Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Making fun of the bullies

Digby at Hullabaloo hits the nail directly on the head when it comes to the use of derision and humor in politics. Too many Democrats feel like they should just be above it all, and it's killing us. Especially considering that we have the Primo Morono in office, and should be having a ball making fun of him. Thank god for "The Daily Show".

As Digby points out, there is a bullying quality to Republican derision and "humor".

It's hard to fight in this environment and while I am all for ridiculing them right back, I'm afraid that most liberals are never going to have quite the flair for it that they do. We have way more genuinely funny guys and gals deflating the hypocricies of our times, but the bullies have that nasty coercive streak that really gives this stuff its punch. "Laugh, you pussies, unless you want a piece of this."

Well, that and our other problem is that we insist on tastefulness most of the time.

Still, I think it's a good idea for us to keep at it. They really hate being made fun of. Even if most of us can't strike that perfect, snarly bitchy tone in our mockery we can still bother them with it.

The main thing to remember when mocking bullies is that the reason they bully is because they are extremely interested in keeping up appearances. Figure out what image they think they are keeping up and you've got a source of endless derision. And you can usually provoke them to reveal themselves if you keep it up. (For the poor nerds still stuck in high school, those jocks who bully usually don't respond well to comments about how steroids shrink your dick.)

That's why the jokes about Bush's stupidity don't faze--he's proud of being stupid. It's the frat boy badge of honor. Not to say that we shouldn't make fun of it, because hey, why not? But don't expect it to faze him. That's the problem with mocking the bullies--the very things we find most aggravating about them, they don't see as problems. And nor do their followers.

The things that Bush is sensitive about need to be focused on, especially as seeing that he has a really bad temper and is likely to pop off. The best thing about Fahrenheit 9/11 was how Michael Moore screwed with the careful image Bush has of himself and that his handlers project to the world. He's also vulnerable on criticisms pointing out his wealth and privelige, because that contrasts with his good ol' boy image. Most importantly, his AWOL status needs to be such a dominant theme that there isn't a person in this country who isn't wondering about it by November.

I know it's lowball, but that's how it's going to be played. From my daily discussions with people, it's clear that the repetitive bullying mockery of Kerry for being a flip-flopper and an effete European are sinking in. Remember in high school how dumb jocks were admired for their pig-headed stupidity and nerds were derided for being thoughtful? That's what's going on here.

Stupid, thoughtless, repetitive criticisms of Kerry that right-wingers pick up from Fox and echo at you can't be dealt with thoughtfully, as there is not enough meat in them to to chew on. Just take the dumb-ass comment, re-package it and toss it at some pretension of BushCo's. Don't even address the lies that they are spewing--that's taking those lies way too seriously. Like when a wingnut says that Kerry didn't get injured "enough"--don't go off on a litany of his injuries. Just say, "Well, at least he went to Vietnam." Rinse and repeat until they come off of it. Or the whole thing about his "undistinguished" career--ask how Bush distinguished himself. (It helps if you remember that he lost money until he was elected to the weakest governor position in the 50 states.) Rinse and repeat until they come off of it. Every damn thing they throw out at Kerry sticks to Bush twice as hard, so the task is laughably easy.

I know it sounds shallow and like it's going to be a pissing contest. Perhaps. But the problem is that Karl Rove is throwing all this out there in hopes that he can get the Democrats to carefully refute each and every charge, wasting all sorts of time while Bush strides around, a monkey in man's clothes. Kerry won't have a single moment to sell himself if that happens. So, the criticisms are going to have to be lobbed back. With good-natured humor, always always always. The swifter and more pointed the return, the better we will do.


Blogger Earnest said...

I don't understand the insistence on belittling Republicans with jokes that are just as stupid as theirs are (I call this the Air America approach). It seems to me that, for the most part, comedians eschew liberal values, even if they aren't politicized. Having a funny person doing their regular work seems better to me because those people become standard bearers for "normal" America. Remember when Sam Kinison was at his peak? His fan base was, I'm sure, much larger than Al Franken's. Ellen Degeneres, I'm sure, draws a much larger crowd than Janeane Garafolo. Hey, Howard Stern, I'm sure, outdraws whatever is on Air America whenever he is on.


Blogger Amanda said...

The funny ones don't. Size of audience doesn't equal quality of work.
Anyway, read what I say and what Digby says. Humor is good--the important thing is being smart and avoiding cheap shots like making fun of someone's wife. The Republicans are getting away with pretending that the party that is against sex is the "fun" party because liberals have convinced themselves that it's wrong to have some humor at the expense of the bloated hypocrites on the right.


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