Ed Driscoll

Ship of Fools

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Among the over 150 comments to my post on John Cleese’s shock in discovering that the London he once knew and satirized is gone, James May wrote a lengthy mini-essay of a reply that’s worth calling attention to. As May asks, “what happens when the Marx Bros. no longer have a ship to stow away on as outcasts that make fun of the captain and challenge the stodginess of the passengers:”


What happens when the entire ship sides with the outcasts and half the people on board are stowaways? The liberal Left definitely had its own ideas on how to move forward from the 60s but also defined itself by what it was against, much the way teenagers do against their parents and why some people believe that decriminalizing marijuana works – when it’s not naughty any more young people lose interest. What happens when we all agree with Monty Python and there’s nothing left of the ancien regime to laugh at? What happens when you win and your parents are discredited and even dead, no longer around to rail against?

What happens is what happens in all revolutions: the inmates take over the asylum. Rebels become the establishment, the institutions and their leather jackets, jeans and tattoos become silly and empty escutcheons of a by-gone era – after all, every one has tattoos now. There are no more enemies or humor because revolutions do not mock themselves.

Going back to the idea of the new generation of Monty Pythons finding a way to impose their own satire – well, they haven’t. How can you make fun of adults who admit their culture is debauched and irrelevant? How can you make Monty Python-like attacks on minorities that have absolutely no sense of humor about themselves from anyone but themselves and that little enough? Is there a new troupe of comedians that will make ‘The Life of Mohammed” or “The Marx Bros. and the Dome of the Rock’? Can such a thing be done only by a muslim comedy troupe and if so, where are they?

The new generation and its minority constituents, as I say, has no sense of humor about itself because they see themselves as some type of social crusaders or engineers whose work is above reproach. How do you write a comedy sketch that effectively mocks John Stewart?

To date, the adherents and inheritors of political correctness remain unassailed and unassailable in their own domain. A new satirical movie true to its goal would invoke words like ‘retard’ or the new establishment of the Congressional Black Caucus or La Raza or the Democrats. Humor attacks a type of perceived fascist behavior but Conservatives are increasingly occupying the philosophical space of rebels by default if not intellectually and so don’t make such easy targets any more but at the same time lack the wit to produce a Monty Python from a grass roots base that would ‘get it’.

Instead of intellectual wit we have ‘Jackass’ where people rail against society but without one bit of insight into why and maybe that’s a good thing as what would happen if we all become practical jokers? But maybe that’s exactly what happened to the West as it took itself out of the picture by defeating itself in Reginald Perrin’s one-man boxing match.

We have a blithe faith that the new immigrants are just like the old without a stitch of evidence that such is the case. Latinos and black Americans have had a half century to state their case in America as the new generation of innovative, eccentric and Jeffersonian Americans and nothing could be further from the truth. Minorities rail like Monty Python did but without a humorous approach and what your left with is a Western society that has partially destroyed itself and a wave of immigrants that simply want to replace it physically and not philosophically.

No surprise then in Cleese’s statement about London – it’s not a new hep generation in London but simply lost territory, lost to people who have not fulfilled the dream of the next wave of culture in the theatre unless you consider Alan Rickman’s play about Rachel Corrie to be art. No new satirist’s who still safely play the field against now dead competitors like the 50s. No new novelist’s who challenge the legacy of socialism, immigration, and welfare for ‘retards’.

The new generation of film makers and novelists are as steeped as ever in monumental and rancid political correctness and the destruction continues apace. Where is Monty Python when you need them? Well, they’re gone. The new regime’s goal is to continue to dismantle itself as if it still resides over empires and colonies. Monty Python’s satire may have been timeless in a sense and very specific in another but what does that matter if it’s simply not even there anymore?


We’re seeing it in Canada, where a “Canadian stand-up comic loses suit launched by drunken lesbian heckler; $22,000 awarded for ‘hurt feelings,’” Kathy Shaidle writes.

As Kate of Canada’s Small Dead Animals blog quips, “I’ll Miss The Comedy Clubs:”

[Guy Earle] had a chance to “be Mark Steyn,” but chose to remain a confused liberal, even donating some money to a gay charity in an attempt at atonement. It didn’t do him any good, as we see now [and as we all told him at the time.]

Comedy’s a dead artform in the US as well, where it’s easier for self-described “hipsters” to tee-off on a baby with Down’s Syndrome than the President of the United States, PJTV alumnus Steven Crowder writes:

I’m still waiting for the days where other fellow comedians are willing to take this kind of bold approach to the current administration. I certainly would never condone these kinds of deplorable attacks on the Obama children, but unlike their “assault in flock” patterns on the Palin family, I’ve yet to see comedians even attempt to attack the president’s ideas.

Barack and Michelle are the ones in the White House, so wouldn’t a few digs their way be slightly more, well, relevant?

Relevant? Dude, that’s soooo 1968. Why be relevant, when you can join the establishment?

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