Television

On Trevor Noah, Lena Dunham, and Offensive Comedy—Stop Politicizing Everything

Hyper-partisan cultural commentators are on auto-pilot.

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Ever since South African comic Trevor Noah—a relative unknown to American audiences—was named as Jon Stewart's replacement on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, hyper-partisan cultural commentators have been on auto-pilot.

Yesterday, Noah was a young, biracial, presumably progressive hero who was expected to bash conservatives in the manner befitting a Daily Show host. None jumped the gun as excitedly as Salon's Sonia Saraiya:

Unfortunately for a hopeless partisan like Saraiya, her prediction proved incorrect—it was the left that turned on Noah first, and with stunning speed. Mere hours after the above article went live, journalists unfamiliar with Noah began investigating his past Twitter statements. What they discovered was outrageous and shocking: Noah, a comedian, had made some insensitive jokes about Jewish people and women.

Cue the firing squad!

Vox: "The line between funny and offensive is thin. Trevor Noah is on the wrong side."

MSNBC: "New 'Daily Show' host has a history of offensive tweets."

Slate: "The Problem Isn't That Trevor Noah Is Offensive. The Problem Is That He's a Giant Dope." (Note the URL, "offensive-yes-but-also.")

And astonishingly, Salon itself: "Did Trevor Noah's Twitter history just kill 'The Daily Show'?"

A couple things. First, Bloomberg's Dave Weigel (formerly of Reason) astutely observes that the left might have difficulty tolerating a politically incorrect comedian at the helm of The Daily Show, since the show itself has come to be something of an affirmation of progressive politics:

In another era, like when Stewart took over TDS, a couple of clunkers about race and gender would have been just that—clunkers. The audience groans, the show moves on. But the show plays a larger role in progressive life and thought than anyone could have expected when Stewart took the job. Just a year ago, Stephen Colbert's show spent days fending off a charge of racism for a joke about Washington Redskins host Dan Snyder that imagined Colbert setting up his own offensively named pro-Asian foundation.

"The guises of 'satire,' 'irony,' and 'humor' are not shields of armor against criticism," wrote Suey Park, a Twitter critic who parlayed the success of a #CancelColbert hashtag into a guest column for Time magazine. "These white liberals are not mad that we pointed out racism, they are mad that they now have to consider the ways in which they may be racist."

Implicit in that analysis: The elevated status of The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, meant that they needed to enrich their viewers as well as entertaining them.

Second, it's important to remember that despite the popular persona of the average American as an avatar of offensiveness and incivility, international humor can be every bit as lowbrow as our own. It looks like some left-leaning early trumpeters of Noah merely assumed they would be getting another John Oliver. Foreign? Intelligent? Biracial? Great! He will surely parrot everything we already think!

Third, good comedy is often offensive, but not all offensive comedy is good. I don't really think Noah's tweets were hilarious, but I hardly think they should disqualify him from a job as a comedian four years after he made them. If his comedy hasn't gotten any better, that will be one thing. Merely giving offense is quite another.

The same is true of this incredibly bizarre Lena Dunham piece in The New Yorker, "Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz." Conservative critics of Dunham were quick to denounce her for anti-Semitism. Now, many of these same critics would have fallen over themselves to defend the piece and bemoan the tyranny of political correctness had the author been someone they don't despise and the target of the joke been different. That's because all too many people view modern culture as a battle between two teams that requires absolute fealty to one side or the other. A Lena Dunham thing? She's on the other side, so I'm against it. This thinking infects every subject. Trevor Noah seems like someone Team B will hate, so because I am on Team A, I like him. Wait, he insulted women? Nevermind, he must be a Team B-er.

A far better approach—a casually libertarian approach, one might say—is to evaluate things on their individual merits, rather than on how well they confirm our own biases or infuriate our enemies.

This is difficult, but it can be done. I'll show you how:

Lena Dunham's politics are noxiously pro-Obama; that said, her HBO show, Girls, is a nuanced exploration of the dreams and nightmares of the millennial generation. Dunham is a great writer and actress. Her New Yorker piece really sucked, though; it wasn't funny at all. And she likely fabricated details of her autobiography; despite what she claimed, her rapist was definitely not a Republican activist.

I don't know much about Trevor Noah. Reserving judgment until I see him host The Daily Show.

Those are just my opinions. What are yours?

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  1. He that lives by Kulturkampf shall die by Kulturkampf. I’ll just enjoy the big slice of scahdenfreude as progressives eat their own.

    1. Only if there is schnitzel and spaetzle.

      1. I will also attend for free schnitzel and spaetzle. I prefer my schnitzel with a paprike cream sauce and I politely request that a litre of maibock or dunkelweiss be served alongside.

        1. You know who else liked their schnitzel with a paprike cream sauce?

          1. The German military officers behind Operation Valkyrie?

        2. *nodding aggressively*

        3. I adore schnitzel! Can there be pickled herring also? Nothing like some juicy, pungent pickled herring.

          1. OK, Opus.

          2. Without fail, for my birthday, I receive three or four different kinds of preserved fish from various family members.

      2. I’ll have a double helping of sp?tzle, thanks.

      3. No thank you, 15 is my limit on schnitzel and spaetzle.

          1. THERE ARE NO GOOD WHITE BASKETBALL PLAYERS

            1. That’s because basketball is bad.

            2. “In women’s tennis, I always root against the heterosexual.”

              1. I could get into watching international warfare, except they don’t have sexy cheerleaders, so I don’t bother.

                1. Wait, let me strengthen that up a bit… I am frightened to death of the idea that one of these days, while the bombs are dropping, Emperor Obozo and / or the various assorted Emperor Candidates for the next zoo… Oooops, I mean elections… Will don cheerleader outfits and pom-poms! … You have heard of morbid fear of clowns, yes? This is my version!

    2. Leftists were pissed off at Jonathan Chait’s article “Not a Very PC Thing to Say” and yet they keep proving him right, over and over again.

      http://nymag.com/daily/intelli…..o-say.html

    3. Seems to be the only way of keeping the infestation under control.

  2. Being offensive is perfectly acceptable to leftists, providing you go after the right people. Principles shminciples.

    1. “The line between funny and offensive is thin.” Not only is it thin, it’s corrugated. People make their sense of outrage into a minefield, ready to blow up at the slightest misstep.

    2. I suppose South Park sends them into apoplectic spasms. The Coon, ManBearPig, Fuck you whale and fuck you dolphin, Smug Alert, etc

      1. “I suppose South Park sends them into apoplectic spasms.”

        It’s worse than that; for many years, people on the Left were SURE South Park was on their side. Hey, they made That’s My Bush!, right? But then Matt & Trey had to go and sound off when Michael Moore twisted their words and created that SP-ish cartoon in Bowling for Columbine to try and make it look like they were in agreement with him.
        Then they committed the ultimate sin: they made Team America and they had the audacity to spoof ALL sides, and didn’t just make a movie that called Bush a terrorist for 90 minutes. faced with this betrayal, the Left did the only thing they could: invent the term “South Park Republicans” and spend the next decade bitching and whining about how far right and neocon the show went.

    3. But if you’re going after the right people, it’s no longer offensive.

  3. “First, Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel (formerly of Reason) astutely observes”

    Stop right there. Not really…

    As for Noah, who cares? Not my show, I don’t watch it and could not possibly care less. The hive-minded progs just want some reinforcement and extra padding on their TV cocoon, let them scratch up a host for the network or, if they don’t like him, don’t watch.

    1. Yep, I stopped reading there as well.

      1. “The elevated status of The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, meant that they needed to enrich their viewers as well as entertaining them.”

        Dave “R.F.” Wigel remains as grammatically-challenged as ever.

    2. Given how the Daily Show has evolved, with less humor and more OtherTeamBashing, I figured only Keith Olbermann would have been an acceptable choice to replace Stewart.

      1. That’s probably too low for even them.

      2. It has evolved, i used to watch Stewart, used to be funny some valid points, than a few years ago a really wierd turn was taken, and he was angry more than funny, than completly cynical, than a complete ass.
        But i imagine having too much knowledge about how screwed up our govt is could make one a cynical ass.
        Not defending him, just saying, Knowledge is power, with power comes resposibility, and really, who wants that?

        1. Exactly. The show moved away from comedy and became more agenda-driven. They should have gotten Norm MacDonald to host.

    3. Dave Weigel astutely observes

      Jumbo shrimp?
      Honest politician?
      Sober Wisconsinite?
      Funny prog comedian?

  4. “Implicit in that analysis: The elevated status of The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, meant that they needed to enrich their viewers as well as entertaining them.”

    In this case, ‘enrich their viewers’ means ‘coddle them, soothe their egos, and indulge their petty bigotries without saying anything that might make them question their preconceptions.’

    This reminds me of Jon Gabriel’s article where he attended a symposium on ‘Progressive Humor’ and one of the people there actually said “what makes Jon Stewart brilliant is that he only has to say the first line and the audience starts laughing because they already know the punchline.”

    You cannot parody these people. They are almost beneath humor.

    1. God forbid that they challenge their viewers. If news or quasi-news did that more, maybe we wouldn’t have such idiotic views on reality.

      1. Then they would have no viewers.

        Lefties do not want to be or like being challenged, so they gravitate towards media that does not challenge them in the least.

        This is why TDS has done so well, not that it was insightful or funny or good, but that it did not challenge it’s viewers. There are other shows that are funny, good and insightful, but they were passed on by this audience.

        1. The left is out of ideas apart from redistributing wealth, identity politics, and other less popular ideas that center around making as many people miserable as possible. For the forseeable future, their high water mark ends with the Obama administration. Of course that doesn’t mean the country won’t continue to decline if a republican manages to win the presidency again. It isn’t just liberals who are on autopilot towards destruction.

        2. “Lefties do not want to be or like being challenged, so they gravitate towards media that does not challenge them in the least.

          This is why TDS has done so well, not that it was insightful or funny or good, but that it did not challenge it’s viewers. There are other shows that are funny, good and insightful, but they were passed on by this audience.”

          Surely part of it’s success would be due to high minded conservatives like you, who gravitate towards media that completely challenges them.

          1. TDS isn’t challenging anyones ideas, they would have to make a relevant point or coherent thought to challenge anyone, its just a mish mash of partisan bashing and unbearably bad jokes like they wanted to be The Onion but couldnt be funny so they just decided to carve a niche audience out of progs since they’re the most gullible and easily entertained so long as the right people are being mocked and ridiculed because every prog really has violent fantasies but is too much of a beta male pussy to actually engage in violence themselves so they vicariously live through their Alpha-beta males like barry o, john stewart, andy cuomo, gloomanddoomberg and so on.
            that said, Libertarian is not conservative its libertarian its freedom from social conservatism being made into law. we do not believe in government coerced behavior, we do not believe that the government should intervene in anyway to force a social conservatism onto others. the closest Libertarianism comes to conservatism is economics, because we believe in free market capitalism and they like to pretend they do. So, please go back to your hivemind and inform it that Libertarians are not conservatives, most of us actually HATE conservatives but Progressivism is such a deadly and dangerous philosophy that we choose to ally with them to protect ourselves from the brutal violent psychotic philosophy of progressivism.

      2. “God forbid that they challenge their viewers.”

        This is the Daily Show we’re talking about. They ring the bell, and the dogs at home salivate. That’s it.

    2. the audience starts laughing because they already know the punchline

      Because the punchline is always “Bush”?

      1. *bursts out laughing*

        1. They don’t even really laugh. They start whooping and spastically applauding.

          Maybe they need to get with the times, though, and eschew all that scary clapping in favor of safe, non-threatening jazz hands.

          1. Your spirit fingers are causing me anxiety. I demand that you instead quietly snap your fingers like ’50s beatniks.

  5. Those are just my opinions. What are yours?

    That I hope both sides utterly destroy each other in a glorious orgy of Kulturkampf violence?

    1. Some men just want to watch the world derp.

      1. We derped the forest down.

    2. I’ll bring the popcorn.

    3. It’s never worked that way.

  6. a Twitter critic

    Stop. Just fucking stop.

    1. I think Twitter is a vast waste of time and anathema to intelligent dialogue. Do I get a Time column now?

      1. First you need to make a stink and defend an Official Victim Group from a joke most of them never heard, and few would care about.

        1. It’s OVG vs. OWGB all the way down

  7. “””And she likely fabricated details of her autobiography; despite what she claimed, her rapist was definitely not a Republican activist.”””

    Her rapist also wasn’t a rapist and may not have even existed in any form, but that aspect tends to get left out of this story.

    1. You didn’t get the memo. A man who respects a woman’s “no” is still a rapist, for putting her in the position of saying no.

      1. Plus, if a woman completely makes up a man in order to sell books based on controversy, who are we to say that the invented man isn’t a rapist?

        After all, the woman invented the character, so surely she should be allowed to decide if he’s a rapist or not.

        You wouldn’t tell me my imaginary friend can’t be a fighter pilot, so why would you tell Lena Dunham that hers can’t be a sex offender?

        1. My imaginary friend is an obnoxious lamb who hurts my self esteem with constant criticism.

        2. Yeah. If the guy is made up, he’s definitely a rapist.

          1. +1 Grab its motherfucking leg!!!!

    2. Plus, Lena Dunham is a rapist.

  8. I don’t know much about Trevor Noah. Reserving judgment until I see him host The Daily Show.

    The problem with Noah isn’t that he’s possibly anti-Semitic and sexist, it’s that he’s just not funny. Or to put it another way:

    Seinfeld: I think he (Tim Watley) convereted to Judaism solely for the jokes!

    Priest: And this offends you as a Jewish person.

    Seinfeld: No, it offends me as a comedian!

    Combine that with his obvious ignorance about what most Americans in flyover country are actually like and you’ll get a show hosted by some smug douchebag with a funny accident that takes gratuitous shots at people in Indiana or Kansas most of the time.

    1. I want my label-maker back.

    2. That Seinfeld quote is dead-on here.

      1. Yeah but he was an anti-dentite.

        1. A rabid anti-dentite!

    3. I’ve been watching Seinfeld lately (never watched it when it originally aired) and what strikes me is how politically incorrect we could be on TV 20 years ago.

      1. It still holds up, too, even though 90% of the plots were driven by situations that cellphones made obsolete.

        1. You know, I’ve never understood that criticism. Isn’t it also true of 90% of everything written before cellphones? Would Romeo and Juliet have ended up dead if they could have exchanged a few text messages?

          1. Romeo and Juliet with texts would be a bloodbath.

            1. Juliet’s parents find her phone and read her texts.

              Lord Capulet reports it to the Veronese authorities and Romeo is arrested as pedophile for exchange suggestive texts to an underage girl and spends the rest of his life on a sex offender registry.

            2. Juliet’s parents find her phone and read her texts.

              Lord Capulet reports it to the Veronese authorities and Romeo is arrested as pedophile for exchange suggestive texts to an underage girl and spends the rest of his life on a sex offender registry.

          2. It’s kind of like how peace has broken out in the middle east during the arab spring due to twitter.

      2. Go back and watch The Simpsons, lots and lots of gay jokes. And I mean the classic Simpsons from 2001 and earlier. Not whatever the last 15 years has been.

        1. One of the all-time great quotes ever:

          “Top of the morning to ye on this gray, grizzly afternoon. Kent O’Brockman live on Main Street, where today everyone is a little bit Irish, except, of course, for the gays and the Italians.”

          Kent Brockman.

        2. ZAP!

          ZZZZZZZZAP!

    4. Yeah, I tried to watch his special on Showtime (African American I think). It just wasn’t funny. I made it maybe 20 minutes (halfway or so), but I just didn’t see the point in continuing. Maybe he had some huge mega-awesome finish, but none of his hackneyed retread 40 year-old jokes got even a smirk out of me.

      And that reminds me, he’s a fucking joke thief. A solid 10 minutes of his act was nearly word-for-word a Cosby bit.

    5. …”you’ll get a show hosted by some smug douchebag with a funny accident that takes gratuitous shots at people in Indiana or Kansas most of the time.”

      So what your saying is, he’ll make the perfect host for The Daily Show.

    6. Jon Stewart wasn’t funny either, but inexplicably he remained popular. People don’t watch the Daily Show for humor.

      My prediction is the show will go on just fine. Because there’s really not much the guy has to do. He just has to generate enough lube for the circle jerk.

  9. A far better approach?a casually libertarian approach, one might say?is to evaluate things on their individual merits

    This kind of thinking will get you accused of harboring all sorts of mean thoughts.

    1. DOGS & CATS! LIVING TOGETHER!

      1. It’s out of my hands.

  10. Remember back in the 90s when The Daily Show’s co-creator Lizz Winstead quit the show cuz fellow co-creator Craig Kilborn made sexist jokes/remarks/quips?

    1. Before the show became political, I stopped watching because I thought it was dramatically inferior with Stewart to the Kilborn show.

      1. The Kilborn years were hilarious and a completely different animal.

        1. I really liked that show.

          1. THAT was the Daily Show.

            Stewarts’ was just a show.

        2. With Kilborn it was a comedy show that mocked the news. With Stewart it was a news show that mocked society.

    2. Thereby helping to reaffirm the stereotype of women as frail and weak and incapable of taking a joke. Love when they do that.

    1. I would watch the shit out of a Jimmy Carr Daily Show.

      That would actually be amazing because he’d shit on everyone.

      1. Watch the “shit out of”?? That sounds pretty rapey to me.

      2. His banter with the audience is great.

    2. Can’t Joan Rivers make a comeback?

      1. Not any more than Richard Pryor can, sadly.

  11. My opini9n? I don’t give a Fuck.

  12. Saraiya is functionally retarded.

    Noah is also a man of color?a literal product of apartheid, as his mother was black and his father was white, an illegal union at the time in South Africa. It’s this, ultimately, that is going to get the most attention. Praise, from those of us excited to see any club of all-white all-men rendered extinct, whether that’s late-night television or, you know, the presidency. But criticism, too: The tenor of conservative criticism of “The Daily Show” is about to get very, very ugly. This country spent years embroiled in a debate over whether an American citizen who became the president was “really” American; what are we going to do to Trevor Noah?

    Because some people were obsessed with whether the POTUS was born in the US, they’re going to go nuts because a TV comic is an illegally conceived South African mulatto. Got that?

    1. Sonia Saraiya is really stupid and vapid. She has no real talent, and she is perfect for Salon. She used to write for the AVClub, and even the commenters there would give her shit for over-politicizing everything and twisting everything to fit her victim complex.

    2. “Praise, from those of us excited to see any club of all-white all-men rendered extinct, whether that’s late-night television or, you know, the presidency.”

      No qualitative values or lack thereof, no showing that said groups have acted in a harmful manner, just simply that any group made up exclusively of whites or of men must be “rendered extinct.”

      1. You know who else said that a group must be rendered extinct?

      2. Yeah, I was gonna say, rhetoric doesn’t get much more genocidal than that. I doubt whether they’re so bold even at stormfront.

    3. This country spent years embroiled in a debate over whether an American citizen who became the president was “really” American;

      I don’t recall the “country” being “embroiled” in any such debate.

      I recall the occasional fringey sorts making the sorts of claims they make.

      And I recall the President producing an obviously doctored copy of a birth certificate. Why it was doctored, I have no clue.

      And that’s about what I recall. A long way from a country embroiled in a debate.

      1. Honestly if I had to guess (provide stats if I’m wrong) 9/11 truthers are probably more common than birthers.

        1. I’ve seen more people who think the moon landing was faked than people who think Obama is an immigrant. And really that guy I saw who questioned Obama’s birth seemed more to be trying to generate publicity to sell some celebrity apprentice show he was doing.

          As far as I can tell, birthers is and always has been a manufactured conspiracy. Wait, does that make me a meta-conspiracy theoriest?

      2. And, as I remember, one of their own was among those questioning whether Obama was “really” American. As I remember, supporters of HRC were among those passing missives about whether he was really born in America. That will, of course, be lost on Sonia and her ilk.

    4. And that debate was courtesy of Hilary.

    5. My favorite Saraiya moment was when she complained about Ayn Rand’s beliefs, while admitting she hadn’t read them. Like every other prog.

    6. What’s especially hilarious about this line of thinking is, much like with the case of Obama, he’s still part white debil AND a man. So please explain to me how that in any way renders the all-white all-men club extinct?

    7. “This country spent years embroiled in a debate over whether an American citizen who became the president was “really” American”

      The fact that the “debate” she refers to was created by the Hillary Clinton campaign team to smear Obama out of the primaries need not be discussed.

  13. Those are just my opinions. What are yours?

    That you should stop citing Dave Weigel in your articles?

    I’m also of the opinion that Mega Man 2 remains one of the best platformers of all time.

    1. “one of the” best?

      Now I’m going to have to load up the old emulator and play through that game again. And then Mega Man 3.

      1. And then listen to the first two Protomen albums back to back.

    2. “Mega Man 2” Fuck yes.

    3. No true gamer would discount the original Metroid

    4. Yeeeeeeeessssssssssss!!!!!!!1111one

  14. I don’t really think Noah’s tweets were hilarious, but I hardly think they should disqualify him from a job as a comedian four years after he made them.

    Not being funny shouldn’t disqualify him from a job as a comedian? What?

    It’s not that he’s not funny because he’s offensive. Some of my favorite comedians are incredibly offensive by, you know, common standards or whatever (e.g. Doug Stanhope). Trevor Noah is just vapid. As far as I can tell, not only does he say nothing original, he doesn’t even parrot anything original. I can’t even appreciate him ironically.

    1. Too bad Sam is gone. He’d be fucking perfect.

    2. Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!

      The atrocious spelling and grammar aside, that’s barely a joke. That’s what is primarily offensive about it. The banal racism just adds a little extra flavor.

      That’s the kind of comment I’d expect to hear from a friend of a friend that I meet at a bar, and then I spend the rest of the night exchanging uncomfortable looks with other people every time he opens his mouth.

      Girls with a big ass are like cars without power steering. Great feedback but you need to work hard to keep control.

      What does that even mean? Keep control in what context? Feedback? Is this about sex, I guess? Do big-ass girls move around unpredictably or something?

      1. Yes. They. Do.

      2. I wouldn’t call the first tweet banal racism. It’s a standard “Nazis and Jews” joke. What confuses me is the “but.” Would he have been OK with running the kid over for crossing without looking, eif he was not in a German car?

        The joke should be something about how he feels even worse for doing it in a German car, or the German car made him do it, or he’s surprised the German car stopped in time. Something along those lines. The punchline he has is sloppy and non-sensical.

      3. Neither of those jokes are racist or sexist in the least. I’m convinced this scandal was purely manufactured by some shit-for-brains self-styled journalist(s) as a means to boost their careers.

        No doubt, this Noah guy will summarily apologize, and the tone will be set for his tenure at the Daily Show: watching over his shoulder nervously after every word to make sure he’s getting the nod from the thought police.

    3. I remember Stanhope once randomly described an old woman’s vagina as ‘looking like a dead hog I kicked some holes into.’ Christ I couldn’t stop laughing.

      1. Eww that’s awesome.

      2. Stanhope’s routine about his mother’s suicide is amazing.

        1. Oh my god, that was some rough chuckles. “Mom! Wake up! The doctor called, they found a cure!”

      3. Stanhope does love to plumb the depths of good taste. His reason why him and his ex-wife had an abortion, for example.

    4. “Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” – fat chicks everywhere

      That is some real comedic insight. I never looked at it that way before!

      1. To be fair I don’t expect comedians to throw their A game onto twitter, but from what little I’ve seen of Noah he doesn’t really seem to have an A game.

    5. not only does he say nothing original, he doesn’t even parrot anything original.

      So he’s just another incarnation of Jon Stewart then.

  15. her HBO show, Girls, is a nuanced exploration of the dreams and nightmares of the millennial generation.

    Having only watched two episodes of Girls on the suggestion of a friend, I pretty quickly came to the conclusion that the writer was mocking the innate, overemotional childishness and vapid nihilistic self-gratification of the worst of my generation. Then I found out who Lena Dunham was and realized it’s a probably meant to be either a celebration or a treatment of it as a serious problem.

    1. I watched about 5 minutes of that show.

      I was done. Jeebus, what a waste of brain cells. Unless I caught the worst 5 minutes of the entire run, I don’t see how it could possibly be a nuanced exploration of anything.

      1. I agree. People whose opinion I respect swear up and down to me that it’s actually a very witty show and that it’s totally a satire of its very vapid, detestable characters. I’ve watched it a couple of times, and I have to say, not seeing any of that at all. Is there anything on earth more tedious than a show about the problems of rich young white girls in New York City?

        1. A very smart friend of mine – from Boston – just told me the other day Obama’s foreign policy is ‘nuanced’ because the world was ‘nuanced.’

          1. It’s a vapid statement, but he’s not wrong. I hate to give Obama credit for what may just be dictated by geopolitical reality, but judged by the standards of many recent presidents it could be worse. He always gets shit on for not having some grand unifying transnational policy, but isn’t that a good thing? Just like libertarians celebrate a gridlocked congress, maybe it’s not bad to encourage an executive foreign policy that is feckless but less inclined to action.

            1. but less inclined to action.

              Too bad it isn’t that.

              Obama has been both feckless and inclined to action. I suppose you might consider action that is itself feckless a positive, but to me it just looks stupid.

              And if we are concerned about our “standing” in the Islamic world, supporting psychotic Islamists bent on creating a regressive and belligerent Caliphate just because they were opposed to a dictator who was nominally on our side is not a good way to go about that. And Obama has done that fucking twice.

              Inaction would be good, yes. That isn’t what is happening and if you genuinely think it is, you haven’t been paying attention.

              1. I count Libya as action, brief and shitty though the results may have been (kinda think it was destined to be shit in a tribal society w/ a power vacuum).

                Ramping up Afghanistan, certainly. Looks like we’re in for about 10 thousand troops for a while yet. It’s shitty stagnation, and we’re wasting a good bit of money on the ANA/ANP, but I can’t say honestly that the consequences have been disastrous.

                Drawing red lines and “ignoring” them in Syria, but for what it’s worth there aren’t large scale chemical attacks in the country. Mostly because large scale chemical attacks aren’t effective, but yea…

                I don’t think supporting protesters/rebels in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, etc (not Bahrain!) led to the Islamist ascendancy we see. Obama was not even close to the driving force behind this, and was in fact following trends in Egypt before finally giving up on our man Mubarak. Bloody crackdown was the only way to stop or radicalize the Arab spring, and I’m sure he would’ve much preferred a Tunisia situation (warts and all) to an Egypt. But US presidents don’t have a lot of influence beyond the ruling elite over there. Hardly Obama’s fault, I long windedly say…

                1. So the first three paragraphs is where you backpedal and sideways admit the analysis in your previous post was completely wrong.

                  And then there is this:

                  I don’t think supporting protesters/rebels in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, etc (not Bahrain!) led to the Islamist ascendancy we see.

                  Uhhh, sure dude, whatever you say.

                  The rebels in both Libya and Syria have significant militant Islamist factions and we armed both groups and provided air support for the Libyan groups. If you really think arming a group that has since coalesced as ISIS and al-Nusra in Syria and an al-Queda offshoot group in Libya had no effect on the Islamist ascendancy then (pardon me) your analysis is fucking garbage.

                  Support from both the US and Qatar is precisely what led to the creation of ISIS. You are either horrifically ignorant or you’re just being outright dishonest to cover Obama.

    2. I still don’t know if that’s meant to be a satire. It seems so much like a satire that it has to be, but Dunham appears to be living the exact sort of life the show is satirizing, so how can you tell?

      1. The ‘tell’ for me came when Dunham states that it’s based on her own life experiences. She’s been pampered and spoiled her entire life, she really thinks that the real world is that ‘unfair’ and that the ‘problems’ highlighted in the show are actually substantial and horrible things.

      2. I sat through 3 seasons of it, including watching the “Inside the Episode” bits where she explains the show.

        It’s not intended as satire.

        1. It’s a show made by a woman about women. It’s revolutionary! Like it!

    3. Girls, is a nuanced exploration of the dreams and nightmares of the millennial generation.

      Robby, seriously, if you think Girls is nuanced you are either illiterate or fucking stupid.

      1. Exactly.

  16. Funny how when I heard about this this morning on NPR they referred to it as a fake news show.

    I wonder if the fans know it’s fake news. Someone should tell them.

    1. The Daily Show’s tagline (shortly after Kilborn left, i believe) used to be “Where more Americans get their news than probably should.” Too bad they gave up that bit of self awareness.

      1. They also used to say “When news breaks, we fix it”

        The Kilborn show was much funnier.

        1. I loved the “When news breaks, we fix it” tagline. I think the show lost a lot of flavor when they abandoned it. As for Trevor Noah, I enjoyed his comedy special on (HBO I think?). Daily show watchers need to give the fella a chance, and non-DS-watchers – why should they care?

          1. I don’t care.

  17. Burn the Witch!

    what is this about?

  18. I thought that Dunham’s Dog or Jewish Boyfriend piece was funny. But I noticed the byline only after I finished reading it.

    1. Usually when I have a litany of grievances with my significant other, I tend to address them to said significant other to see if we can work through them. I don’t usually write a piece for the New Yorker with multiple bullet points bitching about my significant other and showing them to be a worthless piece of shit to the entire world. Of course, Lena Dunham’s bf already outed himself as a worthless piece of shit to the entire world when he started dating Lena Dunham.

      1. I read it as a piece of fiction since I had no idea that it was Lena Dunham. For all I know the author invented both the dog and her Jewish boyfriend.

      2. That is why you’re not a journalist, Sudden.

    2. I thought it was intermittently funny, but sub-standard by New Yorker standards. I think it got printed because of her name, and the “Jewish” in the title didn’t really add anything. They could have deleted that and the piece would have lost none of its humor, just been less likely to offend.

      1. Substandard by New Yorker Standards? Not sure what that even means. It was short on charlatanry?

        1. When you’re less funny than Andy Borowitz, you’re not doing well. To me, “New Yorker standards of humor” mean people like James Thurber and Roz Chast. Lena Dunham isn’t fit to shine their shoes.

  19. Why are we paying attention to Salon?

  20. My opinion is that you’re not funny, Robby.

    1. And he’s pro-rape, anti rape victim.

      1. You know who *really* likes rape victims?

        1. STEVE SMITH?

  21. Fuck the gate keeper of correct thinking. Every single fucking one of them.

  22. As for the bi-racial comedian who may or may not usher in a post-racial humor civilization on the heels of Obama’s post-racial harmonious unicorned utopia, all I’m gonna say is imagine if a white guy – say Episiarch should he have been a comedian – said something about blacks or a perpetually aggrieved group, how would people react?

    1. Only racial people get to live in post-racial America. The rest of us are to be racialized forever as punishment for the crimes of someone else’s ancestors.

  23. i don’t doubt this guy has put together a couple solid stand-up routines, but based on his tweets alone it’s obvious he’s not a sharp comedic wit. so he’ll be able to read the prepared pieces off the prompter, maybe replace Stewart’s deadpan stare and pencil tapping with a mischevious grin or something, and do OK. he’ll be a completely predictable hack with the interviews though.

    and he even seems likely to turn the partisanship up a notch. you can’t be as obsessed with race as this guy and not routinely deliver preening moral lectures, under the guise of comedy, about how white people and/or conservatives suck. and while Stewart was liberal, he didn’t openly cram it down your throat as a means of self-validation. Noah is already strutting his “progressivism” like a peacock – he won’t be as subtle about it as Stewart was since he’s not as talented. his defense mechanism against flop sweat will be to elicit partisan trained seal clapping instead of laughter.

    that, and really does seem to have some weird Jew hatred thing going on.

    1. i don’t doubt this guy has put together a couple solid stand-up routines

      I do doubt it, because I tried watching some. Did you?

      1. yeah, saw a couple last night. i’m happy to amend “solid” to be “not terrible” though. i chuckled at a couple points. keep in mind that, with this guy, “routine” means a 3-4 minute set like you’d see at an open mic night. i’m under no delusions that he could put together a 30 minute HBO special.

  24. One guy on this blog posted this comment then I quoted:
    “Are there any jokes that aren’t offensive? Because I’m pretty sure the phrase “unfunny, unquestionably offensive jokes” is close to an oxymoron.”

    As for Lena Dunham’s book. let’s wait for her next book titled “Not that kind of crook” with a preface from Kwame Kilpatrick. 😉

    1. I read that as ‘Not that kind of cock’.

  25. “And astonishingly, Salon itself”

    Sigh.

    Robby, if you think that those people constantly screaming “partisan wing-nuts!!” aren’t *projecting*, then you really don’t get it at all.

    There’s nothing to be “astonished” about.

    1. Soave’s not stupid or without insight. He’s “ironic.” Of course, in Soave’s world, “Ironic” means nothing more than “someone will find this stupid or perplexing,” and it has nothing to do with irony itself.

      I’m surprised Nick Gillespie found Soave at The Blade and thought he’d be a good addition here. Angry and victimized and White Knighting is not good stuff, Nickster. But then, Nickster, you’re not much of an original yourself.

      Kudos.

  26. I don’t think everything should be politicized either. But fuck this guy. This kind of bullshit will never stop until after a few Prog heroes are victimized by it. Letting this prick off the hook doesn’t sent the message that things shouldn’t be politicized. It just says “its okay when your team does it”.

  27. The issue isn’t that he made bad Jewish jokes per se, it’s that, as far as I can tell, a significant part of his ethnic humor is directed towards Jews. Which makes me question why a mixed race South African has a thing about Jews.

    1. You know who else had a thing about Jews…

      1. Mel Gibson?

      2. Wagner?

      3. Thutmose II?

    2. I’ve watched enough of his stand-up to know that Trevor Noah makes fun of every ethnic group in South Africa, and they do have a significant Jewish population there. I don’t see how you can call Jewish jokes a significant part of his humor, though. I can only recall hearing one or two.

    3. I think he himself is actually part Jewish. At least that’s what wikipedia says.

    4. Significant part? Like four tweets over 6 years?

    5. The Black side of his genetic background doesn’t like the White side. Who are the Whites in SA anyway? The “Dutch”? Who are the “Dutch”?

      If you dig with a toothpick you’ll never find anything. Try a shovel.

  28. These days it’s SJWs all the way down.

    I think I’ll go and have a drink.

  29. I actually think the reason those jokes come off as so racist is because they’re unfunny.

    When someone tells you a funny race joke you laugh at it and don’t think the guy’s a racist because he’s obviously joking. An unfunny race joke, though, invariably ends up appearing indistinguishable from a post on Stormfront.

    Example:

    “”””Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasico”””””””‘

    If this were funny you’d think ‘that’s a funny joke about Jewish people.’ Since it’s horribly unfunny, all you’re left thinking is ‘man, that guy sure does sound like he doesn’t like Jews.’

    1. That sums it up perfectly. You can call it a day, Irish!

  30. Dunham is a great writer and actress. …Those are just my opinions. What are yours?

    My opinion is that whoever wrote that doesn’t rule the night and wants cake.

  31. Try as I may, I can’t come up with any give a shit about this dude or hogatha.

  32. But the show plays a larger role in progressive life

    That’s the nut graf. The Left needs this show to be a shining oasis of sharp, snarky progressive politics. The host is the leader. He has to be perfect.

  33. It’s easy for liberals to think they’re always right about everything considering their political opponents are completely insane, but this is one area where I think liberals need to reexamine their approach. I like my comedy edgy. It’s hard to figure out what is an appropriate context. The Justin Bieber roast was full of racist jokes about black people by white people (including Martha Stewart). No outrage. Twitter is basically contextless, and should be judged accordingly. Humorlessness does not wear well on us.

    I am willing to accept that my whiteness and maleness are clouding my judgment. When some douche comic makes an offensive joke about fags it does piss me off a little.

    1. “It’s easy for liberals to think they’re always right about everything considering their political opponents are completely insane”

      You really consider Progressives your “Opponents”?

      1. Progressives are the enemies of actual liberals. Tony is probably placing himself on the wrong side of the line, however.

        1. Bah bah Beck sheep.

          1. This is how ‘sane’ people act?

      2. To be fair I think tony who is normally a stiff may be trying to bring humor into his life here. Just not very good at it yet.

        If not, it’s weird that someone would consider not wanting their life beholden to a central planner and live independently (not nannied) as insane. the central planning worship seems cultish

    2. ‘I am willing to accept that my whiteness and maleness are clouding my judgment.’

      I’m not.

      Largely because I don’t look at life this way. That is, constantly through the prism of race and labels.

      Jesus, that’s a sure way to living a miserable existence forever condemned to misread human nature.

      1. Jesus, that’s a sure way to living a miserable existence forever condemned to misread human nature.

        Tony in a nutshell.

      2. Perhaps it’s the constant projections that make being progressive so enticing. Racism is only able to exist if your worldview has race being a key part of your own identity.

      3. The point is you are unconscious of the privilege these characteristics give you.

        1. No. The point is we all see things through the totality of our human experience. That might include being white and male, or it might mean not reducing all humans to easily identifiable categories in the most vulgar way imaginable.

        2. I’m actually quite conscious of the fact that I’m going to die several years younger than if I were a woman, and a longer prison sentence if I commit a crime, and get reamed in family court if I ever make the mistake of trying to have a family. Yes, I am acutely aware of all that ‘privilege.’

          But if imputing collective guilt on others helps you assuage your conscience for whatever you have done as an individual, go ahead. Sure worked for the first generation of fascists, probably will serve as a nice catharsis for yours too.

          1. You’re demonstrating the phenomenon right now. You’re laser-focused on these couple of supposed detriments to being male, while taking all the privileges of being male for granted. It’s a blind spot everyone has, and it’s very difficult to overcome.

    3. Careful Tony, they will take away your card.

  34. Hey! Maybe the holocaust deniers at Reason and the Koch family can recycle fellow holocaust denier and liar, David Irving’s jokes about the holocaust for the enjoyment of the rest of the Rhomites here. That would be really funny, eh? Well… maybe not to decent, sane people, but Libertarians don’t qualify.

    Incidentally, my Trayvon Martin Lied celebrates those innocent victims (cough cough) such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown (snicker).

    “There’s no need to fear — Underzog is here!”

    1. You’re my favorite troll Underzog. You’re so fucking crazy that you’re actually entertaining, unlike some other people I could name.

    2. Speaking of pathetically unfunny….

    3. I think that just gave me cancer.

  35. “Weigel….astutely observes”

    What. The. Fuck.

    First, “Astonished” by Salon….

    now…..Weigel….. *astute*???

    someone get some pliers and a car battery…..

    1. Maybe part of the Reason contract is being nice to former writers.

      1. Only when they’re “Beloved

        You don’t get the B-word? You’re little people.

      2. You would think a mefia outlet devoted to free markets would have better negotiating skills than to let that happen.

    2. Weigel? Emblem of the era. Empty head, empty writing — but Nickster found him worth hiring?

      See Nickster for emptiness as well. Who you trollin’ for your ideas, Nickster? It ain’t your own noggin’s warehouse — it’s empty!

  36. (thanks to Dave Barry)

    An ancient Phoenician clay tablet contains the first recorded joke in history.

    “Did you hear the one about the Sumerian? He was very stupid.”

    “No, I had not heard that one.”

  37. “How many Scotsman does it take to have sex with a sheep? Rats, that was supposed to be the punch line.”

    1. The bartender says, “We don’t serve time travelers here.”

      A time traveler walks into a bar.

      1. That was a good one.

        1. How many lesbians does it take to change a lightbulb?

          Three — one does the actual changing while the other two make an independent documentary feature about it.

          1. i lul’d

  38. Fuck it. I give up. If people have lost their sense of humor to this extent, I don’t want to play anymore.

  39. What did the mathematician do when he got constipated?

    He worked it out with a pencil.

    1. Goddammit.

  40. I like offensive tweets. But I want my bashing-the-American-right-wing fake news show to be hosted by an actual American-born citizen. Otherwise, it’s just standard overseas-anti-Americanism.

    I want pure American hate, not foreign boilerplate. (chant)

    1. But look how OPEN they are that they are chose a South African comedian to host an American news show, it had everything to do with him being the best candidate, everything! Transparency and logical consistency are not the progressive media’s best traits, I have to say.

      1. All progressive hires are social signaling opportunities.

    2. Somewhere, there are dozens of D-List proggy “entertainers” muttering “He terk muh jerb.”

  41. A Lena Dunham thing? She’s on the other side, so I’m against it.

    Completely false.

    Lena Dunham is hate-worthy all on her own.

      1. Well, as long as they aren’t surrounded by water, no.

  42. Sounds like Sonia Saraiya really, really, really WANTS there to be a “very, very ugly” “right-wing backlash.” But that’s the type of person who hears these “dog whistles” that no one else can.

    1. Saraiya, like many (all?) Salon writers, fails to realize that the more fanatical that her fellow right-thinking group becomes, the more likely that they start attacking their own kind for not being pure enough. I would’ve thought that centuries of history would lead more of them to start thinking the same way, but obviously they didn’t pay much attention in their liberal arts studies to figure that out.

  43. I posted this in the A.M. links:

    I found Agile.

    http://coolopolis.blogspot.ca/…..-icon.html

  44. Start working from home! Great job for students, stay-at-home moms or anyone needing an extra income… You only need a computer and a reliable internet connection… Make $90 hourly and up to $12000 a month by following link at the bottom and signing up… You can have your first check by the end of this week…………….

    http://www.Jobsyelp.com

  45. I think that there’s room to say that a joke is tasteless without calling for the comedian to be thrown into the ninth circle of hell.

    1. You distinguish the “daily show” from the 9th circle of hell? I don’t. More power to him. May Satan (progressives) gnaw on his skull for eternity!

  46. I prefer to ignore all these leftist turds as much as possible.

  47. Let’s just remember what all this really is – monkeys throwing poo. There’s no substance to any of the criticisms of this guy. Sites like Salon& Slate are where libs go to throw their poo to applause and uncritical praise.

    1. There is no substance to the criticism?

      How about the ‘hands up don’t shoot’ lie from Fergonson? Noah was pushing that lie.

      1. But it was a ‘noble lie.’ Apparently leftists have started reading Leo Strauss.

    2. Salon, yes. Who got his start at Salon? One of Nicksters heroes, a true 21st Century con-man. The guy who fabricates stories, and uses sock puppets to defend his rep.

      You know who I mean here. Don’t you Nickster?

  48. According to Asimov, violence is the last refuge of the incompetent, but politics is the first.

  49. “THose are my opinions, what are yours?”
    Lena Dunham is a plump (and lousy) author who
    has a history of disgusting behavior that goes far beyond your sanitized
    description of plumpy.
    Her recent TV work has totally disintegrated. In other words you have
    put forth a totally false narrative, stretching to make your analogy wok.
    It don’t.

  50. I can’t see conservatives giving another conservative a free pass for telling a lie about being raped by somebody.

    You only see articles this when a liberal is being criticized.

  51. It cracks me up how people say Lena Dunham is a great artist. She’s boring. Her show is an obvious ripoff of Sex and The city, which was a bad show in its own right. She has literally does not think about anyting but sex, abortion and gay marriage.

    1. I think Kevin Williamson said it best about her show: “Girls represents a phenomenon distinctly of our time: the fantasy not worth having.”

  52. Noah isn’t going to have any credibility when he inevitably attacks Rush, Hannity, etc as mean, bigots, etc which is the whole point of the show.

  53. I watched a couple of his standup bits, and he’s a moderately funny guy. I’m curious to see whether the PC crowd are going to lynch a black man over his twitter history.

    -jcr

  54. ‘Evaluate things on their own merits”? Is that something like calling for a preemptive boycott against a state because someone somewhere in that state may (or may not) at some point in the undetermined future use ‘substantial religious burden’ as a defense for what they may or may not do then?

    Or do ‘libertarians’ just like breaking their arms patting themselves on the back?

  55. Any progressive preacher who dares to massage the pulpit at that glowing left-wing cathedral called the Daily Show will be forced to boil the majority of his sermons into sanitized flowery refrains which can then be drizzled like bee whispers into the dainty ears of the average Daily Show viewer.

    The exception to this angelic drizzling will, of course, be that ever so distinctive Daily Show wrath, fever-pitched and leveled squarely at the most unrepentant of political reprobates who crawl and writhe about the filthy cubicles and hallways at that den of sin called Fox News. Here the Daily Show socialist parishioner leaps from his or her pew screaming, “AMEN, BROTHER!” And then the tongues drop like fucking loose anvils and hammers… until the heaving preacher winds down momentarily and then settles back into his sugary groove of shoveling candy canes into left-wing ear canals.

    Scrub the screen. Repeat. Every single fucking day.

  56. Non-partisan openness? Hah! Keep hoping!

  57. It’s fun watching proggies melt down one of their own favorite shows.

  58. ” a Twitter critic who parlayed the success of a #CancelColbert hashtag into a guest column for Time magazine. ”
    Note that as a campaign to cancel Colbert it was a miserable failure. Colbert left the show only because the biggest gig in comedy was offered to him. As self-promoting for a talentless hack, yes it was a success.

  59. Most conservatives HATED Jon Stewart and his politics, even though the guy was white.

    Salon and Huffington Post are the worst. Stupid liberal outrage on the most asinine things ever. Joan Walsh once complained that it was unfair and racist to call Eliot Rogers as “white.”

    You shouldn’t be disturbed at something that mystifies you, but it happens when you read their click baiting articles.

    1. Stewart was white? Oy vey.

      1. Certainly looks white. Always thought it was odd how Jews can be white or not white depending on how people want to portray their victim status. Guess they’re lije Zimmerman.

  60. 2 things
    Wigel is a fucking moron and should never be quoted unless it is used in mockery of his existence
    Girls is lena dunhams whine fest about how life is soooo unfair for rich white girls
    Call them out on being vapid terrible excuses for humanity and stop playing nicey nice betamale pussy shit

  61. My ex-wife makes $75 every hour on the laptop . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay check was $18875 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Look At This. ???? http://www.jobsfish.com

  62. Just curious, will Soave be writing any other types of article for Reason, other than the stock “You’re not allowed to criticize, mock or point out hypocrisy in people who do the same thing to everyone else endlessly, cuz FREE SPEECH!” bullshit?

    1. Why not? The Nickster needs a ghostwriter for the Nickster’s own sentiments.

  63. “A far better approach?a casually libertarian approach, one might say?is to evaluate things on their individual merits, rather than on how well they confirm our own biases or infuriate our enemies.

    This is difficult, but it can be done. I’ll show you how:

    Lena Dunham’s politics are noxiously pro-Obama; that said, her HBO show, Girls, is a nuanced exploration of the dreams and nightmares of the millennial generation. Dunham is a great writer and actress. Her New Yorker piece really sucked, though; it wasn’t funny at all. And she likely fabricated details of her autobiography; despite what she claimed, her rapist was definitely not a Republican activist.”

    So, lie, and lie shamelessly.

    1. Works for Nick!

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