Friday, May 25, 2007

Politics and Humor

Yesterday we discussed music and politics. Today let's discuss humor. Since humor is so subjective, I think it may be even more difficult. So let's look at three examples and I'll give my opinion of each.

1. Rusty's Whitehead Ad, as seen above and also here.

griftdrift verdict: Arguably funny. If Munson actually had Alzheimer's it would not be funny. Since he doesn't, the dissonance between reality and the accusation brings the funny. Kind of like when someone says something so stupid you inquire if they were Amish and grew up without a television, a telephone or any modern connection to the outside world.

griftdrift verdict: Arguably funny. The physical nature here is rather subtle and the underlying message that Rosie is an ogre fits the political purpose.

"When my band of right-wingers take over, women who weigh more than Rosie O’Donnell will not be allowed to wear miniskirts outside the bedroom. Some things should not be seen in public."

griftdrift verdict: Not funny. Simply calling a large woman fat is not funny. It's just mean. This is the opposite of the Munson ad.

In summary, humor is a difficult thing. In politics in particular it ventures dangerously close to the mean with alarming frequency. All are guilty at some point. In my unscientific opinion, most of the time, one side usually gets the funny and one side usually doesn't.


MTHEORY said...

Humor = subjective. QFT. I remember a philosophy class where we spent 2 hours discussing Leibniz's or Kant's explanation of what it was that made a joke funny. It was the "unexpected explanation of a situation, by someone with less knowledge of the truth of the situation than the listener." Or something like that.

We must have dissected 5 different jokes, trying to measure the humor in them, and in the process, ruining all of them for everyone in the class.

I ended up with a degree in philosophy. Didn't make me funny, though.

Amber Rhea said...

Buzz's is shit. With stuff like this one has to take into account the societal context in which it occurs. So, sexist, homophobic, and fatphobic themes in American society make it downright unacceptable.

I would expand on this but I really don't have time to do a 101 class for Republican readers.

As for Rusty's, well. I don't have a dog in that race. No opinion here.

Anonymous said...

OMG, Rusty's ad made me totally LOL out loud.

Isn't a major part of Buzz's Rosie pic the fact that the body is that of major terrorist guy and 9/11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, thus adding ironic juxtaposition to the head of a lady who thinks the gov't blew up building 7? In that context, I think it's less about fatophobia and sexism than about zany moonbat conspiracy theorists who are as fat as 9/11 masterminds by pure happenstance.

Flannery O'Clobber said...

Let me rant here -- body-based humor is shit, period. And fat-based humor against women is especially shit. Period.

While the humor in Buzz's pic is in aligning Rosie O'Donnell with a terrorist when that's the crux of the kerfuffle with E. Hasselbeck, at another level Buzz is simply depicting Rosie O'Donnell as fat and slovenly. Which is neither novel nor cool.

Jim Wooten's column is also shit in this case. It brings absolutely nothing to the discussion.

And to get to the rant...I'm sick of the O'Donnell bashing, period. I don't have a television, and if I did I wouldn't watch Rosie. But I'm completely sick of hearing various people bash Rosie O'Donnell on a personal level because she has the balls to put forth her opinion. You know, the opinion that she's paid to express. It's perfectly good to disagree with someone, and it's perfectly fine to criticize RD's opinions. But when you criticize RD as a person you are simply engaging in one of the world's oldest tricks and one that is most often deployed against women who make the mistake of having opinions. Again, also shit.

Jmac said...

Uh ... isn't the ability to poke fun and disagree with Rosie O'Donnell part of that whole free speech thing? Granted the fat jokes are not funny, but the lady is a loon.

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