Conservative Satire.

This blog is about satire in general, and in a more broad sense the total non-existence of conservative satire which is a remarkable thing in and of itself.

Satire is humor derived from perceived absurdity.  Usually a satirist will artfully exaggerate something he finds absurd in order to make that absurdity more obvious, thus provoking laughter (and in a broader sense, relieving stress in the audience at dealing with that absurdity).  Bush was the source of so much satire not just because he gave comedians so much material, but because the psychological need to laugh (rather than cry) was there for many people.  Laughter relieves tension, and satire is, I have long thought, one reason a lot of people who watch the news don’t buy a gun, move to washington and start picking off congressmen. 

But it is remarkable that there is no real conservative satire.  When I googled “conservative satire” pretty much the only thing I found that was not satire of conservatives, conservative policies etc was a show that aired on fox news called The Half Hour News Hour, which is the only somewhat mainstream conservative satire show I have ever heard of, and I heard of it only long after it was canceled.  I’ve seen clips from it and I can’t really find any humor in it, and it seems to derive it’s “satire” from the kind of nastiness that fox news employs.  For instance this clip is just them pointing out that the ACLU protects the free speech rights of nambla.  I fail to see any joke there, it’s more of a conservative talking point with an applause line (and canned laughter).  And it’s nasty.  I’m sure if Voltaire were a fox news satirist, he would say “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it…  Unless I disagree with you of course, in which case you shouldn’t have the free speech I enjoy daily.”  Adding “First ammendment, shmirst ammendment”.

But I’m getting off the point.  What little conservative “satire” I’ve seen seems bitter and mean and often dishonest at worst, and dry and humorless at best.  But then maybe it’s a matter of taste and I am missing something?

In my search for conservative satire, I found a blog which called itself conservative satire.  It contained gems like this:

“New study finds one in ten adults worldwide are obese, of that it is believe 30% are obese due to BFL or “Big Fat Liar” Syndrome. A disease that scientists have identified [is] caused by registering Democrat.

This is not funny, or intelligent.

There is a microcosm of this in religious satire as well.  There is a lot of witty satire of religious beliefs, some of it mean-spirited but most of it clever and thought provoking.  This fake motivational poster in particular has caught my attention:

Is it offensive to many believers?  Yes.  But irreverence aside, it’s basic information is accurate and it is a genuine attempt to convey the absurdity many see in the christian scheme of crucifixion, salvation and the literal interpretation of genesis.  But though I’ve seen many, many versions of this attacking atheism every single one consistently misrepresents atheism or distorts science in order to attack it. 

Etc.  You would never see a picture like this from the secular side lying about what christians believe in order to mock them.  I’ve never seen that.  And if atheists were going around saying that christians believe that santa clause rose from the dead to wash our clothes so our linens may be saved or some nonsense, what would that say about atheists?   You certainly would never see something like the next poster:

This, I would argue, is not satire.  It’s not even humor.  It’s a neurotic reaction.  But maybe it comes from the fact that there is no conservative or fundamentalist satire to relieve the stress that regular satire relieves in liberals and secular people, because you cannot laugh if you aren’t at liberty to agree or disagree.  Maybe satire and (good) humor requires some degree of free thought.

Bear in mind I mean conservative in the sense of the modern neo-conservativism, and by religion I refer only to strict biblical literalism, which both seem to be examples of strictly in-the-box thinking.  I do not mean to imply that all conservatives of every stripe or all religious people in any sense are mean-spirited or without a sense of humor.

If there is politically conservative or fundamentalist satire that isn’t bitter like this, I would be curious to see it.  Anyone have any examples?

Maybe it’s just a difference between intelligence vs stupidity, regardless of ideology.  Or that in-the-box thinking, whatever is the cause, limits the mind and inhibits the things required for a good laugh (that isn’t at someone else’s expense).

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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30 Responses to Conservative Satire.

  1. Very interesting that conservatives can’t really make fun of liberals, or can’t do it well. I never even thought about conservative satire, I think I just assumed it existed. As for the religious satire, I’m a pretty liberal Catholic/Theist, and I find that last Atheism one disgusting. I don’t understand why people think atheists are so horrible? Plenty of people have different beliefs, atheists are just people who don’t believe in God. Why does that suddenly make them awful. Open your eyes people.Really good post.

  2. didn’t fox news recently try something in the colbert/stewart formula? wonder whatever happened to that? 

  3. agnophilo says:

    @SexyGamerGirl – Thanks.  As far as the “atheists are evil” stuff, I think it’s as much hatred against atheists as an attempt at negative reinforcement of their own beliefs.  Believers want to believe, they try very hard to keep believing.  And psychologically/emotionally the two basic ways to do that are by positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.  Heaven and hell, god and satan etc.  And preachers try to scare people into believing by telling them they can’t be moral without religion, and I think believers sometimes try to scare themselves into not questioning the same way. The irony is that if you’re worried you might become a bad person that’s proof that you already have a conscience, and that type of emotional argument would not appeal to a genuine sociopath if there was one in the audience.@complicatedlight – It’s mentioned in the blog.  They actually used canned laughter.  That’s just sad.

  4. TheBillion says:

    thought-provoking post. 

  5. @agnophilo – oops. guess i musta skipped class that day 😉

  6. agnophilo says:

    @TheBillion – Thanks.@complicatedlight – : )  It does help to read the blog : P

  7. @agnophilo – yeah, yeah. i usually do, but this time i got distracted by all the BIG SIGNAGE. 

  8. agnophilo says:

    @complicatedlight – Meaning pictures?  I thought you read my blog for the articles : P

  9. cyberbear says:

    I don’t know if PJ O’Rourke is still around, but he was mildly amusing in the ’80’s.  Now, we just have Rush “Ching chong” Limbaugh to laugh AT.

  10. agnophilo says:

    @cyberbear – Don’t know if he’s what would be considered “conservative”, very few attitudes fit in the modern definition of the word.  I don’t think libertarians really fit the bill, though they would in a more sensible and less politically charged sense of the word.

  11. MagisterTom says:

    Didn’t read yet, but your “Bittersweet Symphony” song seems to have been replaced with the Windows shutdown sound.

  12. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the best conservative satirists around.  Rush is so successful that liberal politicians talk about him all the time – on the floor of Congress!President Clinton just mentioned Rush last week in Davos, Switzerland.My blog is loaded with conservative satire of liberals.You need to get out more.

  13. agnophilo says:

    @MagisterTom – Lovely.  Playlist maintenance is annoying.  I’ve had to stop having one soundgarden song on there because every week or so the link breaks and it’s replaced with a baaaaaaad live version.  Blech.  But thanks for the heads up.@LoBornlytesThoughtPalace – What you do is not satire, it’s unintentional parody.  There is a difference.

  14. MagisterTom says:

    @agnophilo – When I had a playlist I put music on my own server. Seems the only way to not have to deal with the hassle.

  15. @agnophilo – Parody = satire, whether intentional or not. Great art takes place in the eye of the beholder.Thank you for the endorsement!

  16. TheSaltMine says:

    Parody can only exist where there is first absurdity. It is far easier to find the absurd in a traditionalist perspective because it does not move forward. Traditional perspectives will always be anachronistic and so, will always be to some degree absurd. In the same way, it becomes difficult to make comedy of the counter-perspective because it is of the moment and for the future; with consideration for the past only in so much as we can learn from it. There is very little absurdity to be found in the attempt to think and act rationally. There’s nothing funny about it – at least not that I can see. Apparently no one else can find a laugh in it either. Your blog is going to be one of the only things I will miss about this site. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  17. agnophilo says:

    @MagisterTom – Though you could get sued more readily for that.@LoBornlytesThoughtPalace – You don’t understand, and see what you want to.  @TheSaltMine – Thank you for the compliment, and the very good comment.  Btw you can always put my blog homepage in your favorites and read it from time to time if you like : )

  18. TheSaltMine says:

    @agnophilo – I shall probably do that. And you’re most welcome.

  19. rugbugg says:

    The first poster makes references to Christian symbolism, not so much actual Christian beliefs.Not having been indoctrinated into the atheist worldview, I don’t see any inaccuracies in  posters 2 and 3.  Obviously, the final one is less atheist, more psychopath.

  20. agnophilo says:

    @rugbugg – The first poster is more a satire of christian literalism than non-literal christianity.  Virtually no atheists (in the US) are indoctrinated into atheism, especially since atheism has no doctrine.  Atheism is non-belief or disbelief in the existence of a god or gods, it implies no position about the origins of life, evolution or the beginning of the universe.  And no one says those idiotic things.

  21. rugbugg says:

    I was raised as a Christian and never met anyone who was close to being that literal.By being indoctrinated into atheism, I mean being consistently taught by those who were atheists.  It is a basic worldview which takes certain things for granted.  If you are atheistic, is not humanity the highest moral authority?  And if you ascribe to any theology, there is a  moral code set by a being who has much greater knowledge and authority than humanity.That difference, in and of itself, affects one’s entire outlook on life, its meaning, and its purpose.  I think, in great part, Christians and atheists argue so often because they are frustrated by being unable to comprehend each others meanings.  It may seem silly to define half of the words we use in our discussions, but I think differing ideologies distort, if not the meanings, then at least the connotations, of many terms.

  22. agnophilo says:

    @rugbugg – “I was raised as a Christian and never met anyone who was close to being that literal.”Seriously?  I can’t even count the number of people I’ve met who take their scripture completely literally.  About 1 in 3 americans believe the bible should be taken 100% literally.”By being indoctrinated into atheism, I mean being consistently taught by those who were atheists.”  Almost no atheists indoctrinate their children, mainly because many atheists are former theists who were indoctrinated, and do not wish to do the same to their children.  They prize free thought and intellectual mobility and want it for their children.  Many atheists would gladly let their children go to church, but only on the condition that they learn about many beliefs, not just get one religion pounded into their head.I am an atheist, and a former theist.  I found out one parent was agnostic when I was 20, until then I had assumed she was christian like my father.  That’s how un-indoctrinated I was.  I was an atheist before I even heard the word atheism or knew what it meant.”It is a basic worldview which takes certain things for granted.”  Nope, atheists are free to think whatever they like about anything.  They tend to agree on some things, but not because they’re a part of atheism, but rather because they have no reason to reject them.  An atheist would be more likely to accept that the earth goes around the sun in the 1600’s, but not because there is anything atheistic about that view, but simply that they have no reason to oppose it.”If you are atheistic, is not humanity the highest moral authority?”  I do not speak for all atheists, but I personally do not think morality is a matter of authority, but of the intrinsic qualities of the human condition.  It is complex, relative and situational.  But this does not diminish it, any more than the relativity of motion makes car crashes less fatal.”And if you ascribe to any theology, there is a  moral code set by a being who has much greater knowledge and authority than humanity.”The moral code which includes slavery, capital punishment for children, setting people on fire for promiscuity and the death penalty for homosexuals and non-believers?  That moral code?  The one you don’t follow and for good reason?I’m sorry, but we don’t follow the bible’s morality.  The only reason it’s touted as a great moral tome is because we selectively ignore the horrible parts.  So why can’t I, as a secular philosopher, ignore the horrible bits from all philosophies and encourage the good bits as you do with the bible?”That difference, in and of itself, affects one’s entire outlook on life, its meaning, and its purpose.”  If you say so.  Christians don’t do anything different from secular people, they either pretend to, or their scripture is pre-filtered by their clergyman, bible study guide, or so-called “random” bible-quote generators on christian websites etc and they honestly think it’s all good stuff.”I think, in great part, Christians and atheists argue so often because they are frustrated by being unable to comprehend each others meanings.”  Many if not most american atheists are former christians.  I think you’ve got it half-right.”It may seem silly to define half of the words we use in our discussions, but I think differing ideologies distort, if not the meanings, then at least the connotations, of many terms.”I agree.

  23. rugbugg says:

    Okay, sorry, I used indoctrination incorrectly.  What I’m talking about are the things that a child learns to accept because of the way his parents behave, rather than what they say.  It’s like believing that black people and white people are equal, not because someone showed you how close their genetic code is, but because no one ever behaved in a way that suggested the possibility that they weren’t equal.I don’t think I know what the term “free thought” means in this context.  You obviously would not allow anyone to freely think that evolution is inaccurate.  If you believe right and wrong, true and false exist, then you have a basic worldview which colors every other train of thought you have.  If you are willing to admit you are wrong about some of those things, that’s only reasonable.  But there must be some things on which you will not budge, or you become amoral and adrift.Even as a Christian, I believed morality was “complex, relative, and situational” in the sense that it is wrong to murder someone because you want something they have, right to kill them if it’s the only way to keep them from murdering someone.  God’s moral authority made the difference mainly in feeling that someone was aware of thoughts of doing something wrong.  Those thoughts are a tangible problem because the more you dwell on something, the more you can invent justifications for doing it.  That’s why I don’t feel the need to oppose Christianity.  I think most of us need that feeling of someone looking over our shoulder to stop a lot of problems before they really get started.NO, absolutely not that moral code.  And I’m not touting having a god as a moral authority.  I’m saying that’s the main difference between atheist and theist world views.Personally, my moral code says it is my duty to protect those weaker than myself and always put others needs before my own desires.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty obvious.  However, it isn’t obvious to everyone.  Some believe it’s their job just to look out for themselves and pursue pleasure.  Normally, those people wouldn’t have a written creed stating that.  It would simply be taken for granted and demonstrated in every decision they made.That would make it extremely difficult for people with those differing ideas to find any common ground whatsoever.Even if two people put others first, if one has her sights on the afterlife and one says this life is all there is; they will have two totally different concepts of the best way to help the same individual.

  24. agnophilo says:

    @rugbugg –  “Okay, sorry, I used indoctrination incorrectly.  What I’m talking about are the things that a child learns to accept because of the way his parents behave, rather than what they say.  It’s like believing that black people and white people are equal, not because someone showed you how close their genetic code is, but because no one ever behaved in a way that suggested the possibility that they weren’t equal.”In what way were you suggesting I had been indoctrinated then?”I don’t think I know what the term “free thought” means in this context.  You obviously would not allow anyone to freely think that evolution is inaccurate.”  They are free to think anything they like.  And I am free to disagree.  Persuasion is not the same as coercion.  I am not trying to set up evolution indoctrination camps for pre-schoolers or “accept darwin” conversion centers.Free thought just means freedom to entertain any idea without fear or restriction.  It doesn’t mean you will believe the earth is flat and the moon is made of cheese.  But that if evidence came to light that it was you would find it very interesting : P”If you believe right and wrong, true and false exist, then you have a basic worldview which colors every other train of thought you have.  If you are willing to admit you are wrong about some of those things, that’s only reasonable.  But there must be some things on which you will not budge, or you become amoral and adrift.”There are some things on which I will not budge, but not out of pigheadedness so much as just having no good reason not to.  Am I closed-minded for not accepting that the earth is flat?  I would be genuinely interested to know if it was.I remember once debating with a creationist guy and he told me about “man tracks”, supposed human footprints in stone next to dinosaur footprints.  When I heard about it I wasn’t afraid, I was excited.  I actually thought “wow, that would be interesting”, and was disappointed to find out in 2 seconds of googling that it was just more long ago debunked tin-foil hat looney bullshit.  That is the attitude of free thought.  As one character in a tv show put it, “I am a scientist, which means I am just as excited when my theories are proven wrong as when they are proven right”.”Even as a Christian, I believed morality was “complex, relative, and situational” in the sense that it is wrong to murder someone because you want something they have, right to kill them if it’s the only way to keep them from murdering someone.  God’s moral authority made the difference mainly in feeling that someone was aware of thoughts of doing something wrong.”  I’m not sure what you mean with this last sentence, could you clarify?”Those thoughts are a tangible problem because the more you dwell on something, the more you can invent justifications for doing it.”  Heh, like religious people can’t rationalize bad behavior within their worldview.”That’s why I don’t feel the need to oppose Christianity.  I think most of us need that feeling of someone looking over our shoulder to stop a lot of problems before they really get started.”That is literally childish morality.  If you play nice with the other kids so daddy won’t spank you when you get home, you need to grow up.  I don’t mean you you of course, you strike me as better than that.  But while there are people who need a personal disincentive for bad behavior, we set up consequences in this life for that, chief among them being prison.  But the belief in god doesn’t make people immune from being a selfish asshole.  And in an increasingly secular world where fewer and fewer people really even seem to believe in life after death and even fewer if any seem to believe in hell in any real sense, you run the risk of the morality of society collapsing entirely if you hang it all on that.”NO, absolutely not that moral code.  And I’m not touting having a god as a moral authority.  I’m saying that’s the main difference between atheist and theist world views.”Ah, I thought you were speaking from a christian perspective.  Sorry, I get a lot of “you can’t be moral because you’re an atheist” arguments like that.  What, if I may ask, is your position?  Atheist, agnostic, christian, deist, pantheist, undecided etc.”Personally, my moral code says it is my duty to protect those weaker than myself and always put others needs before my own desires.” I agree.”As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty obvious.  However, it isn’t obvious to everyone.  Some believe it’s their job just to look out for themselves and pursue pleasure.  Normally, those people wouldn’t have a written creed stating that.  It would simply be taken for granted and demonstrated in every decision they made.That would make it extremely difficult for people with those differing ideas to find any common ground whatsoever.”I agree, but I don’t think religion changes that.  There are plenty of passages in scripture that appeal to selfish, judgemental egomaniacal assholes, and plenty that appeal to kind, selfless, nice people.  And they both tend to totally ignore the rest of the passages that don’t reverberate with them.”Even if two people put others first, if one has her sights on the afterlife and one says this life is all there is; they will have two totally different concepts of the best way to help the same individual.”Yeah but we don’t really think that way.  If we did nobody would revere cops and firefighters for risking their lives for others, they would be seen as selfish thrill-seekers trying to cut in line and get to heaven before the rest of us, lol.  Okay well maybe not, but you get the idea I think.  We don’t ever act as if death is anything but death.  And for those that need a selfish motivation there are plenty of non-supernatural ones.

  25. rugbugg says:

    By saying you had been indoctrinated into the atheist mindset, I meant there are things which you perceive as logic or commonsense which would not occur to me, no matter how open-minded I try to be, simply because I was raised with different preconceptions.  That is what causes us to apply different connotations to terms.I apologize for further confusing the issue by believing evolution was synonymous with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  I think I would have referred to evolution as adaptive mutations on a small scale.  I never understood science class as well as I would have liked, and school was a long time ago.In that case, I was raised with free thought as well.  Christianity was taught as truth, but no coercion was used.  Questions were always encouraged.  I have no respect for those who tell me to “take it on faith” with no reason for that faith.”God’s moral authority made the difference mainly in feeling that someone was aware of thoughts of doing something wrong.”  What I meant was that my basic concept of right and wrong did not change when I switched from Christian to agnostic.  I am thankful for having learned those ethics, whatever their origin.  What did change because of my conversion is that now if I have nasty thoughts about other people, I try to stop them because they’re unhealthy for me, not because God will know and be saddened.”That is literally childish morality.  If you play nice with the other kids so daddy won’t spank you when you get home, you need to grow up.  I don’t mean you you of course, you strike me as better than that.  But while there are people who need a personal disincentive for bad behavior, we set up consequences in this life for that, chief among them being prison.  But the belief in god doesn’t make people immune from being a selfish asshole.”Maybe it is, but don’t the majority of people strike you as being pretty childish?  I’m simply saying I think religion is a parallel “disincentive.” which is one of the ways I feel it is useful.   Yes, the churches are full of those who are atheists at heart. If a man Truly believes in God, though, it affects his entire life and makes his selfishness a matter of momentary failings rather than lifestyle.I feel that a lot of good has been inspired by religion and that the bad which was done in the name of religion would still have been done under whatever other “justification” happened to be handy.”And in an increasingly secular world where fewer and fewer people really even seem to believe in life after death and even fewer if any seem to believe in hell in any real sense, you run the risk of the morality of society collapsing entirely if you hang it all on that.”  I don’t intend to hang it all on that. I’m just happy to let others hang it on that, so long as it’s hung.  But on what would You hang it?I am an agnostic with a Christian accent.  I no longer believe in the Bible, but my parents are loving, generous people whose faith helps them to react with love and tolerance rather than responding in kind to those who are selfish or spiteful.  It is their example which I think of as true Christianity and for which I have a great deal of respect.  I see many of the same ideals in Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, which is why I do not oppose them either.  I do, however, oppose the creeds of Phelps, the KKK, the Taliban, and anyone else who promotes hatred and destruction.Wow, this discussion was exhausting.  Thank you very much for taking the time to have this conversation with me.  I hope I have helped you understand my viewpoint, even if you don’t agree with it.  I feel I have learned some things.  I never really talked to a professing atheist before, so I appreciate the experience !

  26. YouToMe says:

    this shall go down in history as one of your best posts.”Maybe it’s just a difference between intelligence vs stupidity, regardless of ideology.  Or that in-the-box thinking, whatever is the cause, limits the mind and inhibits the things required for a good laugh (that isn’t at someone else’s expense).”amenit is unjust to presume all atheists are without ability to act with integrity. aside from what i said re: the christian one, i agree with the distinction between posters. i also like the clarification you gave, making sure not to lump all christians together.

  27. I’m always a joke.  I know what’s going to happen.  And this is what she is and this is what she’s going to do.  She’ll do it until the very end then run away.  Now they’ve gotten clever this time and destroyed my mind, but still the lingering effects of “I told you so” are still there.  I’m shocked right now from all the stuff that’s happened to me in the past year that doesn’t happen to anyone else.  I’m looking for resolution.  And it’s still happening.

  28. Satire is foolish.  Jokes are foolish.  Humor is foolish.  Fools die.Be straight with what you mean.  That’s what I try to get across.  People always funny me when it’s not funny.  A conservative would say something like, “why did the liberal cross the road? To get to the other side.” And it would be hilarious.

  29. I can’t see your posters, but all is offensive to some.

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