Today I begin a randomly intermittent Klavan on the Culture feature entitled “Stuff Conservatives Should Actually Like” (SCSAL). This is an attempt in the spirit of bright goodwill to make the argument in favor of cultural endeavors – books, say, or TV shows or films – that I’ve heard conservatives complain about but that I think they should actually enjoy.
Those who continue to disagree with me will be hunted down.
Today’s stuff is Tina Fey. And okay, she’s not stuff. She’s a living, breathing human being with hopes and dreams like the rest of us. But let’s put all that nonsense aside for a moment.
Tina Fey frequently comes under attack by conservatives for her impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. This strikes me as unfair. Sarah Palin is a public figure and what’s more, a public political figure. She should be subject to ridicule like the rest of them. What is, of course, deeply irritating is the fact that the rest of them are not all subject to ridicule. Specifically, lefties get off lightly throughout the entertainment world, and King Lefty Barack is treated by most mainstream comedians like some sort of handicapped child who has to have his self-esteem bolstered.
What is doubly irritating is that the blithering idiots who are supposed to report the news have now conflated Fey’s imitation with the real Palin. This, of course, tells us nothing about either Fey or Palin, but only tells us that our journalists are, in very large degree, blithering idiots. But maybe I already said that.
Although Fey herself is an outspoken liberal, conservatives should actually like her for a couple of reasons. First, I personally find her physically attractive and my fantasy life is very important to me so leave her alone. But perhaps of more interest to the public at large, Fey is not only amusing, she’s a lot more fair in her political humor than almost anyone else out there. In its early episodes at least (I haven’t reached the later ones yet) her TV series 30 Rock makes no more fun of conservative boss Jack Donaghy (played by good actor/crappy person Alec Baldwin) than it does of the liberal Liz Lemon, played by Fey herself. In fact, to Lemon’s annoyance, Baldwin’s Donaghy usually turns out to be right about everything he says, and is obviously more of an adult than the neurotic libs around him.
Making fun of liberals and conservatives equally is not only fair, it’s deeply humane. We’re all pretty goofy when it comes down to it, and that’s why we have comediennes in the first place: to make us laugh at our own silliness. Unlike The Daily Show, which arrogantly conceives of itself as superior to the conservatives it relentlessly attacks, 30 Rock is a funny and good-natured show that does an excellent job of skewering everyone.
That’s something conservatives should support, even if we can’t see Russia from our house.