The Long View 2006-10-26 Pointed Humor


This post written in 2006 illustrates nicely the difference between antifa on the Left and Frog Twitter and 4chan on the Right. Unlike Weimar Germany, America is full of Righty humorists and Black Bloc marchers with bats and bike locks.

Pointed Humor

The propaganda element of the Terror War has notoriously been neglected, so it is all to the good that Ivan Osorio, writing in The American Spectator, draws our attention to the value of ridicule:

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon," says the fifth rule of Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, Saul Alinsky's classic 1971 activist handbook. That's because, "It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule," as Michael "tank moment" Dukakis so painfully knows.

He further draws our attention to a paper from an analyst at the Institute of World Politics (new to me; it's apparently an independent graduate school in DC) that offers some specifics:

[The paper's author, Michael Waller] cites Team America: World Police, an all-marionette-cast war-on-terror movie comedy by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as a good example of effective contemporary anti-anti-American ridicule.

Certainly some of the graphics from that film came in very handy after the recent North Korean nuclear test. Nonetheless, I am reminded of a scene from one of Woody Allen's funny movies. It takes place at a literary gathering in Manhattan, when Allen's character becomes annoyed at the futile political chatter:

"Hey look," Allen says, "I just heard that the Neo-Nazis are marching tonight in New Jersey. What do you say we take some baseball bats and pay them a visit?"

His interlocutors reply: "Oh, no no. I think irony would be much more effective."

Weimar Germany was full of Lefty humorists.

* * *

The Clinton Administration occasioned some brilliant political humor. Perhaps it was too brilliant for the Republican Party's own good, since the party's supporters are recycling it long past its sell-by date.

Consider, for instance the The People's Cube. The material is all terribly anachronistic. Take, for instance, the image on this site of Hillary Clinton managing a concentration camp. To be shown an image of an American politician operating a concentration camp these days is to be reminded of Guantanamo. That's unfair, but it's true. Political viral-marketing is supposed to say in an unofficial medium what could not be said in a broadcast political ad. Here we have a viral message that will infect the viewers with ideas the message's makers had not intended.

And then there's David Zucker's latest video, which shows IRS agents dressed like Men in Black collecting new taxes passed by a hypothetical Democratic Congress. Like many Americans, I think my taxes are too high, too. My property taxes are outrageous, but that's because the New Jersey state government is deadlocked and cannot simplify the structures of local government. I suspect that I am also like many Americans, perhaps like most Americans, in thinking that anyone who is really worried about keeping the Bush tax cuts in place is part of the racket that has so visibly corrupted Congress.

* * *

Speaking of humor and New Jersey, here is some of the Darwin Award-winning logic from Lewis v. Harris, in which the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the legislature six months to either redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, or create a parallel institution with precisely the same terms as marriage:

[From the Syllabus] The State does not argue that limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman is needed to encourage procreation or to create the optimal living environment for children. Other than sustaining the traditional definition of marriage, which is not implicated in this discussion, the State has not articulated any legitimate public need for depriving committed same-sex couples of the host of benefits and privileges that are afforded to married heterosexual couples. There is, on the one hand, no rational basis for giving gays and lesbians full civil rights as individuals while, on the other hand, giving them an incomplete set of rights when they enter into committed same-sex relationships. To the extent that families are strengthened by encouraging monogamous relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the Court cannot discern a public need that would justify the legal disabilities that now afflict same-sex domestic partnerships.

Note that the court took care to find an equal-protection claim only under the state constitution, thereby ensuring that the federal courts would not have a chance to second-guess them, and that the court found no fundamental same-sex right-to-marry even under the New Jersey Constitution. The most interesting aspect of the decision, however, is found in the first paragraph:

JUSTICE ALBIN delivered the opinion of the Court. The statutory and decisional laws of this State protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation. When those individuals are gays and lesbians who follow the inclination of their sexual orientation and enter into a committed relationship with someone of the same sex, our laws treat them, as couples, differently than heterosexual couples. As committed same-sex partners, they are not permitted to marry or to enjoy the multitude of social and financial benefits and privileges conferred on opposite-sex married couples. In this case, we must decide whether persons of the same

Actually, "our laws" don't treat anyone as "couples." There is a Domestic Partnership Law, which gives individuals in certain situations the right to confer certain benefits on other individuals, but that no more creates a legal person called a "couple" than does a landlord-tenant contract. In reality, marriage rights have always been the same for heterosexuals and homosexuals; the fact that the latter group is much less interested in exercising them is not a denial of equal protection of the law.

Even if you accept the legal reification of "couples," can the court really mean that the state is forbidden to offer special benefits to that class of couples that is capable of producing and raising offspring? Also, though the court does refer to "monogamy" on a few occasions, if "to follow the inclination of their sexual orientation" is enough to create a legally cognizable person, then I am at a loss to see why these entities need have only two members.

Again, it's embarrassing to discuss this issue, because demographics settle the matter. The court notes that the relevant statutes and state constitutional provisions were clearly not written by people who contemplated same-sex marriage, but "times and attitudes have changed." Yes they have, and they will change again. Mark Steyn has prophesied that every viable political party in the West will be pro-natalist by 2015. He will be right about that, even if he is wrong about Eurabia. (In fact, if he is wrong about Eurabia, he will be wrong because of that.) Same-sex marriage is part of a cultural constellation that is not sustainable; Lewis v. Harris is an example of a type of progressivism that can have no future.

What will happen in New Jersey itself? What had been a very Blue state on cultural issues is about to become much redder.

Copyright © 2006 by John J. Reilly

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