By Bob Cesca: Last week, I wrote about conservatives and their flailing, shockingly unfunny attempts at comedy. Over the weekend, they continued to prove my point that too many far-right conservatives simply don't understand comedy outside of simplistic, unfair bullying or crappy joke-book malaprops and knock-knock jokes.
The president delivered an hilarious monologue at the White House Correspondents Dinner and the same people who thought Limbaugh's awful "Barack The Magic Negro" parody or George W. Bush's "those WMDs have to be around here somewhere" jokes were hilarious are scowling at the content of his remarks.
Despite what they're saying, the president was sharp, self-deprecating and ballsy, and the team that wrote the jokes was obviously a top-notch group of comedy writers -- possibly Jimmy Kimmel's writers, who are among the funniest in television, or maybe even the original host of the event, Louis CK. Here's the full speech:
Some of the highlights:
“Here we are in this vast magnificent Hilton ballroom, what Mitt Romney would call a fixer upper.”
“Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartegana.”
“We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one, he has two. What a snob.”
“What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? A pitbull is delicious.”
There was another mention of eating dogs when the president noted it's a "boy eat dog" world out there -- a reference to the passage from the president's 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father in which he wrote that, while living in Indonesia, he tried dog meat at the behest of his stepfather.
And it was the dog jokes that cranked up the far-right outrage machine. Here's the Drudge front page that was still live this morning:
And the comment section here contains more examples (warning: some are quite racist) of the far-right's inability to grasp satire, humor, parody, etc., while also elevating heinous flop-sweat-inducing, intellectually violent unfunnyness.
No, conservatives. The president wasn't joking about Sarah Palin. At all. I've seen some remarks on various far-right blogs suggesting the joke was about performing oral sex on Sarah Palin. First of all -- eeeeewww. Second, and more importantly, the joke was clearly aimed at the screeching about the stupid dog thing and, secondarily, at the president himself.
But all of the gripes and tsk-tsk-ing have augmented an ongoing far-right meme that the president isn't very serious; that he's nothing more than a celebutard who goofs off instead of working hard. I hate to carry this column down that road but it's another stab at the Southern Strategy. The president, the meme goes, is lazy and shiftless. It's a racial stereotype as old as America itself.
Here's the latest ad from a pro-Romney PAC called American Crossroads. See if you can spot the racial dog whistles (no pun intended):
What emphasizes the insidiousness of the claim is that the president is arguably one of the hardest working and serious -- some have said "Spock" like -- presidents in recent memory. Obviously, he can't be cold, logical and wonky while also being a layabout slacker, palling around with domestic celebrities.
The mission here, besides the Southern Strategy, is to attack the president's strengths even if those attacks are contradictory. And the contradictions are closely aligned with hypocrisy from the attackers -- hypocrisy that seems to forgive scenes like this:
This was delivered during the early days of a war that President Bush decided to wage based on the incontrovertible evidence of WMD and, in concert with his infamous "bring 'em on" gaffe, was utterly disrespectful and completely dangerous to the soldiers whom he deliberately and wrongfully sent into battle.
I can't think of anything less funny. Or more undignified the office of the presidency.