Free State Project

Colbert Mocks Free State Spinoff 'Free Keene' for Being Obnoxious While Paying Parking Meters


About half a year after the New York Times did, the Colbert Report on Comedy Central attack the folk of "Free Keene" (a one-town offshoot of sorts of New Hampshire's wider Free State Project, though I'm sure FSP folk are quite glad that this segment doesn't mention the larger project specifically).

It's a typical Colbert punchdown against anyone of a perceived lower social status than their audience who dares have opinions outside their pat-themselves-on-the-back herd.

It includes editing the footage in ways deliberately intended to make it seem as if their subjects are at best amiable goofballs without professional soundbite media training and with mockable appearance (one Free Keener is called by them "the Afrochist" for calling himself an anarchist while sporting an impressively huge 'fro) and at worst are literally shooting themselves in the foot, as an added sound effect to a shot of Free Keener Chris Cantwell putting his gun on his belt wackily implies he did that in front of a camera.

To boot, hardly anyone watches Free Keeners YouTube videos! Neeeeeeerrrrrrdddddsssss!!!

While mocking the notion of "iron fists of authority" in Keene with portentous editing and sound effects, the Colbert team focus on the most newsworthy element of the Free Keeners: their practice of paying parking meters before they expire to deny the city ticket revenue, and filming and harassing parking enforcement officers while doing so.

The voiceover asks, "Why doesn't anyone stop them?" Colbert's comic-news editors don't deign to mention that in fact the city hired a private investigator to harass the Free Keeners, and twice tried to sue them, over their acts of bothering meter maids. (They get an Iraq vet who quit his job as a parking enforcer over being bugged by Free Keeners to say that it was a really tough question as to which gig was worse.)

Colbert's people conclude that the Free Keeners are "huge douchebags." As I wrote about The New York Times, but it applies to Colbert as well:

To the Times' mentality, filming or speaking to people with the legal power to fine and arrest is far more declasse and objectionable than fining and arresting over what you drink, smoke, or how long a car is parked.

The Free Keene website took it well—better than I'm taking it!—commenting that "It took months for the Colbert Report to air the footage they shot back in June, but it was worth the wait. As expected, they skewered us pretty well! Here's the hilarious report on Robin Hood of Keene & Free Keene that aired last night on Colbert."

And heeeeeere's Colbert:

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  1. It’s a typical Colbert punchdown against anyone of a perceived lower social status than their audience who dares have opinions outside their pat-themselves-on-the-back herd.

    This is the best sentence you’ve ever written, Doherty.

    1. It really is. Way to go Brian.

      1. Indeed a great sentence. Too bad it was wasted on these guys.

        Did anyone here watch the video? These guys are fucking terrible. They’re walking around a small town harassing what may be the least harmful bureaucrats in the USA.

        Can anyone point me to a thoughtful libertarian who thinks public parking spaces should be unpriced?

        FWIW, I would 100% support what they were doing if they left the parking attendants alone. Imagine this in a larger city that relies heavily on parking ticket revenue.

        1. theres really not much too do in new hampshire

  2. Kinda lonely in here. Is everybody pregaming for Obama’s speech?

    1. Why should I get wasted before an Obama speech when all his speeches are verbal chloroform? I’ll I’ve got to do is breathe deep while that fucker’s talking and I’ll be flying high.

    2. Anyone who watches his speech is either a masochist, a retard, or both. Since I’m not a masochist and only an idiot, I won’t go near it with a 10 foot pole.

  3. It’s a typical Colbert punchdown against anyone of a perceived lower social status than their audience who dares have opinions outside their pat-themselves-on-the-back herd.

    Love this line.

    Also, the best thing to come out of Free Keene is Stop Free Keane, which really must be just a who’s-who of busybodies.

  4. Is there a point where “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” becomes a NAP violation?

    1. What are you on about?

  5. Obnoxious douchebag is obnoxious.

    What else is new?

  6. So when Reason punches down on so cons its differnt because both socons and libetarians are both low status?

    1. DRINK!

    2. No, just you. Being low status, that is. How does that feel? Don’t answer that, I really don’t care.

      1. Little does he know that I’ve hacked his webcam. Want to see the livestream?

        1. Didn’t I say I didn’t care?!?

      2. Guys when I perfectly hit a nerve at least pretend to not flinch. You make it too easy with your awkward nerd responses. Don’t punch down but also don’t put too far up it’s really prole and desperate.

  7. To boot, hardly anyone watches Free Keeners YouTube videos! Neeeeeeerrrrrrdddddsssss!!!

    And yet their activism has gotten them press nationally including the NYT and the Colbert Report. Seems like they are doing fine getting the message out.

  8. Any publicity is good publicity.

  9. Colbert is an unfunny asshat? Who knew?

  10. What a coward. Colbert spends his entire life sucking the cock of the the rich and powerful but is happy to pick on a bunch of average people trying to fight various local tyrants. What an ass clown

  11. Colbert–who used to be an extremely funny guy on Strangers With Candy and Exit 57–has devolved into the worst bien pensant “comedian” possible. It’s disturbing to see that much of a transformation. Jon Stewart was never funny, so what he became is no surprise, but Colbert actually used to make fun of authority and shit.

    But it’s the audience of trained seals that’s really the worst. At least Colbert is laughing all the way to the bank. His functionally retarded audience has no such excuse. They’re so stupid that making fun of people resisting authority is what entertains them. They are truly an example of “bread and circuses” taken to the nth degree: they are happy to be distracted by simple buy-offs, and will even applaud making fun of those who aren’t.

      1. Everything you post is comedy gold of the idiocy of leftists.

    1. I always thought Colbert should have flipped his act to being an Obamabot after the 08 election. Once Obama won he was no longer making fun of authority he was just doing government propaganda. Sure the doichebags in the audience would have hated it but new people would have watched.

      1. That is exactly what I would have expected the old Colbert to do. But I suppose I can’t blame him for seeing a gravy train and not wanting to fuck it up by completely reinventing his act. It would have been hilarious for him to do some kind of switch to a Rachael Maddow/Ed Schultz clone, though. What a missed opportunity.

        1. If he did that in 2009 he would have been called racist up the wazoo and cancelled faster than you can say Macaca.

      2. Colbert is a satire of a conservative blowhard like yourself and Bill O’Reilly you fool. He has to stay in character.

        1. Wow are you fucking stupid.

        2. PB, that’s a common misconception, so I can’t blame you for being misinformed, but I will challenge you to reexamine your assumptions.

          As I understand it, Colbert is not actualy a satire, he is a person who plays a character. (Or “actor” for short).

          Now, “actors” can play different “characters,” and they can write these “characters” in different ways.

          Colbert easily could have written his character to flip – it would have been pretty funny. (Or he could create an evil twin who was a satire of Ed Shultz et al – IMHO, he’d gain a lot of credibility for skewering both sides.)

          Some problem with a one note O’Reilly caricature is (1) his audience shifts over time, until he’s trapped by his demographic and can’t do satire that challenges his audience much; (2) he loses credibility with people in the middle or right as he gets one note.

          Stewart is better at this – every so often, he beats up on some dumb lefty decision by Obama, which increases both his range and credibility, but Colbert is getting progressively more locked into a position where he can only criticize lefties for not being sufficiently far left.

          Now if Colbert is soley entertainment – if he’s basically the Jerky Boys, making fun of people for liberals’ entertainment – then I guess he’s on track for that, but if he’s shooting for actual relevance, he could do better.

      3. That’s what he says he’ll do when he takes over the Letterman show. At least then he’ll be speaking in his own true voice, so we can start throwing rotten tomatoes back at him. Bring it on!!

        1. And when the ratings crash because he’s never been successful in comedy as himself, he’s going to switch back to doing his current act. Which will not play with the CBS late night crowd.

          It’s going to be sad to watch, too bad I won’t be.

    2. He’s made a career out of sarcastic mimicry and strawmanning. Which is the easiest and stupidest form of comedy. There’s no reason to believe he can be successful doing any other kind of comedy.

  12. Colbert certainly succeeded in making the Robin Hooders look like total morons and assholes. If this was the first impression a person got of them, then that person would likely think lowly of them no matter what they saw after that. Sometimes there is such a thing as bad publicity and these boys got a heaping helping of it.

  13. my friend’s mother makes $64 /hr on the internet . She has been out of work for ten months but last month her income was $18244 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to website….


  14. Colbert didn’t make those idiots look like douchebags, they did that all by themselves. What a huge difference in reading about those people and seeing for yourself what they are all about. In theory the whole thing seems pretty cool. When you see what asses they are, not so much. They are to Libertarians what the jerks with military rifles on slings walking around a grocery store are to the sensible part of the pro 2nd Amendment crowd.

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