Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And Martians Have Landed In New Jersey!

A sign of incurable geekiness – Most of what I find humorous these days is found in the pages and website of National Review. Writers Mark Steyn, (former “Cheers” screenwriter) Rob Long and Jonah Goldberg are consistently amusing. As is John Derbyshire’s “Radio Derb” on NR Online. Also funny are non NR contributors, conservative writers Bert Prelutsky and Ann Coulter (banished from NR for her post 9/11 comments suggesting conversion of all Muslims to Christianity). If I were a “cool” liberal, I’d be stuck listening to the likes of Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and their dreary dumb Bush jokes, another reason for my political tilt. [Actually, the funniest liberal these days is Joe Biden, though he doesn’t realize it. With luck, in 3 years, 9 months and 7 days, he’ll have retired from his present job and be doing his standup routine on MSNBC. Rob Long makes note of Joe’s buffoon-like status within the Obama administration here. http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=NDFjZDljNTExOTJiNjk4NTFhNWIxMGViODAzZGE5MGU=
But I digress].

What prompted me to write about funny stuff was a recent item in NR that struck me as hilarious. In a previous post (3/7) I made a brief mention of a piece by Rob Long in the March 9 issue of NR. (To be able to more fully appreciate the comedy of the situation, stop reading this and first read Long’s piece referenced below. Then come back here).
As a spoof, Long “excerpted” parts of the “stimulus” package, the actual thousand plus pages of which, written by House and Senate interns, went largely unread as it was rushed through Congress in one day. Long’s “excerpts” were very funny and obviously fake. So I was surprised to read the following letter appearing in the latest NR (4/20).

In the March 9 issue I read “The Long View,” by Rob Long, which consisted of excerpts from the unread parts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Was this a joke or a serious article? I was appalled at what I read and wanted to find out if I had been fooled. Would you please clarify this for me? When I called up the bill online to search for these parts I couldn’t find them, though it showed only 407 pages of the whole thing.

Appalled?! Who wouldn’t be? Congress enacts a bill and in its haste fails to note provisions to nullify interns’ student loans, give them new iPhones, legalize marijuana, force a woman to date an intern or be arrested, etc. etc. What an outrage!! I can just imagine this person (name, Pat), at his (or her) computer, angrily and feverishly searching the Congressional website, scouring through the 407 pages he/she could find.
I’d like to think that the letter writer just came across the issue in a doctor’s office. It’s hard to believe that a regular reader of NR would be unable to recognize such a clear example of satire. Or, maybe Pat is goofing on NR.
Long’s response to the letter writer is a model of forbearance for someone so hopelessly naive. My response would’ve been, “Are you effing serious?!”

I’m ashamed to say I made up those excerpts out of whole cloth. Entirely my own fancy and conjecture. The actual American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a lot funnier.

Here’s the link to Long’s original article

Since I'm on the topic of satire, I'll note the op-ed appearing in yesterday's WSJ written by Joe Queenan. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123958305263912309.html#mod=todays_us_opinion
Apparently the Obama administration's policy of substituting soothing euphemisms for confrontational rhetoric is being copied by others. For instance, the Taliban is now saying "cephalic attrition" instead of "beheading". Queenan provides several other examples.

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