The Truth Behind 'Conservative' Humor
"Liberal" bloggers achieved a swift scientific consensus as they familiarized themselves with the People's Cube on this thread. That the consensus was scientific is evident from someone's dropping a scientific word -- "dissertation" -- and the tendency to categorize everything in the world, including humor, into "liberal" and "conservative." As we know, the world consists of two types: the ones who split the world into two types, and the ones who don't. At least now we know who's doing it.
Bloggers at the Constitution Club wrote:
I just spent forty-five minutes over at "The People’s Cube" trying to find something funny, via that elusive conservative humor, with no luck. Dave put it well, "when you have too much time on your hands".
Now I know how PG feels when I post Sadly, No!. Not that it’s going to stop me.
Comment by Andre the Defiant — April 23, 2008 @ 11:10 pm
I really have to move forward on my dissertation at some point about why conservative humor isn’t funny.
Comment by Wes — April 24, 2008 @ 5:28 am
Actually, Jesus did support redestribution [sic] of wealth, as Christianity is supposed to do in general.
Except the sadistic scum that call themselves so now, feel much better beating up homosexuals and then paying 50cent to a church or so.
Comment by V — April 24, 2008 @ 6:34 am
They attached a "conservative" label to the Cube and categorized it as "unfunny," grouping it together with bigotry, racism, homophobia, and religious fundamentalism. Observe that nowhere on the Cube will you find arguments in support of those views. I never identified myself as strictly "conservative." I never distanced myself from anybody. It's the "liberals" who distanced themselves from me when they found out that I had a moral backbone.
I have always maintained that humor is funny when it strikes you as true. It's a sudden realization of the truth that rises to the surface inside a bubble of silly laughter. But those who live in a different moral universe, feeding off different versions of the truth, will not be amused if jokes don't strike them as true; nothing will surface.
Remember Gary Cooper in High Noon? (I watched it a few days ago.) His character made a moral choice to stand for what's right against the wishes of the "world community." The judge ran away, the pastor washed his hands, the friends stayed home, the pacifist Quaker bride left him, and the saloon was full of corrupt drunks and cowards who cheered for the bandits. And as Gary Cooper stood alone in the deserted street preparing to die for the truth, suppose the saloon crowd would start making jokes about how Cooper talks funny, how uncultured he is, how he's playing a lone cowboy, how he's doing things unilaterally, and how war on the bandits is, in fact, illegal.
Sound familiar? No matter how professionally crafted those jokes might be, they would not strike me as funny and I would not laugh at them because they would be morally offensive. Not only would they miss the truth -- they would ultimately be against the truth. Because no matter what arguments the saloon crowd may present for moral relativity, the truth in this situation is only one -- and you either strike it or not.
That's why I never laugh at the jokes made by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, David Letterman, and the rest of them. They remind me of the offensive saloon cads in High Noon.
By the same token, the "liberals" who laugh at Colbert's jokes won't laugh at mine. But they used to laugh at my jokes when I hung out with them in Clinton-era New York, where morals were murky and the truth was "unknowable." Everybody was free to choose their own version of the truth from the extensive menu -- and nobody could force them to do otherwise. But then one day, against everybody's will, the truth about our place in the world was revealed to us in all its clarity. There was no way to escape what happened on 9/11/2001. The 57 varieties of the truth shrunk to just one choice -- and you could either take it or leave it.
Each of us continued to maintain the same set of values as before -- and yet we became divided. What divided us was the moral choice we made or didn't make. But not making a choice in that situation was a choice in itself. It put us on different sides of the ideological barricades.
I didn't choose to be a "conservative" -- my liberal "friends" chose it for me when they rejected me and I found myself standing next to a bunch of similar "rejects" whom I never met before, but who looked like interesting and intelligent people. They were all very different; what united them was a distinctive moral backbone. I will never let others define me on my behalf, but if being one of the intelligent people with a moral backbone is "conservative," I'll accept it as an honorable degree.
Oleg Atbashian, a writer and graphic artist from Ukraine, currently lives in New York. He is the creator of ThePeoplesCube.com, a satirical website where he writes under the name of Red Square.