by Timothy Lane 2/24/16
Liberals are famously humorless, an affliction especially associated with feminists. (“How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? One — and that’s not funny!) But that isn’t really quite the case. Liberals are quite prepared to laugh at their enemies (conservatives, middle Americans, and Republicans, three overlapping categories), and many (such as Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and any number of veterans of Saturday Night Live) have made a living of it. They’re also probably as likely to enjoy non-political humor as anyone else is.
But there is an interesting hole in their minds (well, more than one, but I’m talking about one particular hole here). Isaac Asimov was noted as many things, and one of them was a good sense of humor. He even wrote a Treasure of Humor heavily loaded with good jokes, some of which involved political satire. Left-wing satire, anyway. When Al Capp, during the 1960s, switched from mocking General Bullmoose to mocking Phoney Joanie and Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything (SWINE — and I might add,plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose), Asimov complained in public.
This was nothing new, either. A friend once pointed out that Mort Sahl became very popular among the goodthinkful well-doers as a satirist of the Eisenhower administration. When JFK came in, he switched targets, naturally — and lost that popularity. Liberals, it seems, can’t tolerate any form of mockery of their political sacred cows.
One reason for this is that they often can’t even recognize that some things really are intended as humor. When Rush Limbaugh joked at a conservative conference about buying his mother a can-opener to open dog food to eat (a liberal myth of dubious merit), Putzy Schroeder the next day spoke about this as if he had seriously meant it. I’ve similarly encountered elsewhere a leftist inability to recognize, for example, that certain comments by humorist P. J. O’Rourke were intended to be funny.
Most people probably aren’t thrilled about having their sacred cows laughed at. But most people at least realize when it’s supposed to be funny. But not ideological liberals. Time and again, they show such strange mental holes. Liberalism is indeed a mental illness But this also shows that anti-liberal satire can be a very powerful weapon against them. They react badly to being laughed at, far worse than most other people do (at least when it’s their ideology that’s the target), so the more we can do it, the better it is.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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