2018/12/31

When the Laughter Died

Louis CK

If you paid attention to popular entertainment in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember the wave of edgy comedians who rose up as a sort of pushback against the allegedly staid Reagan era. Guys like Andrew Dice Clay, Denis Leary, and Sam Kinison were among a class of funnymen who pushed the bounds of propriety and sought to shock as much as to entertain. Of course Boomers, who define themselves as being opposed to the establishment even though they'd long since become the establishment, loved the new bad boys of comedy.

Looking back on that era now, you notice something else. Much is made of the Left's long march through the institutions, which has succeeded in converging everything from the academy to Wall Street and and the news media to the cause of social justice. Yet the old institutions had lost their veneer of objectivity by the end of the 90s. The bearded commie econ prof and the limousine lib news anchor were already widespread cliches. Even the archetypal conservative bastion of big business had fallen to Democrat mega-donors like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The converged institutions could probably have imposed the death cult's agenda by force, but it was 90s comedians who proved invaluable in winning the public's hearts and minds for the Left in the culture war.

The gay lobby offers us the clearest example. As recently as the late 80s you still had teen comedies making liberal use of homosexual slurs and portraying the lifestyle itself as risible. As soon as the calendar flipped over to 1990, it was as if a switch had been flipped. Go back and watch an episode of The Kids in the Hall, The State, or Will and Grace. The glib, hip, and hyper-competent gay character suddenly appeared everywhere, as if by Central Committee fiat. It's no coincidence that polls show most Americans think that up to twenty-five percent of the population is homosexual. Popular comedies helped propagandize the public in a similar way on every cultural issue.

Now that the Left is victorious in the culture war, something interesting has happened. Instead of lauding and feting the comedians who secured their victory, the contemporary Left is busily casting them into the outer dark like pariahs. Here's a story on Louis CK getting the two minutes' hate for uttering heresies against the death cult.

You might say that poking fun at Parkland survivors is tone deaf, but that's a matter of taste. CK's bit about scolds who insist the rest of us refer to them by gender-neutral pronouns is objectively funny. The fact that he's being thrown to the wolves reinforces the observation that the Left never cared about free expression or even minorities' rights. They just care about power, and they're perfectly ready to dispose of useful idiots whose usefulness is past. Thus you get ironies such as once-edgy 90s comedians like Jerry Seinfeld being afraid to play college campuses for fear of the Lefty thought police.

A common refrain from alt-lite pundits used to be that the Left had morphed into even worse puritanical moralizers than the religious right ever were. Always left unsaid was that the religious right's warnings of widespread social decay were proven correct. It was edgy 90s comedians who goaded us into laughing at paleoconservatives in the first place. It's the Left's unholy high priests who are laughing now.

25 comments:

  1. I've long held that sitcoms paved the way for much of the moral rot our country is facing now.

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    1. Concur. Will and Grace did more to normalize the poz than a thousand GLAAD rallies.

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    2. This was planned out. The "Rural Purge" the networks engaged in during the '70s was specifically meant to shape tastes to more modern and hip attitudes of urbanites and forward thinkers. This required rejecting and demonizing everything outside their little bubble. That's how you got from Green Acres to Mary Tyler Moore to Norman Lear to the junk currently airing on television.

      They say this change was made because of lowering ratings, but that's a lie. No show after the purge ever did as well as Andy Griffith, Green Acres, or Gun Smoke, but only lowered. If it was done for ratings reasons then networks would have created an "Urban Purge" to fix the problem.

      For obvious reasons that never happened.

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    3. One is reminded of how All in the Family spectacularly backfired on them. Archie Bunker was supposed to have been the first blue collar white male punching bag for our urban overlords. Instead he became the series' breakout character. After that they learned not to simply make a pastiche of everything they hate, because normal people love it. Enter the hapless, cucked clowndad of the 80s and 90s.

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  2. “A common refrain from alt-lite pundits used to be that the Left had morphed into even worse puritanical moralizers than the religious right ever were. Always left unsaid was that the religious right's warnings of widespread social decay were proven correct.“

    Yes. I’ve been saying this for years. The moral majority was actually right about nearly everything.

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    1. They came heartbreakingly close to succeeding, too--only to watch all they'd gained slip through their fingers.

      I once read an account of the movement from someone who'd been on the inside from the start. He said they went in not expecting much and were caught off guard by their initial political victories. Sadly, their focus soon shifted from serving Jesus Christ to winning elections for winnings' sake. Un-Christlike behavior followed that allowed the edgy comedians' jeers of hypocrisy to stick. It's a much-needed lesson in the dangers of victory defeating us.

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    2. Well, the PMRC spearheaded by Tipper Gore yet all the musicians still voted for her husband when he ran for president. Johnny Ramone went out of his way to comment how stupid that was, but nobody listened. There were no principles. Just voting for the Party.

      The important thing about these "rebels" to remember is that it's not about being right; it's about being on the right side. You aren't going to reason with them because they aren't here to reason with you.

      The Moral Majority didn't get this, and that's why they lost and continue to lose now. They refuse to strike a killing blow when they have any opportunity to do so.

      "We can't do that," they'll say. "We'd just be like Joseph McCarthy!"

      And that tells you all you need to know.

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    3. Then you tell them Joseph McCarthy did nothing wrong, and they tell you "He ruined people's lives!"
      You ask them to name one.
      Blocked.

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    4. The PMRC also wanted to institute a hefty tax on blank tapes, and I think the proposed heightened ratings would have made it higher. If you read Frank Zappa’s autobiography, he talks about this as a big concern, as he ran his own record label and that tax could’ve crippled him economically.

      He also hilariously wonders why Prince, “the motherfucker whose song started the whole thing,” didn’t speak up.

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    5. Joseph McCarthy was a hero and should have his face on our money.

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    6. He will have his face on OUR money.

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    7. And it will be a non fiat currency.

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    8. McCarthy was vindicated. If anything, we need a more pugilistic successor to McCarthy to purge the pedophile-commie-globalist swamp.

      Agree on the money thing, but we also need statues of the man, lots of them.

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  3. Jon Stewart had a big hand in this. The way he went on Crossfire to tell them off for "dividing" people on partisan issues when every single late night host today came from his writer room is impressive and something no one ever brings up. Daily Show snark, dishonesty, and smugness, are everywhere now while Crossfire's hard debate format has all but been forgotten over the years.

    No one gives him enough blame for this. you still hear plenty pleading for a return to the days of Jon Stewart apparently oblivious that he spearheaded everything currently going on, including the death of comedy.

    And when did that happen? Oh yeah, the '90s. Again.

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    1. Stewart made his career by confirming Gen X SWPL shitlibs in their smug unearned superiority during the Bush years. They tuned in every night to hear another sermon about how the moral arc of the universe tended leftward, they were on the right side of history, and the shiny progressive future was just around the corner.

      It was actually Obama who shattered the illusion. The typical Daily Show viewer really believed he'd expiate their collective white guilt and put paid to racial strife once and for all. Instead they got Ferguson, Chiraq, and assassinated police officers. In the final analysis, Obama may turn out to have done more for our side than Trump.

      That's why none of Stewart's would-be successors are funny. They know progress is a crock, even though they can't say it publicly. And when the money men demand that 40% of your act has to be "Orange man bad," even the most cynical performer chafes at those fetters.

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    2. I'd almost feel sorry for them if they didn't do it to themselves.

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    3. Jon Stewart . . . what a waste of comedic talent. He sold out to be one of the court jesters protecting the status quo. What a loser.

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    4. The really tragic part is that it wasn't even the most lucrative path. Stewart wasn't the highest paid comedian of the time. It was Jeff Foxworthy.

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    5. Truth. But narrative pushers gonna narrative push.

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    6. Stewart, or Stuart Leibovitz, has major daddy issues. His entire life and Schlick has been a big “f-u dad.” It’s why when I was a godless lefty sh*7heel I didn’t find the guy terribly funny, as I still had an intact relationship with my dad (my fam was the rare one in that it didn’t implode in divorce). Stuart is Gen X distilled (born in 1962 and I agree with Strauss and Howe’s dates), so he didn’t play to anything, he just took the easy route of being himself, and never trying to fix the brokenness inside. Just wanted to bitch and moan and get paid for it.

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  4. Happy New Year to all of my readers!

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  5. Check! Happy New Year to alla yous guyz!

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