Rightwing Humor -- It's Funny When People Die
I have to admit I've never understood rightwing humor. I just didn't get it and I often don't find it funny. For example, the running joke among conservatives this week is that they would rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than ride in a car with Ted Kennedy. I have to admit I didn't think it was funny. You see, the joke is a reference to a car accident in which a woman in the car with Ted Kennedy died. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the Republicans think death is funny. It's funny when people die. There's the joke.
Once I realized this simple truth it became much easier to understand Republican humor. For example, when Ann Coulter said of Arab nations, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity", I finally understood the joke. You see, killing people is funny. It's funny when people die.
Coulter also said "We need somebody to put rat poison in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She followed the statement by saying, "That's just a joke, for you in the media." See, it's just a joke. Funny. I get it now. It's funny when people die.
And after I figured that out it was so much funnier to listen to new CNN host Glenn Beck when he said, "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore." You see, that's comedy folks. It's not that the guy telling the jokes isn't funny, it's that you just don't "get it."You see, in a Republican world, It's funny when people die.
So, armed with my new found understanding of what Republicans consider funny, I've decided to try my hand at writing jokes like them. Here we go:
I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, than ride in a car with Laura Bush. (You see why it's funny? Laura Bush killed a guy in a car accident when she was 17.) It's funny when people die.
I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, than be an intern for Joe Scarborough. (Joe's intern died mysteriously in his office in 2001.) It's funny when people die.
I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than be a U.S. soldier in Iraq. (Ha, Ha, Ha. It's funny because 2,200+ soldiers have died in Iraq. Now there's Republican Humor on a grand scale.) It's funny when people die.
I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, than be a coal miner during the Bush Administration. (You see why it's funny? It's funny because Bush cut enforcement of mine safety regulations and appointed people to investigate violations who think corporate profits are more important than mine safety. And coal miners died.) You see, it's funny when people die.
I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney, than be a poor person in New Orleans during a Hurricane with George Bush as President. (Again, with Bush appointing political hacks to important government positions instead of competent people with experience, people died.) Again, it's funny when people die.
Armed with my newfound understanding of rightwing Humor, I can now laugh it off when Ann Coulter says, "When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty" or "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors." You see, it's funny when people die.
and from Radical Bible Quotations, we have this:
Fantasies of Genocide in Right-Wing America
Perhaps there's been no real shift of opinion in the last several years over what constitutes acceptable discourse. Perhaps the dread that any thinking person feels these days is just a side-effect of the way in which blogs have democratized the sharing of information, since they've also provided windows into the minds of thousands of people who otherwise would have to suffer their deranged thoughts in silence.
Nonetheless, there's no question that one way to understand the last few years in political terms is as a steady normalization of the abhorred, the unthinkable, the un-American and the un-Christian. Ideas that once occupied the fringes even of the American Right (theocracy, wars of aggression, the use of chemical weapons, torture, warrantless spying), even if they now are matters of dispute, no longer seem as aberrant as they once did. To me, this is the most disturbing thing of all about the Bush presidency. Power is always exercised in sinister ways, but it has rarely done such an effective job of corrupting people's consciences.
And maybe these windows into the private reflections of rank-and-file ideologues that blogs provide are somewhat useful, especially when we're talking about a blog--Little Green Footballs--that's won a great deal of praise from the mainstream media. It's not a fringe website: it's one of the principal blogs of the American Right. So when the blog features a story about thousands of British Muslims planning to demonstrate peacefully against the publications of anti-Muslim cartoons (whose overt racism is probably more offensive than their blasphemy), it probably says something about the state of our culture when the story generates many, many comments like these:
"Cut the welfare check of each and every demonstrator.:)"
"i hope the sun does a piece saying where were you after the london bombings you parasites.
burn the lot of them with flame throwers.
i know i am wrong to say it but thats the way i feel at the moment, and i bet i am not alone."
"Well, either 7.62 mini-gun, M-61s, or GAU-8s mounted on trucks at eye level might help them remind themselves to keep peaceful, lest there be a remake of 'Predator.'"
"No, think Mecca. What happens when a small city's worth of people convene in a small quadrant?
If there is a God, he has a sense of humour. I bet one of the protestors will "see Satan," thus triggering a stampede, and causing a couple hundred believers do die."
"At least there won't be any lines at the welfare offices that day."
Fantasies of extermination are not merely an occasional, embarassing element of today's "conservative" discourse. Since "conservatism" as a coherent political philosophy has pretty much imploded--a consequence of the Republicans' ruinous dependence on the most backward and ignorant elements of the population to keep their power--lashing out at a universe of phantom enemies with threats of extermination has now become the very basis of "conservative" politics. It's a scary thing when combined (see post below) with what seems like the Right's new comfort with arguments for ethnic cleansing. Pat Robertson of course didn't spell out what he meant when he recently said the Europe is "right now in the midst of racial suicide because of the declining birth rate," but I think Lindsey's essay allows us to fill in the blanks.
What's really scary is that the Republicans will have to appease these people somehow during the next election cycles, just as they've had to adopt continually more extreme positions on abortion, gay rights and church/state separation.