Some weeks ago, Trevor Noah was named as the next host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. And as usual whenever anything happens ever, a bunch of people got outraged. This would be an utter non-event except for how marvelously it demonstrated the hypocrisy of the progressive Thought Police. You’ve really got to love it.
Noah is a South African comedian just obscure enough to preside over the show as it hurtles into irrelevance, which it will inevitably do once its current host, Jon Stewart, leaves. But this is 2015, which means even the most meaningless and unremarkable occurrence isn’t complete without its attendant outburst of overblown political hysteria.
The announcement of Noah’s selection was swiftly followed by an equally uninteresting kerfuffle in which people with very little to do spent their astoundingly abundant free time digging up off-color tweets from Noah’s past. Turns out he’s made jokes about punching women and hitting Jewish kids with German cars. The resultant outrage was as unreasonable as it was predictable. People talked about boycotting the show. They wanted Noah dropped from the contract. “How dare a comedian make jokes?” They tweeted furiously.
Yawn. By now this stuff just feels like we’re following a script — everyone watching at home was setting a timer for the tearfully insincere apology that we all felt sure would follow like clockwork.
Except then something happened that isn’t in the script. High-profile talking heads rallied to Noah’s defense. Stewart and Comedy Central announced they would stick by their man. The comedian Patton Oswalt wrote a 53-tweet Twitter-screed mocking the absurd progressive insistence that comedy “should not be . . . privileged, misogynist or anti-trans, . . . or offend any feelings the joke listener may or may not have or have ever experienced in the past.” The Daily Beast published an article lamenting “the toxicity” of the Twittersphere’s hyper-sensitive “callout culture.” Suddenly, from out of the blue, well-connected people started defending Trevor Noah’s right to be an insensitive dipstick.
It’s worth stating the obvious fact that they were absolutely right to do so. Noah’s jokes were in poor taste, there’s no question. They were also crushingly unfunny. But this idea that comedians — or anyone, for that matter — should be forbidden from making fun of people is of course utter nonsense. It’s like saying carpenters should be forbidden from cutting wood. There’s a growing mob of ultra-progressive online commentators who sit around just itching to boycott even the most mildly distasteful opinions. They have been long overdue for a good, old-fashioned roast. Theirs is a mockery of an ideology, and it deserves to be mocked. It’s about time, in fact.
The human brain: 20 billion neurons, many firing at the same time. It constantly takes in visual, audio and other sensory input while also pulling up memories from throughout the brain’s entire life. It is constantly active, unpredictable, and chaotic. And as a writer, it is your enemy. Because you have to constrain this monster and keep it focused on you.
My subject today is holding the reader’s interest, and hopefully you’re still with me. You have this great idea for an article or a story, but how do you make sure you can grab a reader by his fidgety little brain and make him stay with you for the entire journey? For that, every paragraph needs to be carefully constructed.
Now, this sentence is not a particularly strong opening for a paragraph. This sentence following it doesn’t particularly add anything. And we’re three sentences in and still haven’t gotten to the point, while this is also somewhat of a long, rambling sentence, much longer than it needs to be. At this point we’re just meandering. This final sentence is anticlimactic and does nothing to interest anyone in reading the next paragraph.
See, that was a bad paragraph. That’s how you don’t want to write. You have to remember you are fighting a war of attrition; each sentence, readers could be dropping like incriminating hard drives at the IRS. So I’m going to give you some tips to help keep your writing from being boring. This is a rather broad subject — it’s a bit different writing an article like this versus writing a whole book or a novel.
Still, I have a few general tips, and I think I know what I’m talking about. I’m from the MTV generation; I grew up watching those music videos and saying, “Come on. How long are these stupid songs? What else is on?” So I don’t have much of an attention span. I just stopped to chase a squirrel between the previous sentence and this one. And I have turned this power of having a low attention span into making my writing more interesting.
TIPS FOR HOLDING YOUR READER’S ATTENTION:
1. Write a list.
See what I’m doing here? I’m breaking this article into nice little bite-sized chunks. A lot of people these days — me included — will see a big block of text, and their eyes will glaze over. But now you’re looking at this list with the bold headings not too far apart, and it all seems manageable. You can’t really break up a whole novel that way (well, you can go ahead and try, it’s a free country), but the equivalent is having a lot of short chapters so the reader feels constant forward progress. It’s like leading a donkey with a carrot on a stick; you don’t want that carrot to seem too unattainably far.
So, in summary, readers are asses.
2. Start strong.
Let me tell you a story. One day I was talking to Bill Whittle, and he said a good way to start an article and hook the reader is with a personal story that relates to the theme of the article. Now, I never usually have any good personal stories, so I just make stuff up. The important thing is to start with something that convinces the reader to keep reading.
Look at how I started this article. Did I begin this by saying, “I’m going to talk about holding the reader’s interest”? No. Instead I wrote a bunch of nonsense about the brain I got off Wikipedia. And you were like, “Why is he talking about this? I must read on, for I am intrigued!”
You need to get your hooks into the reader in the first paragraph — preferably the first sentence. It doesn’t matter if it’s a thousand-word article or a novel. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Great opener; you want an explanation of that right away. You are hooked.
Actually, I never did read that novel. What’s it about?
3. End with a hook.
You got the reader reading, and just as the interest starts to fade, you get another hook in them and keep pulling them along. This is more applicable to novels, but even in a short article you can end a paragraph or section with a question or something that begs to be answered in the continued reading.
For novels, though, never just let a chapter quietly end. Someone unexpected shows up, a character gets shot, the moon gets nuked — something exciting happens that makes the reader want to continue. He’ll be like, “I’ll go to sleep when I finish this chapter,” and you’ll say to him, “No, you bastard, you’re staying right here, because you have to know what happens next.” One of my favorite reviews of Superego was by someone who said she read the whole novel in one night.
That’s what a good writer does: ruin people and their sleep. To do that, you need to keep the reader’s attention from fading with the use of constant hooks. And you won’t believe what I tell you to do in the next section.
4. Use humor.
This one is a particular favorite of mine. If you want to keep the reader entertained and develop a rapport, use humor. I feel like I should put a joke in here to illustrate that, but now I suddenly feel all this pressure to be funny, and I can’t think of anything.
You want to keep someone’s attention? Demand as little of it as possible. So if you have some sentences in your writing that you don’t absolutely need, get rid of them.
This is hard. I am not good at this. Look at this piece — it’s already way too long. I’m always saying, “Yeah, that part isn’t really necessary, but it has a joke in it that I like.” I can never tell if I’m making a piece more focused or just reducing the humor/entertainment value of it. But if you get good at cutting, you’ll be great. If you can have a story that moves quickly without a lot of fat, many other sins can be forgiven. It’s just that when you approach your piece of writing with knife in hand and it looks at you with its puppy dog eyes, you just don’t want to cut the poor thing. But you have to. For its own good.
[Editor's Note: OK, Frank, I'll start helping you out with this more... You usually could be more focused if you wanted to but your jokes are so consistently funny that it would be criminal to chop them. And we all know you don't know anything about lawbreaking...]
So that’s my little bit of advice on holding a reader’s attention. Are you still with me? If you are, go out there and write something really gripping. I won’t necessarily read it, though — getting someone to try reading your stuff in the first place is a completely different challenge. If I figure that one out, I’ll pass that knowledge along.
April Fools’ jokes have gone high tech and websites have upped their game this year, going to great lengths to create fake but realistic-looking ads and stories that cause customers to do double-takes. Here are some of the best on the internet today:
“Today, we’re partnering with Nat Geo Wild, the network from National Geographic, to bring you the wildest campaign yet—UberLIONS—on-demand lion cubs! That’s right, with just a tap of a button you could be petting and playing with a real live lion cub. Enter the code LIONCUBSDC today and request LIONS between 9am – 12pm for your chance to snuggle with lion cubs!”
Reddit has been swarming with people speculating about the mystery button today. Should you press it or not press it? Will the world end or the nukes be launched if reddit users stop pushing the button? The world waits for answers.
“Though four fundamental forces – the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity – have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. ”
“Vladimir Putin has until the end of today to consider a one-off proposal from Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s embattled president, which could end the fighting in the Donbas and set a template for conflict-resolution elsewhere.”
Jewish women are fierce. We carry many arrows in our quiver including love for life, command of the situation, determined opinions, and freedom of expression. We are not lithe and unfettered. We do not “go with the flow.” We don’t wait until we are on our deathbeds to express our emotions, resolve hurt feelings, or pursue our passions.
Ultra-Orthodox men pray thanks to God that they were not created a woman. This is only because they don’t have ovaries enough to take on our mantle.We are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, prophetesses, administrators, investors, and the greatest security blanket men will ever know. But perhaps what shocks these religious men the most is that we regret none of it. This is why they need to hide behind sheets to protect themselves from their own animal lust for us, that is precisely how powerful we are.
Thank God we are women; someone has to be in charge of this mess. And that is precisely why we are the objects of fear and scorn. Because what you cannot control, you try to contain and what you cannot contain you either love or hate with reckless abandon.
Hence, Jewish women are constantly the brunt of jokes in the entertainment world. Whether it’s yet another good Jewish boy succumbing to shiksappeal or Lena Dunham berating her Jewish boyfriend’s mother, Hebrew women just can’t win. Our intellect becomes neurosis, our love becomes smothering, our agility becomes goofiness, our sexiness our comedy. In Freudian terms we are the mother from which no man can escape. In pop culture terms we’re the JAP, Jewish American Princess, to whom guilty Jewish men are obligated to commit in misery forever. When God commanded circumcision we’re the ones who didn’t stand in the way and now we’re doomed to forever pay the price for our holy allegiance.
…he comes from a culture in which mothers focus every ounce of their attention on their offspring and don’t acknowledge their own need for independence as women. They are sucked dry by their children, who ultimately leave them as soon as they find suitable mates. …As a result of this dynamic, he expects to be waited on hand and foot by the women in his life, and anything less than that makes him whiny and distant.
She offers the asinine complaint of feminism, the pagan belief that a woman cannot ever be truly independent because she is umbilically tethered to fostering life. It is a bizarre notion, one that makes no sense if we’re talking power and authority. A child cannot survive without its mother. Said mother not only nurtures and carries life within her body, she is the primary influence on that child from the moment they are born until the day they die. For better or worse, a mother’s relationship with her child has the greatest impact on their social, emotional and character development. Dunham acknowledges this concept in the negative only because she rejects her own womb as a burden instead of the greatest source of a woman’s power on earth.
Statistically Jewish women enjoyhaving children. Stereotypically, we have lovingly been dubbed “smothers.” Weaklings like Dunham who reject their womb power find humor in these stereotypes because their own egos are a poor substitute for the authority intrinsic to motherhood. They must constantly jab under the guise of humor in order to recharge their power source. Real women thrive on building up the ones they love. Lost women who have surrendered their biological power to political leadership are left seeking to offend. In the end, it is their only reward.
So if you ever wonder why feminists are stereotyped as bitter hags, look no further than the angst-ridden humor of Lena Dunham, feminism’s pop goddess who has sacrificed her wedding on the altar of gay marriage, her womb on the altar of Planned Parenthood. She has not chosen life, therefore death becomes her.
I’ll try and have my rebuttal up shortly in defense of cheap, crappy coffee, [Updated: now here] but in the meantime, I found these 3 comments very amusing, in particular Fred Z’s:
What do you think? Is American coffee terrible? Is Starbucks a symbol of Americans’ pathetic palate or does it hint at something darker, our gullibility at being able to be manipulated into spending ridiculous amounts of money for a lame product? Or is Spengler just being his usual cranky self and expertly trolling you?
Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien
Oh my. Although we have to wait for “Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber” to be aired later this month, some of the jokes made at his expense have already been published. And that’s great news… if you’re like me, that is: a real Bieber-despiser. Here’s a short selection:
“Tonight we are gonna do what parents and the legal system should have done a long time – give the boy an ass-whuppin’ he deserves.” He added: “Orlando Bloom took a swing at you; you have a perfume called Girlfriend; you threw eggs at a house — not gangsta.”
“Justin as a father of six you have to straighten up, son. Last year, you were ranked the fifth-most-hated person of all time. Kim Jong Un didn’t rank that low. And he uses your music to torture people.”
Will Ferrell (you’re the best!), also weighed in:
“He sings to 9-year-olds, and his hair is like a gay figure skater.”
Even Grand Old Lady Martha Stewart had a go at boychild:
“The only place people will be following you in jail is into the shower.”
Ouch. That’s harsh. Which is, it goes without saying, great! The show airs March 30th. I’m thinking it’ll be the first time I’m actually going to watch a show featuring Bieber. Heck, I can’t wait!
I’m offended by pretty much everything. See, I’m a conservative Christian, and there’s barely anything in pop culture that I don’t find offensive on some level, with all the sex and language and poor production quality. Still, in being offended by everything, I can’t even hope to compete with the modern day secular puritans on the left. The Social Justice Warriors invent at least one new thing a day that highly offends them (“You can’t call your one-year-old child a ‘he’; it hasn’t officially identified its gender!”). You couldn’t even keep up with them if you wanted to — by the SJW’s estimation, the average person commits five hate crimes before their morning coffee — and a sixth during the coffee if you don’t like it dark. Eventually, the only way to be politically correct will be to shuffle around staring at your own feet while mumbling incoherently. As an introvert, that’s perfectly fine with me, but not everyone is as excited.
What this means is that the right has to take over being funny. The left keeps making an ever longer “That’s not funny!” list and is starting to get hoisted on its own petard of speech policing, and soon they will lose the ability to make jokes at all, as they turn into those shuffling mumblers I talked about. So that leaves it to the stuffed shirts on the right to be the free spirits and the funny ones.
The only problem is I’m pretty sure science says conservatives can’t be funny. Like I’ve read that various places. Since we don’t like taxes, we’re incapable of humor. We may think we’re funny, and we may laugh at what each other say, but that’s all a shared delusion. We just don’t get comedy, as our best idea of a joke is to push a poor person down the stairs (which is funny because he doesn’t have health insurance).
But luckily, I’m a writer (I just released a science fiction novel, Superego, plus look at what I’m doing right now) and a scientist (prove I’m not), so I’ve written this short guide to being funny. And it absolutely, positively guaranteed to make you at least as funny as Dane Cook.
BEING FUNNY ADVICE
1. Imply, don’t say.
It’s hard to teach wit, but the best advice I can give you is to think, “Is there a less obvious way to state this?” Let’s say you notice someone has a head shaped like a pumpkin. You could simply say, “That guy’s head is shaped like a pumpkin!” But that is not witty. Instead you need to just imply that the guy’s head looks like a pumpkin, like this: “We need to tell Linus and Charlie Brown that we found him.” Instead of directly making the “head looks like a pumpkin” connection, you take a detour, and the listener gets to make the connection and be clever himself. That’s what makes wit so special; you’re making a connection with the audience that says, “I think the same as you.” But the length of the detour is important. Too short, not clever enough. Too long, it’s too obscure, and people won’t get the joke (“I bet his head is rich in lutein”). In my estimation, the perfect joke should take about one tenth to two tenths of a second for your audience to process it and understand the punchline. So pull out a stopwatch and work on being funny.
Seriously, though, don’t ever make fun of someone for having a pumpkin-shaped head. They can’t help that, and it would be super-mean.
2. Don’t shock.
A cheap way to do humor is to go for shock value. If you push the line on something, you’ll get a few laughs, but it’s not an enduring form of humor, as what’s shocking one day wears off quickly. So don’t cop out and make gasp-inducing jokes about punching hippies or pushing poor people down stairs; that’s just hackish.
3. Make fun of the Irish.
As part of not relying on shock humor, stay away from racist jokes, of course. But people do have this impulse to have an “other” group to make fun of. Just look at how people on the left always go after the Tea Party, unloading all the dark parts of their own ids onto whatever they imagine that group to be. So pick some group you won’t get in trouble for making fun of — and a good group for this is the Irish. I make fun of them all the time, and no one has called me out on it. Because really, who cares about those inbred, drunken potato-lickers?
Thursday, March 5th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
There’s a subset of Jewish culture that has so much money to blow on their kids that celebrations like Bar Mitzvahs turn into outrageous, television-worthy affairs. If you want the full story in the form of a cute, thoughtful comedy, check out Keeping Up with the Steins. If you want to skip straight to the awkward horror of the real-life version, watch the video above, posted by the UK Jewish News with the one line comment:
Usually, we’d write something here, but we are a little speechless.
To paraphrase from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, “To defeat your enemy you must know your enemy.” I kept this mantra in mind while compiling this comprehensive list of 10 criminal DO’s and DON’Ts, opening a window into their minds, bringing us one step closer to pinpointing the source of their brilliance.
Twenty-one-year-old Charles Ray Fuller from Texas had dreams of starting his own record company, but he took to heart what he learned from Roman poet Titus Plautus: “You need to spend money to make money.” Because banks are dumb, and rich people do this all the time, Charles filled out a check in his name for $360 billion (yes, billion) and attempted to cash it at a bank in Fort Worth. Not only was he arrested for forgery, he was also in possession of two ounces of marijuana and a .25 caliber handgun.
9. DON’T factor in your victim’s abilities
When selecting a victim for property theft some choose an easy target, while others may choose a wealthy target. A burglar from Milwaukee, however, understood the futility of these details. While giving a private lesson at his studio, Taekwondo master David Kang heard someone rummaging through his office. He soon discovered a burglar who, apparently, didn’t know what Taekwondo was used for. Kang easily subdued the unarmed bandit and held him hostage until police arrived.
In President Me, Adam Carolla takes the pulse of the social contract, a pulse that is slackening. Narcissism is the sapping beast.
Carolla sees an insidious minority that has turned out to be “assholes.” Predictably, the trait has infiltrated what is now known anachronistically as “the fabric of society.”
The death of God, absent fathers, subversive pop culture, unassimilated immigration, and infantilizing, cradle/grave government all factor as threats to destroy from within America’s exceptionalist sovereignty.
Carolla’s admonition is about a stratum of quasi-pathological narcissism breeding within our culture.
The following formulization often comes up in discussions about Islamic extremism: even if only one percent of Muslims are radicalized, that means 16 million people are in solidarity on some level with jihad.
In Carolla’s equation, even if only one per cent of our nation’s population is at least borderline pathologically narcissistic, that’s approximately three million, one hundred and sixty thousand assholes.
Unfortunately, these figures are probably low.
PJ Lifestyle’s Kathy Shaidle previously laid out Carolla’s organizational outline for the book, a collection of indictments handed down for each department of the federal government, plus random, related take-downs of entities like the United Nations. Shaidle’s mention of the explicit language that peppers the narrative will serve here as well.
President Me serves as both grand thesis and field guide. The comedian and author, who started funny and grows ever more trenchant in his observations, brings to the phenomenon of narcissism on the march a noteworthy specificity; readers will find themselves adding personal worsts to his gallery of self-centered rogues and counterintuitively manifested government entities.
Narcissism is not the only target of Carolla’s brawling cultural assessment, but it’s the metastasizing thread that holds the book together. Often laugh out loud, the larger context of the work has humorless implications for Western societies under threat from virulent ideologies and belief systems, and the madness inherent in a refracted society disassociated from rigorous self-appraisal.
In his third book, Carolla—though scarcely the first to call out cultural narcissism—makes narcissism his bitch, pardon the vernacular, roughing-up by decree everything from big-boxes to the airline industry, bumper stickers to the Department of Homeland Security.
The question becomes, how best can conservative counterculture counter the galloping solipsism of our times?
One answer may be to join the rugged individualism of American conservatism with conservative valuation of the social contract. These components of an individual and/or group ethos must oppose on all fronts an electronics-generated, nanny-statist, broken home-enabled reanimation of the “Me Decade.”
Reading Carolla suggests that contemporary narcissism’s sweep makes the ’70s Me Decade look like the “Mother Teresa Decade.”
A culture beset by multitudes afflicted with narcissistic personality disorders is weakened by over-association with the “me” orientation, and a disassociation from the “we.” Such a flaccid culture is threatened by cultures in which the “we” construct is established, and the guiding motivation is negative.
In Islamic extremism and its terror component, ideas of self esteem and individual rights are violently abrogated.
In the United States, untrammeled immigration breeds narcissism both from the standpoint of the trespassers who think the laws don’t apply to them and come expecting to share the benefits of a nation for which they hold no modern claim, and from the standpoint of progressive segments of we the people, who are so narcissistic as to think that we can absorb the globe’s unwashed masses, that we’ve got it under control enough to pick up a gigantic tab in perpetuity. We can’t.
Country clubbers and chambers of commerce who want to open the floodgates to cheap labor out of greed are among the most virulent progenitors of the narcissism plague.
It is a counterculture’s job to be vigilant.
Narcissism reflected reveals the triumph of equalitarianism over merit, entitlement over responsibility, immigration (both cultural and quantitative) over sovereignty, and raises the chillingly retrograde specter of globally administered social justice.
Our current administration propagates the idea that America is no better or worse than any other country, a position that would seem to be the opposite of nationalized narcissism. Dig deeper and the truth is that for those who loathe our capitalist republic and everything it stands for, dismantlement becomes the ultimate objective. For any person, administration, or movement to think they have the right to transform the country by any other means than the consensus of the governed represents narcissism gone over the edge.
If traditionalists and conservatives don’t adamantly conceptualize and defend who we are as a culture, our children and grandchildren will absorb the message that narcissistic obsession, and a corollary disregard for the principle of societal cohesion—a disregard clothed in shallow adherence to political correctness and empty homilies about inclusiveness and diversity—is the stuff of post-millennial life.
However micro his targets, or amusing his characterizations, Carolla’s prognosis might best be distilled by appropriating an infamous lyric which surfaced in 1999’s debut by the heavy rock band Disturbed.
It is the job of the conservative counterculture’s rugged individualists to indentify rends in a social contract that upholds freedom, independence, and personal responsibility, and ride into the breach wherever and however they appear.
To join societal critics like Carolla in calling out the corrosive influence of individuals and entities which threaten our way of life with the whirlwind of self, and the vortex of decadence.
This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion (email DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com if you would like to respond):
Toilet paper squares, the individual sheets that connect to make each roll, were once 11.43 centimetres (4.5 inches) wide and the same long. That standard, however, has shifted, or at the very least loosened its grip on the industry, to a point where companies are selling sheets that are 1.3 centimetres (half an inch) shorter or thinner, or both.
A reader wrote in to a columnist at the Los Angeles Times saying he’s noticed a roughly 26 per cent reduction in the surface area of his toilet paper.
Last week I shared with you the examples of disinformation in the unfunny recent Cracked.Com parody of Walt Disney giving a TED Talk. I only got through a fraction of the video before I reached 2,000 words! So I went back to the video (I sacrificed so you don’t have to watch it) and found even more examples of the type of disinformation that the Left makes up to try and destroy Walt Disney. Here are four more of them, along with rebuttals based in fact.
Disney legend Ward Kimball (left) shared a love of trains with Walt, but the two didn’t share the same political views.
1. “In my vision of the Disney universe there’s no room for pinko, liberal, bleeding hearts to spoil the magic…”
As I’ve written before, although Walt Disney did become a conservative, he grew up under the influence of a Socialist father, and he remained politically naive for much of his adult life. He once said:
A long time ago, I found out that I knew nothing whatsoever about this game of politics and since then I’ve preferred to keep silent about the entire matter rather than see my name attached to any statement that was not my own.
Walt didn’t care about the political leanings of his staff, for the most part. Some of the animators and Imagineers in his inner circle held beliefs far to Walt’s left, and the studio employed plenty of left-wing artists and writers. All Walt worried about was the quality of their work. Michael Barrier writes:
An employee’s politics were not of any particular concern to him if that employee was not challenging him as Art Babbitt and Dave Hilberman had. Some of Disney’s employees, like Ward Kimball, flourished even though it was no secret that their politics were far more liberal than his. Maurice Rapf, who worked for Disney as a live-action screenwriter for two and a half years in the middle 1940s, was an extreme example. He wrote many years later that Disney “knew very well that I was a dedicated left-winger. He may have even known that I was a Communist.”
I enjoy good satire that really makes a point. The problem with satire is that, for it to be truly good and genuinely funny, the satire must find its basis in truth. Satire that isn’t based in facts doesn’t work and is generally unfunny.
I’ll give you a recent example: over at the humor site Cracked, a recent video by some guy named Michael Swaim presented a fictional TED talk by Walt Disney. The title of the post was “Why Walt Disney Is Nothing Like You Think He Was,” of course guaranteed to generate buzz.
In the video, an actor — Swaim, maybe? — dressed like a used car salesman and, not even trying to imitate Walt’s Missouri twang, spouts off the usual suspects of Disney disinformation. I didn’t embed the YouTube clip here, because it’s not safe for work or kids and because it’s six minutes of your life you’ll never get back. But I will highlight and refute five of the worst smears in the video.
If, in 2002, your television viewing habits were dominated by Fox News, The Osbournes,and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you may have missed out on the highlight of Adam Carolla’s early television career. He left Comedy Central’s The Man Show in 2003.
Similarly, if you scrupulously avoid any relationship advice from Dr. Drew Pinsky as if it were a visit to the Ebola Bridal Shoppe, you missed another post-millennial Carolla enterprise. Carolla left Loveline in 2005.
There’s been a slew of Carolla projects in the interim, but if you’re like millions of baby boomers whose mental image of the word “podcast” conjures primarily a plaster replica of the seed pods from 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you may have lost all track of Carolla, and rediscovered him as a guest on the O‘Reilly Factor.
While you’ve been passively forgetting, patently ignoring, or ardently following Adam Carolla, he’s been working full time, outside of what passes for the usual show business gestalt. Like Charlton Heston, Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammar, and Wayne Newton before him, Carolla has made his conservative/libertarian values known. Only this time, unlike with those illustrious examples, the conservative is outside of so-called mainstream culture.
If there is such a thing as a conservative counterculture, I think you have to put Carolla on the ground floor. Bear in mind though—Carolla says he’s not really all that conservative; it’s just that the culture has driven him rightward.
Whether delivering irresistible cuties bouncing on trampolines, dispensing relationship advice Doctor Laura would scarcely have approved of, or the tearing off an improperly installed roof, the comedian, author, radio personality and #1 national podcaster always brought the fun.
Carolla hilariously worked his take on Eros into the Loveline script. The Man Show was like a frat house micro-burst around feminism’s ankles.
Lately, if you work in construction, you don’t want Carolla’s Catch a Contractor crew rolling up on your job site. Carolla’s home improvement sting operation on Spike TV has just been renewed for a third season.
When one contractor cornered says to Carolla, “You’re a standup comedian, right?” Carolla responds, saying, “No joke I ever told is as funny as the work you performed here.”
Carolla’s atheism is something that places him outside preconceptions about how conservatives’ reckon humankind’s place in the universe. Unfairly or not, we associate the right more with established belief systems, traditional religion, and the left more with secularism—within a larger context of the atheistic state.
Carolla’s, or anyone’s, atheism, strikes a discordant note with a statistical majority of the conservative base demographic. Thou shalt not judge is the guiding principal, but for true believers, atheism alone will put Carolla in a counterculture.
Also to be accepted is his pro-choice (while being assailed as a misogynist), pro-same-sex marriage (while being decried as a homophobe), and pro-marijuana legalization positions in the bargain.
At the entertainment website My Damn Channel, Carolla responds to criticisms about remarks he made on race that some characterize as racially insensitive.
What about this conservative counterculture? Alice Cooper has got to be some kind of emeritus standard bearer. Greg Gutfeld, Vince Vaughn, and Kid Rock?
Writer P.J. O‘Rourke has a hand in this. If you aren’t worried about coming across as pompous, a case can be made for making Dennis Miller the honorary godfather.
And who doesn’t love Wayne Newton?
Will the term “counterculture conservative” someday be remembered like “Tea Party?” the lexicon of a movement assimilated, like the Tea Party itself?
In the culture war, that might be progress.
Or will the conservative counterculture remain its own thing, and perhaps someday be sent-up in a counter-culturally conservative version of The Monkees?
Whatever happens, performers like Adam Carolla will provide the reality check, but one possibility cannot be ignored: Carolla may reject the whole idea, and someday spew forth with a rant and drill it a new one.
See more of PJ Lifestyle’s coverage celebrating Adam Carolla over the past few years, led by Kathy Shaidle:
This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue between the writers of PJ Lifestyle and Liberty Island regarding the future of conservatism and the role of emerging counter-cultures in restoring American exceptionalism. See the previous installments in the series and join the discussion:
Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg
Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two wannabe-famous New York twenty somethings, teamed up to talk sex via their “running soap opera,” “almost reality TV show” podcast Guys We F*cked. Broadcasting under the “anti-slut shaming” banner makes Guys We F*cked appealing to the contemporary feminists at Salon who never turn down the chance to normalizetwisted sexuality. Salon assistant editor Jenny Kutner sat down with the comedy duo more commonly known as “Sorry About Last Night” who, as they enter season 2 of their famed podcast, are looking to crowdsource funds from fans while noting that their careers are “…getting better because of the podcast, which is really exciting.”
Performing an editorial feat, Kutner defines the duo’s narcissism as “comedy with a purpose” in her attempt to define the two as feminists. In doing so, the assistant editor at Salon exposes exactly why contemporary feminism is failing 21st century women: Today’s feminists have worked to sever feminism from its historical roots as a biblically-grounded movement for women’s independence. What they’re replacing it with, a “social media feminism” as artist and feminist April Bey has dubbed it, is a mere mask for narcissistic, death-obsessed, goddess worship.