of any insult that the left hasn’t hurled his way. A dictionary of them could run all the way from Abuser to Xenophobe. To no avail. Instead he has proven exceptionally adept at treating the left with as much contempt as it treats him. When lefties bemoans his cruelty and vulgarity, what they really mean is that he is beating them at their own game without wasting time on their pretenses to saving the Republic on Saturday Night Live.

Saturday Night Live is still the only place that progressives have been able to beat Trump.

Mocking Bush didn’t save the Republic from him. If anything, liberal disdain helped make him a two-term president the way that it helped put Trump in office. Obama won by taking the opposite road. He kept his contempt and arrogance just enough in check to appear aspirational during his original race.

Elitist contempt isn’t an effective tactic. American politics is anti-establishment. Stewart, Colbert, Oliver and Bee are only revolutionary to likeminded lefties in lavish condos. To the Tennessee coal miner, the New Mexico checkout girl and the Pennsylvania steelworker they convey the smugness of an establishment in all its insufferable disdain for flyover country, for the working class and for everyone outside that golden circle of the tall towers and hot clubs in the big cities that really, truly matter.

Liberals need to believe that even their pettiest acts are ennobling. Their Whole Foods organic avocados are saving the planet. Their fair trade yoga pants are saving indigenous tribes. Even their ridicule of the “Other” on TV is the redemptive and salvific process by which they save America.

This isn’t idealism. It’s elitism. They’re not spitefully lashing out because they lost an election. Instead they’re saving the country by watching a lefty hack who had become more famous for his credit card commercials, and racist and homophobic slurs do a tepid slurred imitation of Trump.

What a piece of work is a progressive. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty. In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god. Beneath the Midtown Manhattan sound stages and green rooms, the million dollar contracts of the performers, the Ivy League degrees of the writers and the suave sophisticated five-star restaurants where they rendezvous is the dark and primitive world of the firelit circle in which enemies are bound and destroyed by a magic fed on the anger and hatred of the watchers.

The tribal signifiers of power have changed. The totems are class, cool and hip. And much of the country does not recognize their claim to lead the tribe. Each time America dissents, the left wears out its lip sneering at them. Contempt is the final refuge of failed tyrants. If you can’t rule, you can always sneer.

The left’s faith in contempt tells us far more about them than it does about the objects of their contempt. Art is a reflection of the artist. Some artists strive to create while others only destroy. The left remains convinced that it can create through destruction, that it can build a fair society through theft, an ethical society by destroying its values and a high-minded society through contempt.

It must believe in the redemptive power of its thievery, amorality and hatred. Or face a moral reckoning.

When they go low, we go higher, they chant, before laughing as Alec Baldwin snorts through his nose. It’s not funny or meaningful. It’s wish fulfillment. The left gets a Trump they can destroy in a world where they are bound to win because they are naturally superior.

For a movement obsessed with the redemptive power of its own power and convinced of the utter truth of its own imaginary visions, what could be more sacred than acting out the destruction of its enemies?

Is it any wonder that getting high on snarky delusions of potency and superiority appears so uplifting? Can satire save the Republic? Its fumes are almost as good as actually winning an election. But a better question would be can the Republic save satire?

Saturday Night Live's war on Trump is also a war on comedy as mediocre casts turn to outside performers to portray recognizable political figures, based not on talent, but sheer recognizability.

Tina Fey had a passing resemblance to Sarah Palin while Larry David shared an accent with Bernie Sanders and was forty years older than the average SNL cast member. Alec Baldwin is a real life version of what progs think Trump is; angry, dumb and bigoted. A bad man with no self-control. And that is appropriate. The left's effigy of Trump is a self-portrait. Their hatred of Trump is pure projection.

Baldwin's bad acting won't save the Republic.. He isn't funny, but he doesn't need to be. Funny is surplus to requirements. The point isn't laughter, it's barely sublimated hatred. Baldwin understands hatred far better than comedy. He knows that what his prog audience wants is not a good imitation but a contemptible one. One they can despise and feel superior to. And that is what he gives them.

Saturday Night Live could not satirize Obama to save its life. It can't satirize Trump either for the same reason. The façade of humor is falling away from the left’s worship of its ideological idols and fanatical hatred of its enemies. And hatred isn’t funny. It’s clumsy. It’s stupid. And it’s ugly.

Comedy is creative. Contempt isn’t comedy. Ultimately it’s just contemptible.

21 comments:

JJ said...

I believe much of the country has grown as weary of endless contempt from the left as they have of endless wars waged with no benefit to the people of these formerly united states.

laura simon said...

tired. the trump "industry" may have run its course. dont people get bored? its a 24/7 obsessive compulsive sickness.

Mr. Cohen said...

“The left’s faith in the power of its contempt” comes directly from a book titled: RULES FOR RADICALS, by Saul Alinsky, year 1971.

According to the Wikipedia free internet encyclopedia, this is a direct quote from that book:

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
There is no defense. It's irrational.
It's infuriating.
It also works as a key pressure point
to force the enemy into concessions."

How to Convict the New York Times
of Unfair Bias Against Israel:


https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/11/guest-post-how-to-convict-new-york-times.html

Why Israel’s 1967 Borders are Undefendable:

https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2017/03/guest-post-why-1967-borders-are-suicide.html

erp said...

Would that satire were the only arrow in their quiver. Not to worry, they have plenty more, i.e., violence, lying, cover-ups, intimidation of family members, including small children, misinformation, academe, take over of the public schools ...

It would be a miracle of biblical proportions if Trump, practically single-handedly, were able to stop the hegemony of the one-worlders.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Daniel! SNL and their ilk present an effigy of the hated Reagan, Bush, Trump and pee on it. There's the Golden Shower. Such base behavior sprung from and belongs in our neolithic past. Also lets them avoid ever addressing ideas.

ABSJ1136

Rich Kozlovich said...

Wow! Well done!

Empress Trudy said...

It's a comtempt borne of nearly pathological entitlement. I'm watching the news on YouTube Streaming and there's a Liberty Mutual ad. Many have seen them, they're smug, they're snarky and they belie an attitude that shows a profound ignorance of how insurance works, and what it's for. Moreover, no one in any of these ads is ever responsible for totaling their own brand new car. It's always someone else's fault or at worst, some woman's half retarded husband.

This is that contempt. That oozing unctuous superior-for-no-reason attitude.

Clorinda said...

"The left’s faith in contempt tells us far more about them than it does about the objects of their contempt."

Indeed. And don't forget that an insult is only such depending on the person who hurls it. Personally, I consider a leftist insult as a compliment. If leftists praise me then I'm DEFINITELY doing something wrong.

There is another reason for the left's relentless vilification, demonizing, and derision of conservatives: like Christians and Jews, conservatives don't fight back. Insulting conservatives is safe, it is done with impunity. Ridicule a conservative, or a Christian, or a Jew and life goes on. It's not like ridiculing Islam, which always ends in a bloodbath. Ask Charlie Hebdo.

Also, it's easier than rationally debating an issue. I was always told that people who deride those who hold opposite views do it because they do not have a valid argument so they cannot debate successfully. That describes the left to a T. I wish I had a dollar for every time I tried to discuss politics with a lefty and ended being talked over, shouted down, and finally insulted.

Daniel says, "Comedy is creative. Contempt isn’t comedy. Ultimately it’s just contemptible."

And there you have another accurate description of the left. What does the left generate? Hatred, class envy, double standards, and the elimination of dissent and dissenters. All contemptible things.

mudpuppy said...

Their projection, contempt and condescension is not an indicator of strength but insecurity.
A confident, secure person, or philosophy for that matter, doesn't need to hold others in contempt to shield their own self contempt.
When they start ignoring or patronizing us again, then start worrying.

Anonymous said...

Dear Empress Trudy,
Thank you for a valuable epiphany! These petulant children living in consequence-free denial are ideal marks for the "something for nothing" scam: Santa Claus Insurance, Socialism, Obamacare, etc. It's hilarious how the ads make them look so cool and attractive. The perfect Judas sheep.

ABSJ1136

D.D.Mao said...

You have got to be kidding me? We are now worried about ridicule from the left? With all the dysfunctional behavior and ineptness shown by the administration and party officials are we really angered about "hatred" of the right shown through "SATIRE"? What is this the adolescent rights version of wringing their hands about hate speech? Did Donald Trump write this hoping he would get the libel laws changed? If this article was showing concern about the violence the left is resorting to instead of it's satire I could more readily agree with you.



President Trumps apporoval rating has been any where from the high 30's to low 40's SINCE ELECTION DAY ! He has constantly shown he has no long vision plan or ideology, no idea on how to pass legislation and he stomps on his own nuts with his tweets every chance he gets. Instead of appointing second tier staff at the State Department and Defense Department to rely on he takes foreign policy and domestic agenda advice from family members. He invites the mockery he has heaped upon him. You bought into ineptness and unpreparedness solely using the excuse "anyone is better than Hillary" and you don't expect him to be criticized? Have you ever heard the word "SNOWFLAKE" used before?




Anonymous said...

Liberals are very good at deconstruction, which is french for demolition, of everything but their own bloated egos. This is total cultural warfare. They want your wife go lesbian, your daughter grow a moustache, your son go tranny and pee with the girls, your town filled with mosques and burqas… so when you come back from a tour in Irak you shoot yourself. And this is how you defeat the most powerful army in the world. Their former Moscow handlers would be very proud.

Mr. Cohen said...

Evil Logic Explained

(why many people like the "Two State Solution"):


http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2016/03/guest-post-evil-logic-explained.html

Anonymous said...

Modern US comedy has to have laugh tracks so everyone will know when to laugh. G-d knows there's not much to laugh about in the 21st century -- unless you're an amoral, empty-headed lieberal.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Mockers. Children in the marketplace...

Randall Kohn said...

I don't care what you say, Daniel. I still like yoga pants.

Anonymous said...

This is a joke right? Our President writes Baldwins material for him. He's kept him stocked. With "it's much harder than I thought " jokes. It's not even much of a stretch.

Rev Michael Bresciani said...

Excellent article, hard hitting.

Robert What? said...

"Saturday Night Live could not satirize Obama to save its life. It can't satirize Trump either for the same reason."

I think they are for different reasons. They could not satirize Obama because he was off limits. They try to satirize Trump but can't because they're just not funny and it comes off as the usual point and shriek.

Anonymous said...

Father Voltaire taught the Left that criticism is the child of independent thought.
It would be amusing if they didn't kill so many people over the ages after dehumanizing them theought satire.
That and their propensity to hold mutually contradictory ideas is their banner.

Anonymous said...

How do we fix it?

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