Ed Driscoll

"A Great Weapon In The West's Satirical Tradition"

Cinnamon Stillwell of the San Francisco Chronicle (whom I had the pleasure to meet earlier this month) has some thoughts on comedian Will Franken, a performance artist all too rare in San Francisco:

Lest Franken be labeled a conservative or, what’s worse in today’s parlance, a dreaded neoconservative, there’s something in his show to offend just about anyone. Franken is that rare species — an independent thinker with a healthy sense of the absurd and a complete and utter lack of political correctness. Not to mention being funny. Demonstrating the universality of good humor, his act has drawn praise from such quarters as The Chronicle, San Francisco Bay Guardian, SF Weekly and the Oakland Tribune.

She quotes Franken thusly:

… I try to make fun of all religions and all political parties. The problem is, it seems more and more like radical Islam is the exception to the rule in that it gets sort of a free pass. What we were told from our media during the cartoon fiasco was that our stance on not showing the cartoons was out of respect for all religions. Well, we know that to be a lie because Judaism, Christianity, even Hinduism (Apu from “The Simpsons”) have all had their heads on the satirical chopping block.

… I don’t approve of mistreatment of women, murder of homosexuals, suppression of free speech, hatred of Jews, theocratic governments, and a lack of sense of humor in anybody — which is why I believe that Western society has a great weapon in its satirical tradition to ridicule fundamentalist Islam (as it’s already done with fundamentalist Christianity a la Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce) into a less volatile secular assimilation.

Good luck with that, but in the meantime, it’s worth reviewing the thoughts of Orrin Judd and Australia’s John Birmingham on the state of modern humor–and the frequent lack thereof.