Friday, February 17, 2012

More Conservative Humor

By now you’ve probably seen or heard the clip of Foster Friess, the Rick Santorum bankroller, and his comments on birth control:

FRIESS: On this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

He later told Lawrence O’Donnell that he was trying for humor.

Keep trying. Even Rick Santorum — who would never be mistaken for one of the Marx Brothers — thought it was a bad joke.

Right-wing humor is a bit of an oxymoron. That’s because one of the essentials of comedy is making the powerful and privileged the target of the joke. That’s one of the reasons people from cultures or social tribes that have been oppressed are so good at it; they know one of the most effective ways of dealing with their oppressors is to mock them and make fun of them. Think about it; some of the greatest comedians of our time have been members of groups that have been victimized and oppressed by the majority. Humor is just one of the ways of dealing with it.

That explains why there are very few — if any — conservative comedians, and those that are usually deal in the comedy of cruelty by mocking the weak and the oppressed. That’s a tough sell to a tough room.