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Who Punches Whom? Winners of the War of the Sixties Denounce Your Daring to Use the Tactics They Used, Part 78: Garry Trudeau
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When I was young in the Sixties and Seventies, the Spirit of the Age was all about satire and disrespecting sacred cows. A lot of youngish people emerged triumphant from that era and many of them are still around. Perhaps not so surprisingly, from their august positions today they lecture us on the dangers of satire and comedy unrestrained by respect for proper thoughts.

For example, consider Garry Trudeau. He was a scion of old money liberal Protestant good blood good bone folks (his mother went to Miss Porter’s School, for example) who rapidly triumphed as a representative of the rising generation of the educated and sophisticated. Trudeau started the predecessor to his Doonesbury cartoon strip at Yale in the late 1960s and quickly became the Jon Stewart of his generation.

Today, however, Trudeau writes in The Atlantic:

The Abuse of Satire

Garry Trudeau on Charlie Hebdo, free-speech fanaticism, and the problem with “punching downward”

GARRY TRUDEAU APR 11 2015, 1:12 PM ET

My career—I guess I can officially call it that now—was not my idea. When my editor, Jim Andrews, recruited me out during my junior year in college and gave me the job I still hold, it wasn’t clear to me what he was up to. Inexplicably, he didn’t seem concerned that I was short on the technical skills normally associated with creating a comic strip—it was my perspective he was interested in, my generational identity. He saw the sloppy draftsmanship as a kind of cartoon vérité, dispatches from the front, raw and subversive.

Why were they so subversive? Well, mostly because I didn’t know any better. My years in college had given me the completely false impression that there were no constraints, that it was safe for an artist to comment on volatile cultural and political issues in public. In college, there’s no down side. In the real world, there is, but in the euphoria of being recognized for anything, you don’t notice it at first. Indeed, one of the nicer things about youthful cluelessness is that it’s so frequently confused with courage.

In fact, it’s just flawed risk assessment. …

The strip was forever being banned. And more often than not, word would come back that it was not the editor but the stuffy, out of touch owner/publisher who was hostile to the feature.

For a while, I thought we had an insurmountable generational problem, but one night after losing three papers, my boss, John McMeel, took me out for a steak and explained his strategy. The 34-year-old syndicate head looked at his 22-year-old discovery over the rim of his martini glass, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry. Sooner or later, these guys die.”

Well, damned if he wasn’t right. A year later, the beloved patriarch of those three papers passed on, leaving them to his intemperate son, whose first official act, naturally, was to restore Doonesbury. And in the years that followed, a happy pattern emerged: All across the country, publishers who had vowed that Doonesbury would appear in their papers over their dead bodies were getting their wish. …

I, and most of my colleagues, have spent a lot of time discussing red lines since the tragedy in Paris. …

Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

How can you tell who are the non-privileged? The answer is actually very simple: By definition, the non-privileged are those who have the privilege of not being ridiculed.

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence. Well, voila—the 7 million copies that were published following the killings did exactly that, triggering violent protests across the Muslim world, including one in Niger, in which ten people died. Meanwhile, the French government kept busy rounding up and arresting over 100 Muslims who had foolishly used their freedom of speech to express their support of the attacks.

The White House took a lot of hits for not sending a high-level representative to the pro-Charlie solidarity march, but that oversight is now starting to look smart. The French tradition of free expression is too full of contradictions to fully embrace. Even Charlie Hebdo once fired a writer for not retracting an anti-Semitic column. Apparently he crossed some red line that was in place for one minority but not another.

That would be kind of an interesting topic for Doonesbury to explore, no? But would that be punching up or punching down? Muslims or Jews: which group is punching up and which group is punching down?

Or is the bigger question: Just how hard would Trudeau get punched if he did it? Better not to think about it.

… Writing satire is a privilege I’ve never taken lightly. And I’m still trying to get it right. Doonesbury remains a work in progress, an imperfect chronicle of human imperfection. It is work, though, that only exists because of the remarkable license that commentators enjoy in this country. That license has been stretched beyond recognition in the digital age. It’s not easy figuring out where the red line is for satire anymore. But it’s always worth asking this question: Is anyone, anyone at all, laughing? If not, maybe you crossed it.

We hear an awful lot these days about punching up and punching down, but we sure don’t hear many respectable in-depth explorations of just who is up and who is down and why. It would seem like a topic ripe for satire, but apparently it crosses one of those red lines of unfunniness. You’re not supposed to think, much less laugh, about who is privileged and who is punchable, you’re just supposed to know. Who you can punch and who you can’t is one of those things that go without saying.

If you are still uncertain, well, that’s your problem. If you’d had the good sense to to Yale, you would probably have a more refined sense of discretion and social boundaries. But it’s too late for you now, so if you don’t want to get punched, you’d better just shut up and let your social superiors make all the jokes.

 
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  1. Not sure I get it. What’s Steve’s point? That you can’t make fun of Jews? What’s Trudeau’s? That you shouldn’t make fun of Mohammad?

    • Replies: @gruff
    Steve's point(s) are obvious. Read and think carefully.
  2. When I was young in the Sixties and Seventies, the Spirit of the Age was all about satire and disrespecting sacred cows.

    Usually, on the part of people who want to become the sacred cows, or at least determine which cows are sacred.

  3. Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.

    I’ve gotten to hate that expression, a favorite of pompous liberals. All it means is “we pander to those on our side and ridicule those who aren’t.” After all, who is more comfortable in America today than the liberal? And how often does he find himself afflicted by satire?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I try to follow a policy of not mentioning precisely where people live, even if they live in a fortress like The Dakota, where John Lennon lived.

    So I won't give away any details. But let's just say that Gary Trudeau and his wife Jane Pauley are very, very comfortable.
    , @Desiderius
    I used to tell the lefties who loved that phrase at a church I served that afflicting the comfortable was Satan's job and that I didn't imagine he needed the help. We were there to comfort the afflicted. Did wonders for the comity of the faithful.
    , @Assistant Village Idiot
    I wrote on Doonesbury about a decade ago. http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2006/06/influence-of-doonesbury.html

    I never connected it to that phrase about afflicting, but you're right. It's very big in mainstream churches these last few decades.
  4. If I were a cartoonist, then you would have just provided me with a week’s worth of material.

  5. I really want R Crumb to do a comic-strip deconstruction of Trudeau.

    • Replies: @European-American
    Here's Crumb's "Cowardly Cartoonist" on Charlie:
    http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/01/12/a-kind-of-sleaze/
  6. @Harry Baldwin
    Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.

    I've gotten to hate that expression, a favorite of pompous liberals. All it means is "we pander to those on our side and ridicule those who aren't." After all, who is more comfortable in America today than the liberal? And how often does he find himself afflicted by satire?

    I try to follow a policy of not mentioning precisely where people live, even if they live in a fortress like The Dakota, where John Lennon lived.

    So I won’t give away any details. But let’s just say that Gary Trudeau and his wife Jane Pauley are very, very comfortable.

  7. He makes a great point. Until we live in an equal society, fee speech must be controlled in order to protect underprivileged groups

    • Replies: @Curle
    And since an equal society is unobtainable, idealism simply becomes a formula for controlling rights, like speech. Want everlasting power over others? Become that person in charge of making something unobtainable occur. You'll never be out of a job.
    , @ben tillman

    He makes a great point. Until we live in an equal society, fee speech must be controlled in order to protect underprivileged groups
     
    That's a logical and tautological impossibility. If the speech of others is controlled for a group's benefit, it is by definition privileged.

    The obvious solution is not to have equal societies. It is to have separate societies, so that every group can have its own society.
  8. As a Millennial, I’ve seen Doonesbury as most of the time adopting a very safe “American Idiot”-style criticism of neo-conservatism during the Bush presidency. This seemed kind of alright to me in high school, but having developed a brain to adult maturity, I haven’t been able to take Trudeau’s comics seriously in at least a decade.

    As a fan of extreme metal (e.g., of Cannibal Corpse’s seminal album “Tomb of the Mutilated” featuring tracks such as “Hammer Smashed Face” and “Necropedophile”), I find myself in the unfortunate predicament of being completely anti-censorship, which is definitely inconsistent with all liberals and a great deal of conservatives. Just today I was criticized for making a light-hearted joke likening Muslim values to those of a jealous fiancée.

    The murdered Charlie Hebdo folks had true guts, in the sense of an adolescent-targeted Japanese manga protagonist. I do not have the same courage they have because I fear for my loved ones and career, but I respect them above Trudeau. His is a garbage opinion for rubbish people. I wish that there were more American satirical outlets that weren’t afraid of pissing off liberals–or worse: my fellow Jews!

  9. One of the strangest things about the conversation after the Charlie Hebdo massacre is the number of militantly secular and progressive people who were certain that mocking Islam was somehow a way of reaching out to Muslims. There was clearly an assumption that mocking Islam and embracing diversity went hand in hand. One image that sticks in my mind was the photo of some twenty-something bobo at a candlelight vigil in Paris holding up a back issue of Charlie Hebdo showing an imam french kissing a male cartoonist with the headline “love is stronger than hate”. He really thought he was engaging in outreach by doing that rather than taunting Muslims. That was really educational for me. For all their talk of diversity, these people clearly have no idea how to actually get along with anyone different from them.

    • Replies: @Hersh
    "For all their talk of diversity, these people clearly have no idea how to actually get along with anyone different from them." (re liberals & Charlie Hebdo cartoons)

    I just came back from a cruise vacation. People are always very nice and I work hard at not arguing with anyone in real life (so as not to be a skunk at the garden party). I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I've heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to "give them" democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. "We" just didn't understand how they'd "keep going back to their old ways."

    These were Americans with good educations - doctors, school teachers, engineers, university professors, hospital administrators, business owners - and they buy the notion that it makes sense to bomb people for humanitarian reasons and its the people being bombed and not appreciating it who are the world's great problem.
  10. I was already prepared to hang myself at the next suggestion anti-semitic jokes are “punching down”, but it gets worse still: Trudeau says Charlie Hebdo was punching down? I’m sure they thought they were.

    Just like American liberals see race entirely as black and white relations, he sees the Mohammad cartoons offending “afflicted” (by–what else–discrimination, another bullshit assumption) European muslims, not an aggressive and inflexible creed covering nearly a quarter of humanity with its own oil-rich kingdom.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    The Muslims in Europe still are far less wealthy and well connected than other groups. Their power comes from their willingness to kill and otherwise physically attack those who insult their religion.

    Charlie Hebdo was "kissing up and kicking down" when they attacked Muslims and Christians and it cost them dearly.

  11. @Luke Lea
    Not sure I get it. What's Steve's point? That you can't make fun of Jews? What's Trudeau's? That you shouldn't make fun of Mohammad?

    Steve’s point(s) are obvious. Read and think carefully.

    • Replies: @Scotty G. Vito
    Thanks for the splainer. Hey, are you by any chance related to the crime dog
  12. The only cartoonist named ‘Gary’ that I found funny was “The Far Side’s” Gary Larson. That guy had wit. Trudeau was a cartoon of himself. I also never noticed any reticence on the part of his type to punch down on lower middle class whites. Jerry Falwell types were hugely amusing to the Trudeau’s of America, even though he never made more, by his own choice, than $50,000 per year.

    • Replies: @SFG
    You're allowed to hate lower-class whites because they vote Republican.
  13. Even Charlie Hebdo once fired a writer for not retracting an anti-Semitic column. Apparently he crossed some red line that was in place for one minority but not another.

    Precious.

    This “punching up, punching down” motif/meme/trope is really getting a workout.

    Yes, we don’t normally make fun of the powerless. Who does? But Islam is not powerless, nor are any of the world’s major religions. Extending to Trevor Noah, nor are any of the world’s nations.

    Humor doesn’t work when it avoids certain topics because it might hurt someone’s feelings, and humor doesn’t work when it tries to advance a political agenda. I don’t think you can be irreverent and moralistic at the same time: check the morals that Bruce and/or Carlin tried to inject into their routines.

  14. @Dennis Dale
    I was already prepared to hang myself at the next suggestion anti-semitic jokes are "punching down", but it gets worse still: Trudeau says Charlie Hebdo was punching down? I'm sure they thought they were.

    Just like American liberals see race entirely as black and white relations, he sees the Mohammad cartoons offending "afflicted" (by--what else--discrimination, another bullshit assumption) European muslims, not an aggressive and inflexible creed covering nearly a quarter of humanity with its own oil-rich kingdom.

    The Muslims in Europe still are far less wealthy and well connected than other groups. Their power comes from their willingness to kill and otherwise physically attack those who insult their religion.

    Charlie Hebdo was “kissing up and kicking down” when they attacked Muslims and Christians and it cost them dearly.

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    "kissing up and kicking down"--that's good, but much more apt for their mockery of Christians, who remain in season year-round. Political correctness defends Muslim honor, up to a point. Meanwhile, it isn't lost on the Muslims that the Jews are the one group you can never cross.
  15. Since Muslims (the vast majority anyway) want to impose a violent, 7th Century theocracy with polygamy upon every society where they are more than a tiny minority, anything and everything people who are NOT Muslims do gives offense. One might wonder what the Copts looking for work in Libya did to give offense other than be (native) North African Christians? THEY certainly did not draw any cartoons, and were beheaded anyway.

    Trudeau is pretty much in the situation as say, Louis XVI, in 1786. The number of say, privileged, connected, famous Yale graduates is say, N1. The number of ambitious young White men who are NOT privileged, connected, famous Yale graduates is say, N2. N2 > N1 by orders of magnitude.

    Invariably, there will be guerilla style young White men saying all sorts of things on the internet and other places that are non-PC, non-“correct” and anathema to the refined Yale sensibilities of Trudeau. And making Trudeau look in comparison like Jeff MacNelly’s “Shoe” comic strip. Safe. Establishment. Boring. No young man ever on the make made his fortune by playing it safe and boring.

    Indeed with women having their own money, careers and the Welfare State backing them up, the only way a young man with ambition can get ahead with the ladies is by playing it extra bold. Being mad, bad, dangerous to know. As someone once said “Chicks dig Chechens.” That does not mean shooting it out with the Cambridge police or the FBI, but it does mean taking risks, noticing, being the bad boy everyone loves to hate that creates tingles among the young women.

    There will be no ceasefire. N2 > N1. What does Trudeau offer N2 young men? Training his H1-B replacement at the cube farm?

  16. Garry Trudeau punches down all the time.

  17. Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    Doonesbury has never been truly funny. I remember reading it when it first came out, it has a certain nexus with college comics that later mutated into underground comic strips. As a fan of the comic genre, especially the weird comic genre, I had already been reading off the wall strips since Dan O'Neill's Odd Bodkins in the early '60's.

    But again, Doonesbury was never funny. What it did do was make fun of the mainstream media narrative at that time, and in that respect it was refreshing, for awhile. That is why it is strange that Trudeau seems unwilling to skewer the current establishment and the current media: but I guess that would involve making fun of an African American president, etc. Instead he writes lame strips about UVA.

    Nowadays there are so many different ways to find mockery and satire I can't imagine that print comic strips would still have much of a following.

    , @Auntie Analogue
    My dear, Tom Piatak, you hit the nail on the head. I have never found Doonesbury to be even mildly amusing; to me it always came across as smug - sheer Left-lib-"Progressive" smugness.
    , @Clyde

    Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?
     
    No and it pissed me off how rich he got from it.
  18. There are over a billion Muslims in this world and they control several dozen countries, some of them quite rich. How the hell is criticizing Muslims “punching down”?

    Meanwhile, how many countries are controlled by Protestant Christians? Few. By fundamentalist Christians? None.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were "punching down" when they did that.
  19. Trudeau says you shouldn’t punch down at people who will shoot back.

  20. @Wilkey
    There are over a billion Muslims in this world and they control several dozen countries, some of them quite rich. How the hell is criticizing Muslims "punching down"?

    Meanwhile, how many countries are controlled by Protestant Christians? Few. By fundamentalist Christians? None.

    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were “punching down” when they did that.

    • Replies: @Wilkey
    "Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were “punching down” when they did that."

    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at a religion whose members are an absolute majority in exactly one-fourth of the world's nations - 49 of 196 - and over 20% of the population in over a dozen more. And when they wield power, they wield it fiercely against non-Muslims.

    Fuck this 'religion of blue collar people.' It is a backwards, oppressive religion which deserves to be mocked.
    , @Joe Walker
    The phrase "blue collar" implies that they work for a living. The way I understand it, the average Muslim in France is a welfare recipient and therefore does not work for a living but lives off of people who do.
  21. I remember when Gary Trudeau was funny………….the Spring of 1979 as I recall.

    The cultural elite in this country has no problem punching down at white gentiles, especially if they’re white gentile southerners, as Unit472 pointed out.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    More like the Fall of 1973 ...
  22. @Mr. Anon
    I remember when Gary Trudeau was funny.............the Spring of 1979 as I recall.

    The cultural elite in this country has no problem punching down at white gentiles, especially if they're white gentile southerners, as Unit472 pointed out.

    More like the Fall of 1973 …

  23. @Tom Piatak
    Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?

    Doonesbury has never been truly funny. I remember reading it when it first came out, it has a certain nexus with college comics that later mutated into underground comic strips. As a fan of the comic genre, especially the weird comic genre, I had already been reading off the wall strips since Dan O’Neill’s Odd Bodkins in the early ’60’s.

    But again, Doonesbury was never funny. What it did do was make fun of the mainstream media narrative at that time, and in that respect it was refreshing, for awhile. That is why it is strange that Trudeau seems unwilling to skewer the current establishment and the current media: but I guess that would involve making fun of an African American president, etc. Instead he writes lame strips about UVA.

    Nowadays there are so many different ways to find mockery and satire I can’t imagine that print comic strips would still have much of a following.

  24. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Is this actually true? It seems to me that satire is an inherently right wing genre whose peaks go from Aristophanes through Juvenal to Pope and Swift on to Waugh and Houellebecq. Their favourite targets seem to be women, foreigners and homosexuals. Even the supposed lefties that dabble in satire often have a right wing streak: Orwell, Gore Vidal, Vonnegut.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right. Great satire seems to require a high degree of worldliness.
    , @Steve Sailer
    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    - They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    - They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    - They aren't usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov's name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    - They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they'd like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    , @5371
    What do you think "right wing" means?
  25. Maybe the 60s was pretty much “I want my stuff and I want it now!”

    It takes a bit of grace to wait for the old folks to die.

  26. @Tom Piatak
    Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?

    My dear, Tom Piatak, you hit the nail on the head. I have never found Doonesbury to be even mildly amusing; to me it always came across as smug – sheer Left-lib-“Progressive” smugness.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Trudeau has been coasting ever since Nixon resigned.
  27. @Cagey Beast
    The Muslims in Europe still are far less wealthy and well connected than other groups. Their power comes from their willingness to kill and otherwise physically attack those who insult their religion.

    Charlie Hebdo was "kissing up and kicking down" when they attacked Muslims and Christians and it cost them dearly.

    “kissing up and kicking down”–that’s good, but much more apt for their mockery of Christians, who remain in season year-round. Political correctness defends Muslim honor, up to a point. Meanwhile, it isn’t lost on the Muslims that the Jews are the one group you can never cross.

  28. @Auntie Analogue
    My dear, Tom Piatak, you hit the nail on the head. I have never found Doonesbury to be even mildly amusing; to me it always came across as smug - sheer Left-lib-"Progressive" smugness.

    Trudeau has been coasting ever since Nixon resigned.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I hate to call you-all on a technicaliy, but this is rather like the "Trevor Noah just isn't funny " bit.
    , @cthulhu
    Hunter S. Thompson was another who lost his way once Nixon resigned.

    Berke Breathed's Bloom County was what Trudeau thought he was - edgy, irreverent, actually funny - at least up until the last year of the strip, at which point Breathed had the sense to get out of the daily strip business.

    But the satirist of that era who never sold out was Joe Bob Briggs, the nom de plume of Dallas Times Herald journalist John Bloom. He even got fired for his art - a hilarious takedown of We Are the World. Je suis Joe Bob!
    , @Dirk Dagger
    The Don McClean of cartoonists?
  29. @Thursday
    Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Is this actually true? It seems to me that satire is an inherently right wing genre whose peaks go from Aristophanes through Juvenal to Pope and Swift on to Waugh and Houellebecq. Their favourite targets seem to be women, foreigners and homosexuals. Even the supposed lefties that dabble in satire often have a right wing streak: Orwell, Gore Vidal, Vonnegut.

    Right. Great satire seems to require a high degree of worldliness.

  30. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factor"] says:

    “hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence”

    LIE

    • Replies: @CJ
    Yep. Brigitte Bardot, Eric Zemmour and Jean-Marie Le Pen have all been prosecuted for criticizing Muslims, and in Le Pen's case for "relativizing" the Holocaust (that is not denying that it occurred, but calling it a "detail of history" in an age of mass murder).
  31. @Thursday
    Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Is this actually true? It seems to me that satire is an inherently right wing genre whose peaks go from Aristophanes through Juvenal to Pope and Swift on to Waugh and Houellebecq. Their favourite targets seem to be women, foreigners and homosexuals. Even the supposed lefties that dabble in satire often have a right wing streak: Orwell, Gore Vidal, Vonnegut.

    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    – They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    – They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    – They aren’t usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov’s name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    – They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they’d like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    • Replies: @Thursday
    A few more remarks on satire:

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems "The Vanity of Human Wishes" and "London," but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be "pure."

    5. Liberals tend to be much better at the related, but distinct, genre of comedy, where you gently poke fun at the ridiculousness of much daily life. The tradition of liberal comedy goes from highs like Moliere on to Henry Fielding on to Wilde on to Bill Hicks and Louis CK. When Wilde, Hicks or Louis CK are riffing on cucumber sandwiches, smoking or diaper changing (respectively), they're brilliant. But whenever they turn to political subjects, they suddenly become the most utterly crashing bores. Hicks' attempts at political satire are even lamer than Trudeau's.
    , @Thursday
    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    No, you've got it.
    , @PatrickH
    Thursday and Steve, I agree that the idea that satire is about "punching up" is ridiculous. In fact, according to the original definition of the term, satire tends to be about "punching down," although not invariably so. Part of the problem is some confusion over the definition of the word "satire". I believe the classical definition was that satire is a form of comedy whose creator holds people to strict standards of behavior and ridiculed them for falling short of those standards.

    According to that definition, a standard subject for satire would be a man who has risen in the world and apes the manners of his betters but does not actually know how to behave in society, and so boasts, overdresses, eats peas off his knife, and so forth. Moliere's Le bourgeois gentilhomme is a good example of a satirical play. However, satire of this kind is only possible in societies that have a clearly defined code of morals and manners, accepted by all who belong to it. In 17th-century France, the noblesse of both the courts and the sword shared such a common code. Moliere, in mocking those who aspired to join the nobility, was not a "liberal" comedian but a conservative one, if by conservative we mean one who upholds the existing power structure of society.

    Waugh pointed out somewhere that the modern Western world, certainly since WWI and perhaps earlier, was simply too fluid and too "diverse" in its manners and moral codes to be able to produce satire: against what standard of manners and morals could people be held up to mockery? he asked.

    The strange thing is that while his view of the impossibility of satire was undoubtedly right for his own time, I'm not sure that it is in our own. The New Class of bureaucrats/journalists/academics etc. has a very strict and severe code of manners at the least, although its morality is perhaps fuzzier. One might expect, then, following the classical definition of satire, that they would be busy mocking anyone who fails to follow their codes of speech and behavior, especially if such a person aspires to join them. And guess what? That is exactly what they do. So I suppose Garry Trudeau, Jon Stewart, et al are satirists after all, although not particularly funny ones, and not according to the definition of the term that they would prefer to use themselves.
    , @PatrickH
    One more thing, this time specifically concerned with Waugh rather than satire. Waugh may not have been a particularly nice man, but he was much beloved by his friends and even by his enemies, or rather by people whom he had excoriated publicly such that they *ought* to have been his enemies. Stephen Spender was something of a model of the Social Justice Warrior long before the internet, and Waugh was ferociously rude to him in print on occasion. Yet Spender admired him to the point of being positively obsequious, in a way that was much to Spender's credit, if you read the account of one unfortunate dinner he gave for Waugh, cited in various biographies. The quality of Waugh's writing and (I think) the fact that he was exceptionally self-critical gave him a moral authority that was rare in literary circles in mid-century Britain.
  32. “But it’s always worth asking this question: Is anyone, anyone at all, laughing? If not, maybe you crossed it.”

    Also, maybe you just aren’t funny. Trudeau was pretty funny in the 70’s when he was just throwing off jokes. At some point he tried to turn himself into Samuel Beckett, and then became lost.

    Also, when did comic strip artists become moral arbiters? That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the job.

  33. Doonesbury: “Forgotten, but not gone.”

    Trudeau has been coasting for decades, and never developed a sophisticated or mature sensibility. He became frozen in amber; the snarky sophomore who believes himself to be clever, without realizing his own limitations in knowledge and experience. It worked for a while, but he never developed the worldliness to take on a target more challenging than Nixon when writing for an audience that already agreed with him. Worse, he seemed to retreat into his own smugness.

    The media in which he works is dying. The daily comic strip has ceased to be a factor in popular culture; the newspapers those old fogies owned are on life support, and his platform along with it. He still shows up in papers but that’s because you can’t dynamite an established strip off the pages.

  34. @Priss Factor
    "hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence"

    LIE

    Yep. Brigitte Bardot, Eric Zemmour and Jean-Marie Le Pen have all been prosecuted for criticizing Muslims, and in Le Pen’s case for “relativizing” the Holocaust (that is not denying that it occurred, but calling it a “detail of history” in an age of mass murder).

    • Replies: @Guillaume Durocher
    Jean-Marie Le Pen did not call the Holocaust as a whole "a detail of the history of the Second World War," but merely the gas chambers. The use or non-use of this particular method of killing (or any other) was "a detail" to be studied by historians, he argues. IIRC the gas chambers do not appear in Churchill, De Gaulle or Einsenhower's war memoirs, so apparently a lot of prominent people think they are not even a detail worth mentioning..
  35. @Tom Piatak
    Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?

    Has Garry Trudeau ever been funny, or even witty?

    No and it pissed me off how rich he got from it.

  36. Tom Tomorrow’s “This Modern World ” weekly strip has made Doonesbury redundant for at least twenty years now.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, Tom Tomorrow is a much funnier liberal strip. I used to read it regularly during the Iraq War years.
  37. @ChaseBizzy
    Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World " weekly strip has made Doonesbury redundant for at least twenty years now.

    Yes, Tom Tomorrow is a much funnier liberal strip. I used to read it regularly during the Iraq War years.

  38. Just as a reminder, here is a translation of the “anti-Semitic” text that got Siné fired Charlie Hebdo:

    Jean Sarkozy, a son worthy of his paternity and already a general counselor for the UMP, was set free from his criminal proceedings –almost with applause — from the charge of hit and run on his scooter . The prosecutor actually requested his release! It must be said that the complainant is an Arab! But that’s not all: Sarkozy just declared his intention to convert to Judaism before marrying his fiancée, who is Jewish and the heiress to the founders of Darty. He’ll go far in life, this lad!

    To me this piece is the very definition of “punching up”. If the politically active son of the sitting President, who just used his father’s influence to be freed of a crime he was clearly guilty of, along with an heiress to an electronics store fortune, are not legitimate satire targets, then no one is.

    Perhaps Clarence Page or Garry Trudeau could let us know if they agree?

  39. He seems awfully pleased to imagine himself speaking for “my generational identity,” rather than for himself.

    Also, when he was satirizing Hunter Thompson in the form of Uncle Duke, was he punching up, down, or sideways? These boxing metaphors are pretty complicated.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Doonesbury's "Uncle Duke" satire on Hunter S. Thompson seemed pretty amusing to me until I finally got around to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is an amazing self-satirization. I realized then that Thompson had done all the hard work and Trudeau was just coasting. It's like if I started a poorly drawn comic strip starring Uncle Duck, in which a duck with a George Costanza-like personality engages in Daffy Duck-like misadventures. In fact, I should do that. I can probably draw about as well as Trudeau in 1971 and all the hard work has already been done in dreaming up Daffy Duck.

    So, I hereby trademark and copyright "Uncle Duck™."
  40. @black sea
    He seems awfully pleased to imagine himself speaking for "my generational identity," rather than for himself.

    Also, when he was satirizing Hunter Thompson in the form of Uncle Duke, was he punching up, down, or sideways? These boxing metaphors are pretty complicated.

    Doonesbury’s “Uncle Duke” satire on Hunter S. Thompson seemed pretty amusing to me until I finally got around to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is an amazing self-satirization. I realized then that Thompson had done all the hard work and Trudeau was just coasting. It’s like if I started a poorly drawn comic strip starring Uncle Duck, in which a duck with a George Costanza-like personality engages in Daffy Duck-like misadventures. In fact, I should do that. I can probably draw about as well as Trudeau in 1971 and all the hard work has already been done in dreaming up Daffy Duck.

    So, I hereby trademark and copyright “Uncle Duck™.”

    • Replies: @Erik L
    In the intro to one of his collections books Trudeau stated that the reason college students liked him so much was because he had the ability to seem to know a great deal about a topic without actually doing much work.
    , @Glaivester
  41. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The best satire, indeed the original satire is, as Gary Trudeau hints, all about attacking politicians and the powerful. It’s all about deflating the pompous, the vain and the conceited – those who really do think that they are ‘better’ than the common man. Indeed, the more pompous the personage, and the more ridiculous the satire, the funnier it is.
    A tradition that really started in the pomp of 18th century Georgian England, and the often scatological and nasty colored prints of Gilray, Rowlandson and others.

  42. @Thursday
    Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Is this actually true? It seems to me that satire is an inherently right wing genre whose peaks go from Aristophanes through Juvenal to Pope and Swift on to Waugh and Houellebecq. Their favourite targets seem to be women, foreigners and homosexuals. Even the supposed lefties that dabble in satire often have a right wing streak: Orwell, Gore Vidal, Vonnegut.

    What do you think “right wing” means?

  43. What is Satire allowed? Everything.-Tucholsky

  44. The question of ‘punching up/down’ is clouded by the fact that the minorities in question are ciphers or proxies–and it is in this capacity that they are defended by liberals, rather than in and of themselves. A cartoon in a Western newspaper mocking Muslims may well in reality have in its sights the establishment that protects and nurtures their presence here–a group that is anything but powerless. But it can always be plausibly claimed that in shutting down debate about immigration or Islamification TPTB are protecting a powerless group.

    Muslims, gays and others are used for their political value by the truly powerful, and they are therefore defended by them for their own benefit. In a sense these groups are truly powerless in a way that, say, white protestants are not–in that they need the protection of a powerful class. And conversely, the white working classes are powerless in the sense that they have no powerful support, yet powerful in the sense that they clearly still exist in spite of the forces ranged against them.

    Perhaps the question for Trudeau would be whether or not he thinks subjects like the negative impact of immigration can ever be the object of satire at all.

  45. Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they’re pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?

    • Replies: @Paul Walker Most beautiful man ever...
    "Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they’re pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?"
    No, because White Privilege.
    BTW, Someone should email Trudeau and ask him to define which groups are Up or Down punching wise.
  46. Steve,
    My impression is Trudeau is nibbling around the edges of something this writer goes at (almost) explicitly https://twitter.com/cjwerleman Please look at some of his links. He is interested in “New Atheism,” which seems to be in process of being taken over by neocons (i.e. Israel fanatics) just like the Republican party and flag waving patriotic rhetoric (“American” Enterprise Institue – Hah! “American” my foot).

    Charlie Hebdo was “Anti Theist” – HATING all religion; one Anti Theist big shot said that if given a choice between eliminating religion or rape from the world, he’d get rid of religion. The parents of the 3 murdered (gunshot to the back of the head – the media buried that) Muslim college students in North Carolina believe that neighbor was hopped up on Anti Theism, which, in reality, targets Muslims. Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoted on Fox News all the time. She wants a military war on Islam and was praised by Anders Bering Breivik.

    I’ve seen a Ron Reagan (the son) commercial for atheism several times now. I guess he is the goodie goodie face of it, the face for liberals. Why would atheism need commercials? Why would atheists need a community at all that could be targeted for discrimination? Who knows if you are an atheist?

    So, theres something else going on. And its the neocons. Did Gary Trudeau ever really take on sacred cows? Maybe he’s trying to say something here. Will he have the courage to spit it all out? When he came to prominence in the Vietnam era, he undermined the war because it was going nowhere and futile but he didn’t have the courage to take on worst of the war, that 2 – 3 million Vietnamese died for it. Now he’s an old man and very rich and maybe he’s always had some guilt about that.

    • Replies: @SFG
    It's kind of ironic--Reagan's actual son Ron is the liberal, whereas the adopted son seems more conservative. Crazy, huh?
    , @Luke Lea
    "Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoted on Fox News all the time. She wants a military war on Islam and was praised by Anders Bering Breivik."

    I'll stand up for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I saw her on C-Span the other day at the National Press Club and she comes across as great, really smart, sharp, doesn't pull punches, really effective critic of Islam. So I don't know what you are talking about.
  47. O/T but there are reports of another gang rape involving American students. Although judging from the pictures with the story this one wouldn’t get into Rolling Stone as it has Nothing To Do With Race.

    I’m not an American myself, so I can only hope that the pictures of the students involved are not typical of American undergraduates. They look like students from Idiocracy.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3035478/Troy-University-students-charged-Florida-Spring-Break-gang-rape-cell-phone-video.html

  48. Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Uh, no, not really. It doesn’t get much more traditional than to look back on the founding father of satire, Gaius Lucilius, who most certainly did not limit himself to attacking the comfortable nor waste time in attempting to comfort the afflicted:

    Further, he not only created a style of his own, but, instead of taking the substance of his writings from Greek poetry, or from a remote past, he treated of the familiar matters of daily life, of the politics, the wars, the administration of justice, the eating and drinking, the money-making and money-spending, the scandals and vices, which made up the public and private life of Rome in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC. This he did in a singularly frank, independent and courageous spirit, with no private ambition to serve, or party cause to advance, but with an honest desire to expose the iniquity or incompetence of the governing body, the sordid aims of the middle class, and the corruption and venality of the city mob. There was nothing of stoical austerity or of rhetorical indignation in the tone in which he treated the vices and follies of his time.

    And certainly Lucilius would have found plenty of satirical fodder in the Orwellian notion that a high elite would try to protect themselves from satire by claiming that they were lowly victims and thus worthy of protection against being satirized!

    Juvenal, one of the other satirical founding fathers, didn’t limit himself to “punching up” either. But current elites seem to have developed an excuse for that:

    While Juvenal’s mode of satire has been noted from antiquity for its wrathful scorn towards all representatives of social deviance, some politically progressive scholars such as W. S. Anderson and later S. M. Braund have attempted to defend his work as actually a rhetorical persona (mask) taken up by the author to critique the very attitudes he appears to be exhibiting in his works.

    So perhaps today’s “deviant” satirists, who dare attack the manners and attitudes of current elites, should fall back on this rhetorical persona thingy when the wealthy and powerful counterattack them?

    • Replies: @5371
    The nonsense of these "politically progressive scholars" reminds me of that of Leo Strauss.
  49. @Cagey Beast
    One of the strangest things about the conversation after the Charlie Hebdo massacre is the number of militantly secular and progressive people who were certain that mocking Islam was somehow a way of reaching out to Muslims. There was clearly an assumption that mocking Islam and embracing diversity went hand in hand. One image that sticks in my mind was the photo of some twenty-something bobo at a candlelight vigil in Paris holding up a back issue of Charlie Hebdo showing an imam french kissing a male cartoonist with the headline "love is stronger than hate". He really thought he was engaging in outreach by doing that rather than taunting Muslims. That was really educational for me. For all their talk of diversity, these people clearly have no idea how to actually get along with anyone different from them.

    “For all their talk of diversity, these people clearly have no idea how to actually get along with anyone different from them.” (re liberals & Charlie Hebdo cartoons)

    I just came back from a cruise vacation. People are always very nice and I work hard at not arguing with anyone in real life (so as not to be a skunk at the garden party). I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I’ve heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to “give them” democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. “We” just didn’t understand how they’d “keep going back to their old ways.”

    These were Americans with good educations – doctors, school teachers, engineers, university professors, hospital administrators, business owners – and they buy the notion that it makes sense to bomb people for humanitarian reasons and its the people being bombed and not appreciating it who are the world’s great problem.

    • Replies: @Wilkey
    I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I’ve heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to “give them” democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. “We” just didn’t understand how they’d “keep going back to their old ways.”

    This sounds to me like a very rational analysis of the situation. What's wrong with it, the assumption of George W. Bush's sincerity? That seems like a rather minor quibble.

    Either way, we did not have the power to give them - impose on them - a democracy they did not really want. The amount of violence that would've been required to do that would not have been worth the expense, and unlike Germany and Japan, we didn't have the moral authority to use that kind of violence against them.
  50. This “punching upward” shibboleth is catching on. I just read it a few hours ago in an article by a progressive-lib writer woman, who was describing the e-infamy of this lesbian Thai sci-fi “rage blogger” but unironically giving her to-be-sure credit for doing said angry blogs in the mode of “punching upward.” Basically any kind of caustic profanity or even cheap shots coming from a designated victim cardholder is both permitted to others to enjoy, as well as being right to the ways and the rules of the world.

    Incidentally I feel it’s a bad term for mere satirists since the pugilistic image doesn’t quite fit it. But the metaphor is both traditional and apt in the context of polemicists and opinion journalists — yet bearing the implication, of course (which few seem capable to put together), that one must also *take* the occasional stray punch, too. Only upward punchers & punching bags are to be allowed.

  51. @black sea
    Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they're pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?

    “Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they’re pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?”
    No, because White Privilege.
    BTW, Someone should email Trudeau and ask him to define which groups are Up or Down punching wise.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Hey, he could publish a Doonesbury cartoons listing the Punchable and the Unpunchable.
  52. @Paul Walker Most beautiful man ever...
    "Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they’re pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?"
    No, because White Privilege.
    BTW, Someone should email Trudeau and ask him to define which groups are Up or Down punching wise.

    Hey, he could publish a Doonesbury cartoons listing the Punchable and the Unpunchable.

    • Replies: @Al Gore Rhythms
    Punchables Vs Unpunchables would make a great Superbowl final.

    The Punchbowl?

    Perhaps it could take the form of Gays vs vengeful Parisian cartoonists--Fruit Punch vs the Punch-backs of Notre Dame...

    Sorry. But baby, we were born to pun.

  53. @gruff
    Steve's point(s) are obvious. Read and think carefully.

    Thanks for the splainer. Hey, are you by any chance related to the crime dog

    • Replies: @gruff
    I am in fact him.
  54. @Tex
    I really want R Crumb to do a comic-strip deconstruction of Trudeau.

    Here’s Crumb’s “Cowardly Cartoonist” on Charlie:
    http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/01/12/a-kind-of-sleaze/

  55. It’s a stupid term because who punches downward? Just try to imagine that.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "It’s a stupid term because who punches downward?"

    Nikolay Valuev

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-land-of-big-men.html

  56. @Scotty G. Vito
    It's a stupid term because who punches downward? Just try to imagine that.

    “It’s a stupid term because who punches downward?”

    Nikolay Valuev

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-land-of-big-men.html

  57. @CJ
    Yep. Brigitte Bardot, Eric Zemmour and Jean-Marie Le Pen have all been prosecuted for criticizing Muslims, and in Le Pen's case for "relativizing" the Holocaust (that is not denying that it occurred, but calling it a "detail of history" in an age of mass murder).

    Jean-Marie Le Pen did not call the Holocaust as a whole “a detail of the history of the Second World War,” but merely the gas chambers. The use or non-use of this particular method of killing (or any other) was “a detail” to be studied by historians, he argues. IIRC the gas chambers do not appear in Churchill, De Gaulle or Einsenhower’s war memoirs, so apparently a lot of prominent people think they are not even a detail worth mentioning..

  58. @Steve Sailer
    Hey, he could publish a Doonesbury cartoons listing the Punchable and the Unpunchable.

    Punchables Vs Unpunchables would make a great Superbowl final.

    The Punchbowl?

    Perhaps it could take the form of Gays vs vengeful Parisian cartoonists–Fruit Punch vs the Punch-backs of Notre Dame…

    Sorry. But baby, we were born to pun.

  59. I believe there’s a distinction between the actual first-run Nazis, who were mockworthy ca. Looney Tunes and Hogan’s Heroes, but imbued suddenly with extra gravitas at some point during the Clinton Administration, possibly overcompensating; and the NNs, i.e. poor-white bruiser types, who remain a source of stronger cognitive dissonance rarely deemed “funny” by the satire-making class (slagging on KKK or goths/Nordic-knickknacks folks doesn’t count) — the only example I remember is the idiotic biker gang in the 2nd of Clint Eastwood’s chimpanzee road movies. That Skokie, IL march may be the watershed point as the last time neo’s were out in the open and, thus, written off as bumbling rednecks. Certainly by the time of “Oz,” “American History X,” “Sons of Anarchy” and “Breaking Bad” they’ve been more often depicted as very frightening and even organized/intelligent in at least a tactical sense.

    • Replies: @SFG
    As should be obvious to anyone, Hollywood is heavily Jewish, and Jews are terrified of Nazis.

    They were making fun of them in WW2 as a defense mechanism--the real Nazis overran half of Europe and were only stopped because Stalin was willing to kill 25 million of his own people to stop them. Neo-Nazis can deface the occasional synagogue and kill the occasional radio talk host, but they're not nearly as organized--they tend to be from the absolute bottom of the white social and economic ladder. But they make good villains because it's OK to hate Nazis, for the reason listed above.

    So their appearance in movies winds up being the opposite of the reality at the time.
  60. @Torn and Frayed
    Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful.

    Uh, no, not really. It doesn't get much more traditional than to look back on the founding father of satire, Gaius Lucilius, who most certainly did not limit himself to attacking the comfortable nor waste time in attempting to comfort the afflicted:

    Further, he not only created a style of his own, but, instead of taking the substance of his writings from Greek poetry, or from a remote past, he treated of the familiar matters of daily life, of the politics, the wars, the administration of justice, the eating and drinking, the money-making and money-spending, the scandals and vices, which made up the public and private life of Rome in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC. This he did in a singularly frank, independent and courageous spirit, with no private ambition to serve, or party cause to advance, but with an honest desire to expose the iniquity or incompetence of the governing body, the sordid aims of the middle class, and the corruption and venality of the city mob. There was nothing of stoical austerity or of rhetorical indignation in the tone in which he treated the vices and follies of his time.
     
    And certainly Lucilius would have found plenty of satirical fodder in the Orwellian notion that a high elite would try to protect themselves from satire by claiming that they were lowly victims and thus worthy of protection against being satirized!

    Juvenal, one of the other satirical founding fathers, didn’t limit himself to “punching up” either. But current elites seem to have developed an excuse for that:

    While Juvenal's mode of satire has been noted from antiquity for its wrathful scorn towards all representatives of social deviance, some politically progressive scholars such as W. S. Anderson and later S. M. Braund have attempted to defend his work as actually a rhetorical persona (mask) taken up by the author to critique the very attitudes he appears to be exhibiting in his works.
     
    So perhaps today’s “deviant” satirists, who dare attack the manners and attitudes of current elites, should fall back on this rhetorical persona thingy when the wealthy and powerful counterattack them?

    The nonsense of these “politically progressive scholars” reminds me of that of Leo Strauss.

  61. Did the late heroic “satirist” Jon Stewart ever punch upward even once? If you actually believe that mocking W. was some real truth-to-power bravery in the flesh, as I’m sure Sailer probably does, then please try to recall which of the two was the class-traitor convert to hayseed evangelical Bible storytime (so unlike debonair Jeb or Poppy), and which one was ensconced, to undying elite succor, in the firmament of modern American royalty, i.e. starring on his own kvetchy TV show.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    My brother likes Conan O'Brien , and I sometimes enjoy him too. So we went to see him at Radio City Music Hall once. Jon Stewart made a "surprise" visit and came running out onto the stage where they embraced each other and proceeded to engage in what I assume were inside jokes and general backslapping behavior--as if the show could be suspended and we who had paid to see Conan's comedy act would be thrilled just to be in the same room with these two old pals. They then engaged in what is one of the least-funny comedy routines I have ever seen.

    If social privilege could be quantified like wealth, Stewart would not be in the 99% with us.

    He's also not very funny.
    , @SFG
    I'm gonna disagree here. Stewart's a rich entertainment guy, but he wasn't President of the United States. The POTUS is the most powerful man in the world, and hence is always 'up'.

    SNL makes fun of the President every week. It's a good thing. I wish they'd go after Obama harder, of course...
  62. @Harry Baldwin
    Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.

    I've gotten to hate that expression, a favorite of pompous liberals. All it means is "we pander to those on our side and ridicule those who aren't." After all, who is more comfortable in America today than the liberal? And how often does he find himself afflicted by satire?

    I used to tell the lefties who loved that phrase at a church I served that afflicting the comfortable was Satan’s job and that I didn’t imagine he needed the help. We were there to comfort the afflicted. Did wonders for the comity of the faithful.

    • Replies: @David
    When Christ says, "They say hate your enemy..." I think he's referring to a Greek saying, "Be a pleasure to your friends and a terror to your enemies." The Greek version makes a lot more sense to me. Even Christ didn't say that your enemy is not your enemy. Punishing freeloaders is as much a necessity in social organizations as is rewarding producers. Retributive and distributive justice.

    Adam Smith compared the preference for civility over anger to the public's preference for the building of a palace to the building a prison, which is not based on the social good either project would do.
  63. @Scotty G. Vito
    Did the late heroic "satirist" Jon Stewart ever punch upward even once? If you actually believe that mocking W. was some real truth-to-power bravery in the flesh, as I'm sure Sailer probably does, then please try to recall which of the two was the class-traitor convert to hayseed evangelical Bible storytime (so unlike debonair Jeb or Poppy), and which one was ensconced, to undying elite succor, in the firmament of modern American royalty, i.e. starring on his own kvetchy TV show.

    My brother likes Conan O’Brien , and I sometimes enjoy him too. So we went to see him at Radio City Music Hall once. Jon Stewart made a “surprise” visit and came running out onto the stage where they embraced each other and proceeded to engage in what I assume were inside jokes and general backslapping behavior–as if the show could be suspended and we who had paid to see Conan’s comedy act would be thrilled just to be in the same room with these two old pals. They then engaged in what is one of the least-funny comedy routines I have ever seen.

    If social privilege could be quantified like wealth, Stewart would not be in the 99% with us.

    He’s also not very funny.

  64. @Steve Sailer
    Trudeau has been coasting ever since Nixon resigned.

    I hate to call you-all on a technicaliy, but this is rather like the “Trevor Noah just isn’t funny ” bit.

  65. Which way was Trudeau punching when he published his comic strip about “frat boy monsters” in Sunday newspapers throughout the USA?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/12/29/doonesbury-and-the-u-va-campus-rape-strip-garry-trudeau-says-that-rolling-stones-flaws-didnt-change-point-of-yesterdays-comic/

    • Replies: @res
    A satire of Trudeau's UVA strip was linked in the comments there: http://imgur.com/7v3CPcK
  66. @Cagey Beast
    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were "punching down" when they did that.

    “Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were “punching down” when they did that.”

    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at a religion whose members are an absolute majority in exactly one-fourth of the world’s nations – 49 of 196 – and over 20% of the population in over a dozen more. And when they wield power, they wield it fiercely against non-Muslims.

    Fuck this ‘religion of blue collar people.’ It is a backwards, oppressive religion which deserves to be mocked.

    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    The Charlie Hebdo types want massive immigration from exotic countries - including Muslim countries - and they also demand the right to mock these people's religion mercilessly. They want to bring in Muslims to push brooms, vote for their party and turn France into a post-Christian, post-national country and they also want Muslims to submit to their taunting; which they consider some sort of shock therapy I guess. In other words the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff wanted the impossible and it didn't work out for them.

    The way I predict it will work out is the bobos will continue to make liberal-progressives noises but will make sure not to anger the Muslims. they thought they could tame their Muslim pets but couldn't. There was a t-shirt worn in one of the vibrant suburbs of Paris that said "J'baiserai la France jusqu'à c'qu'elle m'aime", or "I'll f**k France 'till she loves me". I don't think their position could me made any more clear. Even so, Charlie Hebdo taunted and mocked anyone from the FN who pointed this sort of thing out. As far as I know, that's still the policy of the surviving staff there. Brilliant.

  67. @unit472
    The only cartoonist named 'Gary' that I found funny was "The Far Side's" Gary Larson. That guy had wit. Trudeau was a cartoon of himself. I also never noticed any reticence on the part of his type to punch down on lower middle class whites. Jerry Falwell types were hugely amusing to the Trudeau's of America, even though he never made more, by his own choice, than $50,000 per year.

    You’re allowed to hate lower-class whites because they vote Republican.

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    Particularly if they are heterosexual Christian males.
  68. @Hersh
    "For all their talk of diversity, these people clearly have no idea how to actually get along with anyone different from them." (re liberals & Charlie Hebdo cartoons)

    I just came back from a cruise vacation. People are always very nice and I work hard at not arguing with anyone in real life (so as not to be a skunk at the garden party). I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I've heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to "give them" democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. "We" just didn't understand how they'd "keep going back to their old ways."

    These were Americans with good educations - doctors, school teachers, engineers, university professors, hospital administrators, business owners - and they buy the notion that it makes sense to bomb people for humanitarian reasons and its the people being bombed and not appreciating it who are the world's great problem.

    I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I’ve heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to “give them” democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. “We” just didn’t understand how they’d “keep going back to their old ways.”

    This sounds to me like a very rational analysis of the situation. What’s wrong with it, the assumption of George W. Bush’s sincerity? That seems like a rather minor quibble.

    Either way, we did not have the power to give them – impose on them – a democracy they did not really want. The amount of violence that would’ve been required to do that would not have been worth the expense, and unlike Germany and Japan, we didn’t have the moral authority to use that kind of violence against them.

    • Replies: @Hersh
    "This sounds to me like a very rational analysis of the situation. "

    Personally, I'm skeptical of every story (narrative?) in the media or put out by government, HOWEVER, what you write would justify/explain/moralize ISIS violence because they're violent in order to "give" paradise in the hereafter. That's better than democracy.

    IMO, lots of paving the road to hell all around.
  69. @Scotty G. Vito
    Did the late heroic "satirist" Jon Stewart ever punch upward even once? If you actually believe that mocking W. was some real truth-to-power bravery in the flesh, as I'm sure Sailer probably does, then please try to recall which of the two was the class-traitor convert to hayseed evangelical Bible storytime (so unlike debonair Jeb or Poppy), and which one was ensconced, to undying elite succor, in the firmament of modern American royalty, i.e. starring on his own kvetchy TV show.

    I’m gonna disagree here. Stewart’s a rich entertainment guy, but he wasn’t President of the United States. The POTUS is the most powerful man in the world, and hence is always ‘up’.

    SNL makes fun of the President every week. It’s a good thing. I wish they’d go after Obama harder, of course…

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    It really depends on who is president. SNL goes a lot easier on Obama than it ever did on Bush.
  70. @Desiderius
    I used to tell the lefties who loved that phrase at a church I served that afflicting the comfortable was Satan's job and that I didn't imagine he needed the help. We were there to comfort the afflicted. Did wonders for the comity of the faithful.

    When Christ says, “They say hate your enemy…” I think he’s referring to a Greek saying, “Be a pleasure to your friends and a terror to your enemies.” The Greek version makes a lot more sense to me. Even Christ didn’t say that your enemy is not your enemy. Punishing freeloaders is as much a necessity in social organizations as is rewarding producers. Retributive and distributive justice.

    Adam Smith compared the preference for civility over anger to the public’s preference for the building of a palace to the building a prison, which is not based on the social good either project would do.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Those who assign themselves the role of afflicting the comfortable rarely train their sights on "freeloaders." Much more often the exact opposite.

    Nor do the truly afflicted often find much comfort in today's mainline churches.
  71. @Hersh
    Steve,
    My impression is Trudeau is nibbling around the edges of something this writer goes at (almost) explicitly https://twitter.com/cjwerleman Please look at some of his links. He is interested in "New Atheism," which seems to be in process of being taken over by neocons (i.e. Israel fanatics) just like the Republican party and flag waving patriotic rhetoric ("American" Enterprise Institue - Hah! "American" my foot).

    Charlie Hebdo was "Anti Theist" - HATING all religion; one Anti Theist big shot said that if given a choice between eliminating religion or rape from the world, he'd get rid of religion. The parents of the 3 murdered (gunshot to the back of the head - the media buried that) Muslim college students in North Carolina believe that neighbor was hopped up on Anti Theism, which, in reality, targets Muslims. Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoted on Fox News all the time. She wants a military war on Islam and was praised by Anders Bering Breivik.

    I've seen a Ron Reagan (the son) commercial for atheism several times now. I guess he is the goodie goodie face of it, the face for liberals. Why would atheism need commercials? Why would atheists need a community at all that could be targeted for discrimination? Who knows if you are an atheist?

    So, theres something else going on. And its the neocons. Did Gary Trudeau ever really take on sacred cows? Maybe he's trying to say something here. Will he have the courage to spit it all out? When he came to prominence in the Vietnam era, he undermined the war because it was going nowhere and futile but he didn't have the courage to take on worst of the war, that 2 - 3 million Vietnamese died for it. Now he's an old man and very rich and maybe he's always had some guilt about that.

    It’s kind of ironic–Reagan’s actual son Ron is the liberal, whereas the adopted son seems more conservative. Crazy, huh?

  72. @Scotty G. Vito
    I believe there's a distinction between the actual first-run Nazis, who were mockworthy ca. Looney Tunes and Hogan's Heroes, but imbued suddenly with extra gravitas at some point during the Clinton Administration, possibly overcompensating; and the NNs, i.e. poor-white bruiser types, who remain a source of stronger cognitive dissonance rarely deemed "funny" by the satire-making class (slagging on KKK or goths/Nordic-knickknacks folks doesn't count) -- the only example I remember is the idiotic biker gang in the 2nd of Clint Eastwood's chimpanzee road movies. That Skokie, IL march may be the watershed point as the last time neo's were out in the open and, thus, written off as bumbling rednecks. Certainly by the time of "Oz," "American History X," "Sons of Anarchy" and "Breaking Bad" they've been more often depicted as very frightening and even organized/intelligent in at least a tactical sense.

    As should be obvious to anyone, Hollywood is heavily Jewish, and Jews are terrified of Nazis.

    They were making fun of them in WW2 as a defense mechanism–the real Nazis overran half of Europe and were only stopped because Stalin was willing to kill 25 million of his own people to stop them. Neo-Nazis can deface the occasional synagogue and kill the occasional radio talk host, but they’re not nearly as organized–they tend to be from the absolute bottom of the white social and economic ladder. But they make good villains because it’s OK to hate Nazis, for the reason listed above.

    So their appearance in movies winds up being the opposite of the reality at the time.

    • Replies: @Hersh
    Real Nazis vs Neo Nazis --- there wouldn't be a History Channel without the real Nazis. Theres something kind of . . . glamorous? - whats the right word? about the real Nazis. People are fascinated by the Nazis.

    Neo Nazis don't have that quality at all.
    , @Joe Walker
    So it is ultimately the Jews who get to decide who is up and who is down.
  73. I guess “Punch” magazine was not successful at living up to its title.

  74. Neoconned [AKA "Paleolibertarian"] says:

    I remember when the powerless Bill, Hillary, their PR types like James Carville, along with most of the media’s help punched up as those mega powerful women in trailer parks for daring to accuse Bubba of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. The context of it taking place while sexual harassment was supposedly an epidemic of powerful white male bosses terrifying poor female employees helped put it into perspective. It helped set the stage for the later “war on women” that the GOP later launched against actual powerless women.

    It was a lot like the powerless gay CEO of Apple fighting against the all powerful pizza owner in small town flyover country.

  75. @Wilkey
    "Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were “punching down” when they did that."

    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at a religion whose members are an absolute majority in exactly one-fourth of the world's nations - 49 of 196 - and over 20% of the population in over a dozen more. And when they wield power, they wield it fiercely against non-Muslims.

    Fuck this 'religion of blue collar people.' It is a backwards, oppressive religion which deserves to be mocked.

    The Charlie Hebdo types want massive immigration from exotic countries – including Muslim countries – and they also demand the right to mock these people’s religion mercilessly. They want to bring in Muslims to push brooms, vote for their party and turn France into a post-Christian, post-national country and they also want Muslims to submit to their taunting; which they consider some sort of shock therapy I guess. In other words the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff wanted the impossible and it didn’t work out for them.

    The way I predict it will work out is the bobos will continue to make liberal-progressives noises but will make sure not to anger the Muslims. they thought they could tame their Muslim pets but couldn’t. There was a t-shirt worn in one of the vibrant suburbs of Paris that said “J’baiserai la France jusqu’à c’qu’elle m’aime”, or “I’ll f**k France ’till she loves me”. I don’t think their position could me made any more clear. Even so, Charlie Hebdo taunted and mocked anyone from the FN who pointed this sort of thing out. As far as I know, that’s still the policy of the surviving staff there. Brilliant.

  76. Not to brag, but a close cousin of mine created Donald Duck.

    And would it be inappropriate to know the zip code for Joan Walsh and some of our other notable anti-racists? Such as Bill Moyer, who pens scathing critiques of our racist culture from the ramparts of his 98% white neighborhood.

  77. I call b.s. on the story of the publisher dying and his son reinstating the strip. Way too convenient.

  78. @Wilkey
    I can tell you it is not just young liberals who seem not able to expend one minute critically analyzing what the media tells them about Muslims. Its at least a dozen times in the last 2 weeks that I’ve heard very nice people opine that George Bush was sincere about wanting to “give them” democracy and how the US just wanted to stop oppression of women in Muslim countries. “We” just didn’t understand how they’d “keep going back to their old ways.”

    This sounds to me like a very rational analysis of the situation. What's wrong with it, the assumption of George W. Bush's sincerity? That seems like a rather minor quibble.

    Either way, we did not have the power to give them - impose on them - a democracy they did not really want. The amount of violence that would've been required to do that would not have been worth the expense, and unlike Germany and Japan, we didn't have the moral authority to use that kind of violence against them.

    “This sounds to me like a very rational analysis of the situation. ”

    Personally, I’m skeptical of every story (narrative?) in the media or put out by government, HOWEVER, what you write would justify/explain/moralize ISIS violence because they’re violent in order to “give” paradise in the hereafter. That’s better than democracy.

    IMO, lots of paving the road to hell all around.

  79. @SFG
    As should be obvious to anyone, Hollywood is heavily Jewish, and Jews are terrified of Nazis.

    They were making fun of them in WW2 as a defense mechanism--the real Nazis overran half of Europe and were only stopped because Stalin was willing to kill 25 million of his own people to stop them. Neo-Nazis can deface the occasional synagogue and kill the occasional radio talk host, but they're not nearly as organized--they tend to be from the absolute bottom of the white social and economic ladder. But they make good villains because it's OK to hate Nazis, for the reason listed above.

    So their appearance in movies winds up being the opposite of the reality at the time.

    Real Nazis vs Neo Nazis — there wouldn’t be a History Channel without the real Nazis. Theres something kind of . . . glamorous? – whats the right word? about the real Nazis. People are fascinated by the Nazis.

    Neo Nazis don’t have that quality at all.

  80. @Anonymous
    He makes a great point. Until we live in an equal society, fee speech must be controlled in order to protect underprivileged groups

    And since an equal society is unobtainable, idealism simply becomes a formula for controlling rights, like speech. Want everlasting power over others? Become that person in charge of making something unobtainable occur. You’ll never be out of a job.

  81. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factor"] says:

    “Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.”

    Most satirists were targeting their social equals, not superiors.

    And to the extent that satire is about the witty mocking the witless, it was always a form of punching or slapping down.
    It was often about the smart rich mocking the dumb rich.

    Of course, Charlie Hebdo isn’t even satire. It’s just stupid trash.

    I’m for for free speech, but Trudeau is right that the French and Liberals are hypocritical in their defense of free speech. Hebdo itself was censorious against those who mocked Jews.

  82. “SFG says:

    You’re allowed to hate lower-class whites because they vote Republican.”

    You must not know many. A lot of lower-class whites vote Democratic.

    You’re allowed to hate lower-class whites because they’re lower-class whites.

  83. gruff says:
    April 12, 2015 at 4:05 am GMT

    Steve’s point(s) are obvious. Read and think carefully.

    I still don’t get it. Maybe I’m being stupid but somebody please spell it out for me. Restate the point of Steve’s criticism in your own words. If you can. I’m going to guess there will be a lot more disagreement than gruff expects. For instance, when you criticize Islam are you punching up or down? On the one hand, it is not politically correct to display Islamaphobia. On the other hand you can get yourself killed that way. Or again in the case of criticizing Jewish behavior. That’s not pc, it can get you fired, so how is that so different that criticizing Islam?

  84. @Steve Sailer
    Doonesbury's "Uncle Duke" satire on Hunter S. Thompson seemed pretty amusing to me until I finally got around to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is an amazing self-satirization. I realized then that Thompson had done all the hard work and Trudeau was just coasting. It's like if I started a poorly drawn comic strip starring Uncle Duck, in which a duck with a George Costanza-like personality engages in Daffy Duck-like misadventures. In fact, I should do that. I can probably draw about as well as Trudeau in 1971 and all the hard work has already been done in dreaming up Daffy Duck.

    So, I hereby trademark and copyright "Uncle Duck™."

    In the intro to one of his collections books Trudeau stated that the reason college students liked him so much was because he had the ability to seem to know a great deal about a topic without actually doing much work.

  85. Or maybe the only form of punching down is making fun of white people? Rednecks and hicks for example. They don’t fight back and there are no consequences.

    Then there is punching above your weight, but that is a different metaphor altogether.

    Punching up, punching down, wtf?

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    The weight class metaphor is actually a better one. It's the argument that the left is insincerely making in this case. The left doesn't mean it in any case, but what they are trying to convey is the idea that you don't pick on someone who can't fight back.
  86. @Mike Sylwester
    Which way was Trudeau punching when he published his comic strip about "frat boy monsters" in Sunday newspapers throughout the USA?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/12/29/doonesbury-and-the-u-va-campus-rape-strip-garry-trudeau-says-that-rolling-stones-flaws-didnt-change-point-of-yesterdays-comic/

    A satire of Trudeau’s UVA strip was linked in the comments there: http://imgur.com/7v3CPcK

  87. “black sea says:

    Neo-Nazis are certainly a minority and they’re pretty powerless. Would satirizing them cross a red line?”

    Given that most of them are probably informers for the FBI or the SPLC, perhaps satirizing them is punching up.

  88. Well,this is shaping up about as I predicted.Some people thought that elite Jews would rethink the whole Muslim immigration thing, but such was not to be.

    Trudeau is the weathervane for the PC crowd. He is signalling what the correct attitude is going to be.Satire on Muslims is verboten. Only satire on Euro Christians is to be allowed.

    And, of course, Jews are totally off-limits.Get the word out.

  89. @Harry Baldwin
    Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable.

    I've gotten to hate that expression, a favorite of pompous liberals. All it means is "we pander to those on our side and ridicule those who aren't." After all, who is more comfortable in America today than the liberal? And how often does he find himself afflicted by satire?

    I wrote on Doonesbury about a decade ago. http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2006/06/influence-of-doonesbury.html

    I never connected it to that phrase about afflicting, but you’re right. It’s very big in mainstream churches these last few decades.

  90. @Anonymous
    He makes a great point. Until we live in an equal society, fee speech must be controlled in order to protect underprivileged groups

    He makes a great point. Until we live in an equal society, fee speech must be controlled in order to protect underprivileged groups

    That’s a logical and tautological impossibility. If the speech of others is controlled for a group’s benefit, it is by definition privileged.

    The obvious solution is not to have equal societies. It is to have separate societies, so that every group can have its own society.

  91. Between Trudeau lecturing us on the acceptable bounds of humor and the editorial board punching at the serious side of the business, http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/a-new-phase-in-anti-obama-attacks.html?_r=0
    I wonder if we’re entering a new phase.

    • Replies: @countenance
    If only the Stupid Party was a half as racistly insurrectionist as the NYT ed board thinks they are.
  92. @Steve Sailer
    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    - They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    - They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    - They aren't usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov's name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    - They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they'd like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    A few more remarks on satire:

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems “The Vanity of Human Wishes” and “London,” but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be “pure.”

    5. Liberals tend to be much better at the related, but distinct, genre of comedy, where you gently poke fun at the ridiculousness of much daily life. The tradition of liberal comedy goes from highs like Moliere on to Henry Fielding on to Wilde on to Bill Hicks and Louis CK. When Wilde, Hicks or Louis CK are riffing on cucumber sandwiches, smoking or diaper changing (respectively), they’re brilliant. But whenever they turn to political subjects, they suddenly become the most utterly crashing bores. Hicks’ attempts at political satire are even lamer than Trudeau’s.

    • Replies: @Sam Haysom
    This last idea perfectly captures my issues with the Onion. Their stuff poking fun at the ridiculousness of certain aspects of life is brilliant, but when the lapse into pure satire its gets lazy and not very subtle too strawmanesque.
    , @Boomstick
    Part of satire is the comic distinction between everyday behavior and an more moral alternative. Almost any moral understanding that's widely held is conservative, more or less by definition. This gives conservative satirists a head start.

    It's difficult to satirize a nihilist society because the author can't make the comic distinction between everyday behavior and the ideal. Unless they're satirizing the secret bourgeois nature of the targets. Say, by mocking PoMo theorists who secretly read Austen for pleasure.
    , @syonredux

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems “The Vanity of Human Wishes” and “London,” but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be “pure.”
     
    All very much true of Ambrose Bierce:

    1.Very much the rationalist/ materialist (cf his robot story,"Moxon's Master")

    2. Trafficking in disgust: Practically everywhere in Bierce, from his Civil War tales (cf "Chickamauga") to his acid definitions in The Devil's Dictionary

    3. Technical Proficiency : Bierce prided himself on the "Attic purity" of his diction.Indeed, one of the reasons why he eschewed novels was due to their slovenly aspect.

    CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
     
    The Devil's Dictionary
  93. @Steve Sailer
    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    - They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    - They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    - They aren't usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov's name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    - They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they'd like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    No, you’ve got it.

  94. I’ve always thought Trudeau was a smug, privileged, bullying asshole. He made sure that his frequently unfair and often vicious attacks were aimed at people who could pose no threat to him and he never, ever satirized the Duckspeak of his birth cohort. He was the original model of the SJW, with all the nasty accessories already built in.

  95. @International Jew
    Between Trudeau lecturing us on the acceptable bounds of humor and the editorial board punching at the serious side of the business, http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/a-new-phase-in-anti-obama-attacks.html?_r=0
    I wonder if we're entering a new phase.

    If only the Stupid Party was a half as racistly insurrectionist as the NYT ed board thinks they are.

  96. @Scotty G. Vito
    Thanks for the splainer. Hey, are you by any chance related to the crime dog

    I am in fact him.

  97. @Luke Lea
    Or maybe the only form of punching down is making fun of white people? Rednecks and hicks for example. They don't fight back and there are no consequences.

    Then there is punching above your weight, but that is a different metaphor altogether.

    Punching up, punching down, wtf?

    The weight class metaphor is actually a better one. It’s the argument that the left is insincerely making in this case. The left doesn’t mean it in any case, but what they are trying to convey is the idea that you don’t pick on someone who can’t fight back.

  98. @Thursday
    A few more remarks on satire:

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems "The Vanity of Human Wishes" and "London," but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be "pure."

    5. Liberals tend to be much better at the related, but distinct, genre of comedy, where you gently poke fun at the ridiculousness of much daily life. The tradition of liberal comedy goes from highs like Moliere on to Henry Fielding on to Wilde on to Bill Hicks and Louis CK. When Wilde, Hicks or Louis CK are riffing on cucumber sandwiches, smoking or diaper changing (respectively), they're brilliant. But whenever they turn to political subjects, they suddenly become the most utterly crashing bores. Hicks' attempts at political satire are even lamer than Trudeau's.

    This last idea perfectly captures my issues with the Onion. Their stuff poking fun at the ridiculousness of certain aspects of life is brilliant, but when the lapse into pure satire its gets lazy and not very subtle too strawmanesque.

  99. @Thursday
    A few more remarks on satire:

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems "The Vanity of Human Wishes" and "London," but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be "pure."

    5. Liberals tend to be much better at the related, but distinct, genre of comedy, where you gently poke fun at the ridiculousness of much daily life. The tradition of liberal comedy goes from highs like Moliere on to Henry Fielding on to Wilde on to Bill Hicks and Louis CK. When Wilde, Hicks or Louis CK are riffing on cucumber sandwiches, smoking or diaper changing (respectively), they're brilliant. But whenever they turn to political subjects, they suddenly become the most utterly crashing bores. Hicks' attempts at political satire are even lamer than Trudeau's.

    Part of satire is the comic distinction between everyday behavior and an more moral alternative. Almost any moral understanding that’s widely held is conservative, more or less by definition. This gives conservative satirists a head start.

    It’s difficult to satirize a nihilist society because the author can’t make the comic distinction between everyday behavior and the ideal. Unless they’re satirizing the secret bourgeois nature of the targets. Say, by mocking PoMo theorists who secretly read Austen for pleasure.

  100. For the record, Trudeau’s politics don’t reflect those of his parents, much less the class he was born into.

    http://racehist.blogspot.com/2015/04/garry-trudeau-weak-sensitive-boy.html

    • Replies: @The Wasp's sting
    The site referenced is interesting, and I am glad to have been made aware of it.
    Nevertheless, its author is seriously wrong about the social position of Trudeau's family.
    The Trudeaus were doctors? Well, yes, but eminently so; well-educated, well-married (T's grandfather married the daughter of a judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court), and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s. A medical dynasty, rather like the Mayos.
    To call Thomas Channing Moore (Trudeau's maternal grandfather) "a sales manager and Republican politician", as though he managed the local shoe shop and had a seat on some local school board, is laughable. He was a manager for IBM and a member of the New York State senate. His own great grandfather was the Episcopal bishop of Maryland, and his maternal grandfather was Treasurer of the United States. Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler.
    Neither family were at the very top, they were neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers, but they can fairly be said to have been part of the upper echelons of New York society.
    That they seem to have culminated in the richly unfunny and ludicrouly over-rated Gary Trudeau is just one more example of America's current futility.
  101. Trudeau is the epitome of my definition of a modern, American liberal. He’s anti-establishment, in all the proper, establishment approved ways.

  102. “Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence”

    or, as I’ve read anyway, if it’s directed and jews…….wan’t their a trial that same week in that regard?

  103. @Steve Sailer
    Trudeau has been coasting ever since Nixon resigned.

    Hunter S. Thompson was another who lost his way once Nixon resigned.

    Berke Breathed’s Bloom County was what Trudeau thought he was – edgy, irreverent, actually funny – at least up until the last year of the strip, at which point Breathed had the sense to get out of the daily strip business.

    But the satirist of that era who never sold out was Joe Bob Briggs, the nom de plume of Dallas Times Herald journalist John Bloom. He even got fired for his art – a hilarious takedown of We Are the World. Je suis Joe Bob!

    • Replies: @Boomstick
    HST's collection of letters from the 50's and 60's ("Proud Highway") is very good; he was a sharp writer and not easily pigeon-holed. I can't imagine him surviving for long in today's twitter economy. He would have inevitably violated some taboo or other and been booted out of polite society.

    Unfortunately he started believing his own copy and living and writing like his own self-satire, complete with epic drug consumption.

    Breathed copied a lot from Trudeau in the early years--he admits it--but developed his own voice and became quite talented.

  104. Float like a turd..sting your nose like a pungent turd

  105. @n/a
    For the record, Trudeau's politics don't reflect those of his parents, much less the class he was born into.

    http://racehist.blogspot.com/2015/04/garry-trudeau-weak-sensitive-boy.html

    The site referenced is interesting, and I am glad to have been made aware of it.
    Nevertheless, its author is seriously wrong about the social position of Trudeau’s family.
    The Trudeaus were doctors? Well, yes, but eminently so; well-educated, well-married (T’s grandfather married the daughter of a judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court), and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s. A medical dynasty, rather like the Mayos.
    To call Thomas Channing Moore (Trudeau’s maternal grandfather) “a sales manager and Republican politician”, as though he managed the local shoe shop and had a seat on some local school board, is laughable. He was a manager for IBM and a member of the New York State senate. His own great grandfather was the Episcopal bishop of Maryland, and his maternal grandfather was Treasurer of the United States. Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler.
    Neither family were at the very top, they were neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers, but they can fairly be said to have been part of the upper echelons of New York society.
    That they seem to have culminated in the richly unfunny and ludicrouly over-rated Gary Trudeau is just one more example of America’s current futility.

    • Replies: @n/a
    "and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s"

    Along with thousands of other families.


    "Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler."

    Inflation calculators put that at something like $2.2MM in 2015 dollars. You can look up the house: 12 Elm Rock Road, Bronxville, NY. It's still there http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12-Elm-Rock-Rd-Bronxville-NY-10708/66527848_zpid/ , and even after rampant housing price inflation in the NYC area, zillow's current estimate is $4.7MM. It's a large, upper middle class suburban house -- towards the upper end of that range but not unlike thousands of others. It's not The Breakers.

    As for servants, there was a large supply of immigrant labor in the early decades of the 20th century, and millions were employed in domestic service. It's not uncommon to see even middle-middle class families with a live-in servant. Having two, as the Moore's did in 1920 and 1930, certainly does not set them apart as anything other than upper middle class.

    Again, I'm not saying they were not part of an elite. I'm saying they were not as unusual as some people imagine: there are thousands of other people born in the 1940s/1950s who came from families with more money and greater social prominence. If you want to understand these people, look at a representative sample. Don't hold up Garry Trudeau as the type specimen.
  106. @Thursday
    A few more remarks on satire:

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems "The Vanity of Human Wishes" and "London," but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be "pure."

    5. Liberals tend to be much better at the related, but distinct, genre of comedy, where you gently poke fun at the ridiculousness of much daily life. The tradition of liberal comedy goes from highs like Moliere on to Henry Fielding on to Wilde on to Bill Hicks and Louis CK. When Wilde, Hicks or Louis CK are riffing on cucumber sandwiches, smoking or diaper changing (respectively), they're brilliant. But whenever they turn to political subjects, they suddenly become the most utterly crashing bores. Hicks' attempts at political satire are even lamer than Trudeau's.

    1. Great satirists tend to be right wing, but they also tend to be highly rationalist and much less religious than the average right winger. There are exceptions, like Waugh.

    2. Which is strange, because, IIRC, the psych literature says conservatives and religious people tend not to be terribly funny, or at least not very good at generating humour.

    3. Satire is one of the few art forms that traffics in disgust. Usually, disgust just kills any positive aesthetic response.

    4. Disgust aversion may be why specifically religious conservatives turn away from satire. For example, Samuel Johnson could have been a great satirist (see his poems “The Vanity of Human Wishes” and “London,” but he was too nice of a guy to really wallow in all the disgusting stuff.

    5. Satirists tend to be known for their technical proficiency as writers. Their diction is said to be “pure.”

    All very much true of Ambrose Bierce:

    1.Very much the rationalist/ materialist (cf his robot story,”Moxon’s Master”)

    2. Trafficking in disgust: Practically everywhere in Bierce, from his Civil War tales (cf “Chickamauga”) to his acid definitions in The Devil’s Dictionary

    3. Technical Proficiency : Bierce prided himself on the “Attic purity” of his diction.Indeed, one of the reasons why he eschewed novels was due to their slovenly aspect.

    CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.

    The Devil’s Dictionary

  107. @David
    When Christ says, "They say hate your enemy..." I think he's referring to a Greek saying, "Be a pleasure to your friends and a terror to your enemies." The Greek version makes a lot more sense to me. Even Christ didn't say that your enemy is not your enemy. Punishing freeloaders is as much a necessity in social organizations as is rewarding producers. Retributive and distributive justice.

    Adam Smith compared the preference for civility over anger to the public's preference for the building of a palace to the building a prison, which is not based on the social good either project would do.

    Those who assign themselves the role of afflicting the comfortable rarely train their sights on “freeloaders.” Much more often the exact opposite.

    Nor do the truly afflicted often find much comfort in today’s mainline churches.

  108. @Steve Sailer
    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    - They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    - They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    - They aren't usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov's name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    - They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they'd like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    Thursday and Steve, I agree that the idea that satire is about “punching up” is ridiculous. In fact, according to the original definition of the term, satire tends to be about “punching down,” although not invariably so. Part of the problem is some confusion over the definition of the word “satire”. I believe the classical definition was that satire is a form of comedy whose creator holds people to strict standards of behavior and ridiculed them for falling short of those standards.

    According to that definition, a standard subject for satire would be a man who has risen in the world and apes the manners of his betters but does not actually know how to behave in society, and so boasts, overdresses, eats peas off his knife, and so forth. Moliere’s Le bourgeois gentilhomme is a good example of a satirical play. However, satire of this kind is only possible in societies that have a clearly defined code of morals and manners, accepted by all who belong to it. In 17th-century France, the noblesse of both the courts and the sword shared such a common code. Moliere, in mocking those who aspired to join the nobility, was not a “liberal” comedian but a conservative one, if by conservative we mean one who upholds the existing power structure of society.

    Waugh pointed out somewhere that the modern Western world, certainly since WWI and perhaps earlier, was simply too fluid and too “diverse” in its manners and moral codes to be able to produce satire: against what standard of manners and morals could people be held up to mockery? he asked.

    The strange thing is that while his view of the impossibility of satire was undoubtedly right for his own time, I’m not sure that it is in our own. The New Class of bureaucrats/journalists/academics etc. has a very strict and severe code of manners at the least, although its morality is perhaps fuzzier. One might expect, then, following the classical definition of satire, that they would be busy mocking anyone who fails to follow their codes of speech and behavior, especially if such a person aspires to join them. And guess what? That is exactly what they do. So I suppose Garry Trudeau, Jon Stewart, et al are satirists after all, although not particularly funny ones, and not according to the definition of the term that they would prefer to use themselves.

  109. @Steve Sailer
    Trudeau has been coasting ever since Nixon resigned.

    The Don McClean of cartoonists?

  110. @Steve Sailer
    Doonesbury's "Uncle Duke" satire on Hunter S. Thompson seemed pretty amusing to me until I finally got around to reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which is an amazing self-satirization. I realized then that Thompson had done all the hard work and Trudeau was just coasting. It's like if I started a poorly drawn comic strip starring Uncle Duck, in which a duck with a George Costanza-like personality engages in Daffy Duck-like misadventures. In fact, I should do that. I can probably draw about as well as Trudeau in 1971 and all the hard work has already been done in dreaming up Daffy Duck.

    So, I hereby trademark and copyright "Uncle Duck™."
  111. Abe says: • Website

    How in the world were Shakespeare’s “comedies” (I use the term loosely, given how monumentally unfunny some of his lesser works are) about anything but punching down? Falstaff, Malvolio, Caliban, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, Polonius, Bottom & The Mechanicals.

    And don’t even try to pretend, Trudeau you thin-Lipped, too-proud-to-fight neo-Puritan, that the Three Stooges, Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, Hank Hill, and Mammie Two-Shoes aren’t hilarious.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How much if anything in Shakespeare is a Safe Space for today's SJWs?
  112. As Voltaire put it: To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I don't think Voltaire said that, but it's a good one.
  113. @Abe
    How in the world were Shakespeare's "comedies" (I use the term loosely, given how monumentally unfunny some of his lesser works are) about anything but punching down? Falstaff, Malvolio, Caliban, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, Polonius, Bottom & The Mechanicals.

    And don't even try to pretend, Trudeau you thin-Lipped, too-proud-to-fight neo-Puritan, that the Three Stooges, Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, Hank Hill, and Mammie Two-Shoes aren't hilarious.

    How much if anything in Shakespeare is a Safe Space for today’s SJWs?

  114. @Joe Walker
    As Voltaire put it: To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

    I don’t think Voltaire said that, but it’s a good one.

  115. @Cagey Beast
    Charlie Hebdo was taking shots at the religion of mostly blue collar people when they mocked Islam in France. They were "punching down" when they did that.

    The phrase “blue collar” implies that they work for a living. The way I understand it, the average Muslim in France is a welfare recipient and therefore does not work for a living but lives off of people who do.

  116. @SFG
    You're allowed to hate lower-class whites because they vote Republican.

    Particularly if they are heterosexual Christian males.

  117. @SFG
    I'm gonna disagree here. Stewart's a rich entertainment guy, but he wasn't President of the United States. The POTUS is the most powerful man in the world, and hence is always 'up'.

    SNL makes fun of the President every week. It's a good thing. I wish they'd go after Obama harder, of course...

    It really depends on who is president. SNL goes a lot easier on Obama than it ever did on Bush.

  118. @SFG
    As should be obvious to anyone, Hollywood is heavily Jewish, and Jews are terrified of Nazis.

    They were making fun of them in WW2 as a defense mechanism--the real Nazis overran half of Europe and were only stopped because Stalin was willing to kill 25 million of his own people to stop them. Neo-Nazis can deface the occasional synagogue and kill the occasional radio talk host, but they're not nearly as organized--they tend to be from the absolute bottom of the white social and economic ladder. But they make good villains because it's OK to hate Nazis, for the reason listed above.

    So their appearance in movies winds up being the opposite of the reality at the time.

    So it is ultimately the Jews who get to decide who is up and who is down.

  119. @Hersh
    Steve,
    My impression is Trudeau is nibbling around the edges of something this writer goes at (almost) explicitly https://twitter.com/cjwerleman Please look at some of his links. He is interested in "New Atheism," which seems to be in process of being taken over by neocons (i.e. Israel fanatics) just like the Republican party and flag waving patriotic rhetoric ("American" Enterprise Institue - Hah! "American" my foot).

    Charlie Hebdo was "Anti Theist" - HATING all religion; one Anti Theist big shot said that if given a choice between eliminating religion or rape from the world, he'd get rid of religion. The parents of the 3 murdered (gunshot to the back of the head - the media buried that) Muslim college students in North Carolina believe that neighbor was hopped up on Anti Theism, which, in reality, targets Muslims. Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoted on Fox News all the time. She wants a military war on Islam and was praised by Anders Bering Breivik.

    I've seen a Ron Reagan (the son) commercial for atheism several times now. I guess he is the goodie goodie face of it, the face for liberals. Why would atheism need commercials? Why would atheists need a community at all that could be targeted for discrimination? Who knows if you are an atheist?

    So, theres something else going on. And its the neocons. Did Gary Trudeau ever really take on sacred cows? Maybe he's trying to say something here. Will he have the courage to spit it all out? When he came to prominence in the Vietnam era, he undermined the war because it was going nowhere and futile but he didn't have the courage to take on worst of the war, that 2 - 3 million Vietnamese died for it. Now he's an old man and very rich and maybe he's always had some guilt about that.

    “Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is promoted on Fox News all the time. She wants a military war on Islam and was praised by Anders Bering Breivik.”

    I’ll stand up for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I saw her on C-Span the other day at the National Press Club and she comes across as great, really smart, sharp, doesn’t pull punches, really effective critic of Islam. So I don’t know what you are talking about.

  120. @cthulhu
    Hunter S. Thompson was another who lost his way once Nixon resigned.

    Berke Breathed's Bloom County was what Trudeau thought he was - edgy, irreverent, actually funny - at least up until the last year of the strip, at which point Breathed had the sense to get out of the daily strip business.

    But the satirist of that era who never sold out was Joe Bob Briggs, the nom de plume of Dallas Times Herald journalist John Bloom. He even got fired for his art - a hilarious takedown of We Are the World. Je suis Joe Bob!

    HST’s collection of letters from the 50’s and 60’s (“Proud Highway”) is very good; he was a sharp writer and not easily pigeon-holed. I can’t imagine him surviving for long in today’s twitter economy. He would have inevitably violated some taboo or other and been booted out of polite society.

    Unfortunately he started believing his own copy and living and writing like his own self-satire, complete with epic drug consumption.

    Breathed copied a lot from Trudeau in the early years–he admits it–but developed his own voice and became quite talented.

  121. n/a says: • Website
    @The Wasp's sting
    The site referenced is interesting, and I am glad to have been made aware of it.
    Nevertheless, its author is seriously wrong about the social position of Trudeau's family.
    The Trudeaus were doctors? Well, yes, but eminently so; well-educated, well-married (T's grandfather married the daughter of a judge of the New Jersey Supreme Court), and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s. A medical dynasty, rather like the Mayos.
    To call Thomas Channing Moore (Trudeau's maternal grandfather) "a sales manager and Republican politician", as though he managed the local shoe shop and had a seat on some local school board, is laughable. He was a manager for IBM and a member of the New York State senate. His own great grandfather was the Episcopal bishop of Maryland, and his maternal grandfather was Treasurer of the United States. Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler.
    Neither family were at the very top, they were neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers, but they can fairly be said to have been part of the upper echelons of New York society.
    That they seem to have culminated in the richly unfunny and ludicrouly over-rated Gary Trudeau is just one more example of America's current futility.

    “and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s”

    Along with thousands of other families.

    “Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler.”

    Inflation calculators put that at something like $2.2MM in 2015 dollars. You can look up the house: 12 Elm Rock Road, Bronxville, NY. It’s still there http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12-Elm-Rock-Rd-Bronxville-NY-10708/66527848_zpid/ , and even after rampant housing price inflation in the NYC area, zillow’s current estimate is $4.7MM. It’s a large, upper middle class suburban house — towards the upper end of that range but not unlike thousands of others. It’s not The Breakers.

    As for servants, there was a large supply of immigrant labor in the early decades of the 20th century, and millions were employed in domestic service. It’s not uncommon to see even middle-middle class families with a live-in servant. Having two, as the Moore’s did in 1920 and 1930, certainly does not set them apart as anything other than upper middle class.

    Again, I’m not saying they were not part of an elite. I’m saying they were not as unusual as some people imagine: there are thousands of other people born in the 1940s/1950s who came from families with more money and greater social prominence. If you want to understand these people, look at a representative sample. Don’t hold up Garry Trudeau as the type specimen.

    • Replies: @The Wasp's sting
    I think you and I define upper as opposed to upper middle class differently. Leaving that aside, we are in agreement: I said that his families are neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers; you, that the Moore place was not the Breakers. We are making the same point.
    I would love to believe that you are right about "representative samples". But I know all too many of the same class (however we want to describe it) and background who are just like Trudeau. Among my first cousins (all , like me, more or less of T's age) are graduates of Lawrenceville, Choate, Miss Porters, and Dobbs Ferry. All are exactly like T in their smug and unsufferable liberalism. One or two became nearly as well known as he did, and I fear that they are the representative sample, rather than the occasional outrider who still votes Republican (but only for the softer, country club type, mind; in their case, the Creek in Locust Valley).

    A word about servants. Americans were generally uncomfortable with large numbers of them. My grandfather, an Englishman, last lived in London in the late 1920s. He ran a household with twelve servants, all of whom lived in. When he returned to New York in 1928 he very happily settled in to his new house with a mere two. His brother in law, an investment banker with an income of a million a year, lived it up with three, and he resided variously in triplexes and 20 room mansions up and down Park and Fifth, as the mood took him.
    My point is merely that a large number of servants was reserved either for the very old fashioned (another, elderly and widowed relation, had seven) or the very, very rich (the Rockefeller townhouse listing in the 1930 census has an entire page full of servants, some twenty-five).

    And a further word about the Social Register. It is today of course a joke, but it did have real value up into the 1950s. The New York City edition was the first (1887) and was followed by Boston, Philadelphia, and a number of other cities, even, weirdly, Buffalo. All of these volumes are slim, but for that of New York. Even if the number of families covered was in the thousands (which it wasn't) this would hardly be surprising in a city with a population in 1930 of nearly seven million. The SR were, back then, a reasonably accurate description of the families generally recognised as belonging to the upper classes of the cities covered. It would be a mistake to neglect them.

  122. I have never found Doonesbury funny, even when I was young and sympathetic to Trudeau’s politics. He always had that insufferable air of superiority that us Gen-Xers hated about our Boomer parents.

    And “punching up?” Please. In Garry Trudeau’s dreams. Since Cronkite retired, Doonesbury strips have been the closest thing to ex cathedra pronouncements for the liberal media establishment. That’s why I found them unfunny even when I agreed with the politics: Doonesbury strips read like Yankee liberal sermons. Trudeau wasn’t punching up — he was a clergyman preaching from the pulpit.

    Trudeau really deserves Barack Obama, who really sums up the entire Doonesbury worldview. Obama is the Christ to Trudeau’s Isaiah.

    It’s telling that Bloom County, which started out as a more-or-less explicit Doonesbury rip-off, became much funnier and more beloved. Unlike Trudeau, Berke Breathed actually wanted to make his readers laugh — not save their souls. Doonesbury is Jack Chick for highborn liberals.

  123. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Among the many absurd things Trudeau says here, this stood out for me:

    “My years in college had given me the completely false impression that there were no constraints, that it was safe for an artist to comment on volatile cultural and political issues in public. In college, there’s no down side. In the real world, there is.”

    Is it possible Trudeau does not see anything? It is precisely in college today that there is a terrible down side for anyone advocating free speech, far more so than in society at large. Even though the college totalitarian mood is seeping in all too far into “the real world” – as Trudeau’s own clarion call for self-censorship here makes all too painfully clear.

  124. @Steve Sailer
    From looking at lists of famous satirists down through history, a few common tendencies seem evident:

    - They tend to believe they are superior individuals

    - They often are, although perhaps not quite as much as they assume

    - They aren't usually particularly nice people (I saw Chekhov's name on one list of satirists, and it stands out because everybody has nice things to say about him)

    - They tend to be relatively privileged by background, although not perhaps as much as they'd like (Al Capp stood out from one list for rising above a difficult childhood, but then who has heard of Al Capp these days?)

    I may be generalizing from Waugh too much, but his personality seems to exemplify a lot of the traits of major satirists.

    One more thing, this time specifically concerned with Waugh rather than satire. Waugh may not have been a particularly nice man, but he was much beloved by his friends and even by his enemies, or rather by people whom he had excoriated publicly such that they *ought* to have been his enemies. Stephen Spender was something of a model of the Social Justice Warrior long before the internet, and Waugh was ferociously rude to him in print on occasion. Yet Spender admired him to the point of being positively obsequious, in a way that was much to Spender’s credit, if you read the account of one unfortunate dinner he gave for Waugh, cited in various biographies. The quality of Waugh’s writing and (I think) the fact that he was exceptionally self-critical gave him a moral authority that was rare in literary circles in mid-century Britain.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.

    Waugh could be clinically ruthless toward his own views.
  125. Gary, when the pills wear off you’re going to feel really badly about having punched down to insult murdered cartoonists.

  126. @PatrickH
    One more thing, this time specifically concerned with Waugh rather than satire. Waugh may not have been a particularly nice man, but he was much beloved by his friends and even by his enemies, or rather by people whom he had excoriated publicly such that they *ought* to have been his enemies. Stephen Spender was something of a model of the Social Justice Warrior long before the internet, and Waugh was ferociously rude to him in print on occasion. Yet Spender admired him to the point of being positively obsequious, in a way that was much to Spender's credit, if you read the account of one unfortunate dinner he gave for Waugh, cited in various biographies. The quality of Waugh's writing and (I think) the fact that he was exceptionally self-critical gave him a moral authority that was rare in literary circles in mid-century Britain.

    Thanks.

    Waugh could be clinically ruthless toward his own views.

  127. @n/a
    "and included in the New York City Social Register from at least the 1930s"

    Along with thousands of other families.


    "Although not in the Social Register, the family was highly regarded and lived very grandly indeed: the Moore house in Bronxville is listed at $160,000 in the 1930 census (a huge sum for the time), and the staff included a butler."

    Inflation calculators put that at something like $2.2MM in 2015 dollars. You can look up the house: 12 Elm Rock Road, Bronxville, NY. It's still there http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/12-Elm-Rock-Rd-Bronxville-NY-10708/66527848_zpid/ , and even after rampant housing price inflation in the NYC area, zillow's current estimate is $4.7MM. It's a large, upper middle class suburban house -- towards the upper end of that range but not unlike thousands of others. It's not The Breakers.

    As for servants, there was a large supply of immigrant labor in the early decades of the 20th century, and millions were employed in domestic service. It's not uncommon to see even middle-middle class families with a live-in servant. Having two, as the Moore's did in 1920 and 1930, certainly does not set them apart as anything other than upper middle class.

    Again, I'm not saying they were not part of an elite. I'm saying they were not as unusual as some people imagine: there are thousands of other people born in the 1940s/1950s who came from families with more money and greater social prominence. If you want to understand these people, look at a representative sample. Don't hold up Garry Trudeau as the type specimen.

    I think you and I define upper as opposed to upper middle class differently. Leaving that aside, we are in agreement: I said that his families are neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers; you, that the Moore place was not the Breakers. We are making the same point.
    I would love to believe that you are right about “representative samples”. But I know all too many of the same class (however we want to describe it) and background who are just like Trudeau. Among my first cousins (all , like me, more or less of T’s age) are graduates of Lawrenceville, Choate, Miss Porters, and Dobbs Ferry. All are exactly like T in their smug and unsufferable liberalism. One or two became nearly as well known as he did, and I fear that they are the representative sample, rather than the occasional outrider who still votes Republican (but only for the softer, country club type, mind; in their case, the Creek in Locust Valley).

    A word about servants. Americans were generally uncomfortable with large numbers of them. My grandfather, an Englishman, last lived in London in the late 1920s. He ran a household with twelve servants, all of whom lived in. When he returned to New York in 1928 he very happily settled in to his new house with a mere two. His brother in law, an investment banker with an income of a million a year, lived it up with three, and he resided variously in triplexes and 20 room mansions up and down Park and Fifth, as the mood took him.
    My point is merely that a large number of servants was reserved either for the very old fashioned (another, elderly and widowed relation, had seven) or the very, very rich (the Rockefeller townhouse listing in the 1930 census has an entire page full of servants, some twenty-five).

    And a further word about the Social Register. It is today of course a joke, but it did have real value up into the 1950s. The New York City edition was the first (1887) and was followed by Boston, Philadelphia, and a number of other cities, even, weirdly, Buffalo. All of these volumes are slim, but for that of New York. Even if the number of families covered was in the thousands (which it wasn’t) this would hardly be surprising in a city with a population in 1930 of nearly seven million. The SR were, back then, a reasonably accurate description of the families generally recognised as belonging to the upper classes of the cities covered. It would be a mistake to neglect them.

    • Replies: @n/a

    "But I know all too many of the same class (however we want to describe it) and background who are just like Trudeau. Among my first cousins (all , like me, more or less of T’s age) are graduates of Lawrenceville, Choate, Miss Porters, and Dobbs Ferry. All are exactly like T in their smug and unsufferable liberalism. One or two became nearly as well known as he did, and I fear that they are the representative sample, rather than the occasional outrider who still votes Republican (but only for the softer, country club type, mind; in their case, the Creek in Locust Valley)."
     
    I'm a generation younger than you and Trudeau. I did not go to school in the northeast, but went to one of the older private schools in the region I grew up in. I'd estimate the students broke down something like:

    10% upper class

    20% old upper middle class

    40% new/recent upper middle class

    30% middle/working class

    Around 20% were legacies. Something like 30% were Jewish or non-white. No other school in my region had an appreciably higher concentration of upper class / old upper middle class kids, and nothing I know about northeastern schools of the sort you mention leads me to believe the situation has been much different there over the past 50 years. If anything I think it's tended to be worse, with higher proportions of Jewish and non-white students, and with many of these institutions having been captured by resentful/activist/leftist faculty.

    As for definitions, there are no hard borders and people will have different subjective ideas about class. But when I say "upper class", I'm thinking of people whose families have been prominent in the city or region for at least a century or so and have in many cases been major donors to the school and other local institutions; the types whose families still have houses in the country and still play polo, or at least still ride horses; whose mothers still organize charity balls; who inherited significant wealth, or had recent ancestors who did; etc. The old upper middle class (the children of doctors / lawyers / small business owners who are also children of the same) are those whose families may have been around for at least as long, and who comfortably interact with and in many cases are related to those I'd call upper class, but whose social positions depend on working for a living and who partake less often in archaic pastimes. I don't think either is better or worse, but the second category is much larger than the first category and more readily subject to the pressures of reverse assimilation, so the vast majority of the relative handful of token, alleged "upper class WASP" leftists we hear about fall into the second category, if that.

    Anyway, if we're dealing in anecdotes, the trend I've always observed is clear: people I'd call upper class or old upper middle class are considerably less likely to be liberal than first or second generation (white) upper middle class, considerably more likely to have an intact sense of history and identity, and considerably more given to at least occasional voicing of reactionary thought and casual racism/anti-semitism. This has held true for both the people I went to school with and the people I know from other parts of the country, including the northeast.

    As probably goes without saying, the Jews I've known have tended to be yet farther to the left than non-Jewish white members of the new upper middle class, and the most leftwing teacher and students at my school were Jewish.

    So, no, I don't think your cousins are representative, and however far left this class may have fallen in the northeast, I have no doubt that on average it remains to the right of pretty much everyone else in the region. Selection and self-selection (and reverse assimilation beyond whatever has been experienced by the class as a whole) mean those members who do come to public attention in areas dominated by the left (including the media, academia, and, in the northeast, politics) will not in fact be representative of the class they were born into.

    The available objective data supports my impressions:



    As with the Forbes 400 sample, I used the percentage of political contributions to Republicans versus Democrats as the basic measure of political behavior and ideology. 9 Figure 3 shows the difference in political partisanship between wealthy persons listed in the Social Register and those not listed for each of four years. In 1956, the election year that coincided with the publication of The New American Right , the old rich (those listed in the Social Register ) are shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. In 1972, the election year preceding Kirkpatrick Sale’s (1975) popularization of the Yankee-Cowboy version of the old money liberalism thesis, the old rich are again shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. In 1980, the year in which Ronald Reagan’s election was heralded as a victory for the reputedly reactionary nouveaux riches, the old rich are again shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. These differences in political partisanship are similar in magnitude to those found in the more recent 1995–1997 sample of the Forbes 400 richest Americans.10 The consistency of these findings suggests that the relative conservatism of old money has been a stable feature of American political life for at least the last forty years.


    http://racehist.blogspot.com/2009/01/old-rich-more-conservative-than-new.html

     On the Social Register: I agree that it can serve as a useful, objective indicator on questions like this, particularly for the period you mention (with the understanding the "upper class" defined this way will obviously not be perfectly concordant the "upper class" defined some other way). But I'm fairly certain I'm right: the NY Social Register included thousands of nuclear families (I don't know how many distinct surnames) from the outset, and there was no period when it did not include thousands of families.

  128. This was a perfect take down. Thank you.

  129. Let’s see… it’s inherently evil to punch down. So when Sacha Baron Cohen made all those jokes about Kazakhs and Poles and Romanian Gypsies, he, being a good and proper liberal, was punching up at the powerful. Good to keep in mind.

  130. n/a says: • Website
    @The Wasp's sting
    I think you and I define upper as opposed to upper middle class differently. Leaving that aside, we are in agreement: I said that his families are neither Roosevelts nor Rockefellers; you, that the Moore place was not the Breakers. We are making the same point.
    I would love to believe that you are right about "representative samples". But I know all too many of the same class (however we want to describe it) and background who are just like Trudeau. Among my first cousins (all , like me, more or less of T's age) are graduates of Lawrenceville, Choate, Miss Porters, and Dobbs Ferry. All are exactly like T in their smug and unsufferable liberalism. One or two became nearly as well known as he did, and I fear that they are the representative sample, rather than the occasional outrider who still votes Republican (but only for the softer, country club type, mind; in their case, the Creek in Locust Valley).

    A word about servants. Americans were generally uncomfortable with large numbers of them. My grandfather, an Englishman, last lived in London in the late 1920s. He ran a household with twelve servants, all of whom lived in. When he returned to New York in 1928 he very happily settled in to his new house with a mere two. His brother in law, an investment banker with an income of a million a year, lived it up with three, and he resided variously in triplexes and 20 room mansions up and down Park and Fifth, as the mood took him.
    My point is merely that a large number of servants was reserved either for the very old fashioned (another, elderly and widowed relation, had seven) or the very, very rich (the Rockefeller townhouse listing in the 1930 census has an entire page full of servants, some twenty-five).

    And a further word about the Social Register. It is today of course a joke, but it did have real value up into the 1950s. The New York City edition was the first (1887) and was followed by Boston, Philadelphia, and a number of other cities, even, weirdly, Buffalo. All of these volumes are slim, but for that of New York. Even if the number of families covered was in the thousands (which it wasn't) this would hardly be surprising in a city with a population in 1930 of nearly seven million. The SR were, back then, a reasonably accurate description of the families generally recognised as belonging to the upper classes of the cities covered. It would be a mistake to neglect them.

    “But I know all too many of the same class (however we want to describe it) and background who are just like Trudeau. Among my first cousins (all , like me, more or less of T’s age) are graduates of Lawrenceville, Choate, Miss Porters, and Dobbs Ferry. All are exactly like T in their smug and unsufferable liberalism. One or two became nearly as well known as he did, and I fear that they are the representative sample, rather than the occasional outrider who still votes Republican (but only for the softer, country club type, mind; in their case, the Creek in Locust Valley).”

    I’m a generation younger than you and Trudeau. I did not go to school in the northeast, but went to one of the older private schools in the region I grew up in. I’d estimate the students broke down something like:

    10% upper class

    20% old upper middle class

    40% new/recent upper middle class

    30% middle/working class

    Around 20% were legacies. Something like 30% were Jewish or non-white. No other school in my region had an appreciably higher concentration of upper class / old upper middle class kids, and nothing I know about northeastern schools of the sort you mention leads me to believe the situation has been much different there over the past 50 years. If anything I think it’s tended to be worse, with higher proportions of Jewish and non-white students, and with many of these institutions having been captured by resentful/activist/leftist faculty.

    As for definitions, there are no hard borders and people will have different subjective ideas about class. But when I say “upper class”, I’m thinking of people whose families have been prominent in the city or region for at least a century or so and have in many cases been major donors to the school and other local institutions; the types whose families still have houses in the country and still play polo, or at least still ride horses; whose mothers still organize charity balls; who inherited significant wealth, or had recent ancestors who did; etc. The old upper middle class (the children of doctors / lawyers / small business owners who are also children of the same) are those whose families may have been around for at least as long, and who comfortably interact with and in many cases are related to those I’d call upper class, but whose social positions depend on working for a living and who partake less often in archaic pastimes. I don’t think either is better or worse, but the second category is much larger than the first category and more readily subject to the pressures of reverse assimilation, so the vast majority of the relative handful of token, alleged “upper class WASP” leftists we hear about fall into the second category, if that.

    Anyway, if we’re dealing in anecdotes, the trend I’ve always observed is clear: people I’d call upper class or old upper middle class are considerably less likely to be liberal than first or second generation (white) upper middle class, considerably more likely to have an intact sense of history and identity, and considerably more given to at least occasional voicing of reactionary thought and casual racism/anti-semitism. This has held true for both the people I went to school with and the people I know from other parts of the country, including the northeast.

    As probably goes without saying, the Jews I’ve known have tended to be yet farther to the left than non-Jewish white members of the new upper middle class, and the most leftwing teacher and students at my school were Jewish.

    So, no, I don’t think your cousins are representative, and however far left this class may have fallen in the northeast, I have no doubt that on average it remains to the right of pretty much everyone else in the region. Selection and self-selection (and reverse assimilation beyond whatever has been experienced by the class as a whole) mean those members who do come to public attention in areas dominated by the left (including the media, academia, and, in the northeast, politics) will not in fact be representative of the class they were born into.

    The available objective data supports my impressions:

    As with the Forbes 400 sample, I used the percentage of political contributions to Republicans versus Democrats as the basic measure of political behavior and ideology. 9 Figure 3 shows the difference in political partisanship between wealthy persons listed in the Social Register and those not listed for each of four years. In 1956, the election year that coincided with the publication of The New American Right , the old rich (those listed in the Social Register ) are shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. In 1972, the election year preceding Kirkpatrick Sale’s (1975) popularization of the Yankee-Cowboy version of the old money liberalism thesis, the old rich are again shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. In 1980, the year in which Ronald Reagan’s election was heralded as a victory for the reputedly reactionary nouveaux riches, the old rich are again shown to be more conservative than the rich in general. These differences in political partisanship are similar in magnitude to those found in the more recent 1995–1997 sample of the Forbes 400 richest Americans.10 The consistency of these findings suggests that the relative conservatism of old money has been a stable feature of American political life for at least the last forty years.

    http://racehist.blogspot.com/2009/01/old-rich-more-conservative-than-new.html

    On the Social Register: I agree that it can serve as a useful, objective indicator on questions like this, particularly for the period you mention (with the understanding the “upper class” defined this way will obviously not be perfectly concordant the “upper class” defined some other way). But I’m fairly certain I’m right: the NY Social Register included thousands of nuclear families (I don’t know how many distinct surnames) from the outset, and there was no period when it did not include thousands of families.

  131. Bull’s eye! Your supposition is correct: my cousins who made names for themselves did indeed do so in the media. So you are probably correct about self selection (not to mention survival strategy). They also all moved out West to California, which can’t have helped either.
    One quick (and final: I don’t think anybody is paying much attention to this exchange any longer) word about the SR. In 1938 the cities covered with individual volumes were New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia & Wilmington, Chicago, Boston, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati & Dayton, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Buffalo. The “Locater” from that year has 1000 pages with some 70 individual names per page: 70,000 people. There are usually five to ten families per page, although there are ten pages of Smiths, and seven of Clarks; let’s round it out to 10,000 families for twelve cities. It is clear from this that New York, far and away the largest city, will indeed have “thousands” of families included (from my copy of the 1952 edition I judge it to be roughly 3,000). So you are correct for that era. It is still not a large number when one remembers the city’s then population of nearly 8 million.
    However the 1887 and first edition has only 3600 people, say 400 families (ring a bell?), when the city’s population was 1.5 million. Population goes up around 5.5 times; SR families goes up a bit over 7 times. Some inflation, but not too much, so I think that one can conclude that the editors used quite objective measures as to who was in and who was out.
    The best thing to have come out of this for me is the discovery of your site, which up till now I had somehow missed. I shall go back to your very first posts and go through them all – Steve, you have a serious rival!

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