Patterico's Pontifications

6/18/2009

Steven Crowder: Barack Obama Mocking Special Olympians, Wanda Sykes, and David Letterman Are All Hilarious

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:24 pm

OK, that’s not exactly what he says — but surely Crowder can excuse a repulsive headline if it’s more entertaining? At least if you accept his logic, that is . . .

Proof that the way you react to a controversial joke is heavily influenced by your particular station in life — even though you know you’re motivated by pure principle and nothing else. Crowder, a comedian who engages in pretty edgy comedy, wants the freedom to say controversial things. So Crowder manages to excuse jokes that many sensible people find tasteless, at a minimum.

Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke on Leno? That was a “surprisingly funny, off-handed moment,” according to Crowder. Wanda Sykes hoping Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail? Not her funniest line, Crowder admits — but still part of an “overall funny routine” that Republicans were wrong to object to. Letterman’s crack about Palin’s daughter getting knocked up? That was “worth a chuckle” — not the “phony outrage” displayed by humorless Republicans.

Crowder is a great guy and one of the funniest conservative talents on the Internet. And I agree with him that some of the outrage over some of these jokes is exaggerated and in some cases even manufactured. But much of it is genuine — and again, it depends on your station in life.

For example, I didn’t get outraged by Barack Obama’s Special Olympics joke (a position that, curiously, itself outraged some of the very people who today claim to back up Letterman’s right to tell an “edgy” joke). I just mocked Obama as someone less articulate than advertised — and then mocked him again. But there were those with ties to Special Olympians who were genuinely outraged. Their outrage wasn’t manufactured, and they weren’t being humorless — because, Crowder my pal, it wasn’t a funny joke.

My reaction to Sykes and to Letterman is similar. They showed a lack of class, and their jokes weren’t funny. While I disagree with some of the more violent reactions to Letterman’s joke, I can understand them, and will not be quick to judge the sincerity of my fellow Republicans — who, remember, still have a deep wellspring of genuine outrage to draw on, stemming from the way Palin and her family were treated during the campaign.

So I say to Crowder: keep being funny. But I happen to disagree with you fairly strongly on this one.

And please: don’t tell me I’m humorless if the joke I’m laughing at isn’t funny. Sometimes it’s really the other guy who lacks the sense of humor.

Hillary Clinton Breaks Elbow

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 7:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Hillary Clinton broke her elbow last night when she fell in the State Department parking garage. She will have surgery “in the coming week.”

Secretary Clinton has my sympathy. A broken elbow is no fun.

Still, it could have been worse. My award for the “worst broken elbow” story goes to Canadian Kyle Russell.

— DRJ

North Korea’s Independence Day Missile?

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 4:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Japan intelligence sources have issued a warning that “North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile towards Hawaii on American Independence Day.”

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Gates has sent enhanced missile defense to Hawaii.

— DRJ

Olive Garden Pulls Letterman Ads? Probably Not. (Update: But Embassy Suites did.)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 1:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

NOTE: Further reports suggest this Politico report is not correct. See Update 2.

Politico reports that Olive Garden has canceled its Letterman ads for the rest of the year because of his Palin comments:

“In an email to a Letterman critic obtained by POLITICO, a spokeswoman for the Italian restaurant chain wrote that “there will be no more Olive Garden ads scheduled for ‘The Late Show’ with David Letterman in this year’s broadcast schedule,” citing the talk show host’s “inappropriate comments.”

“We apologize that Mr. Letterman’s mistake, which was not consistent with our standards and values, left you with a bad impression of Olive Garden,” wrote Sherri Bruen, the company’s guest relations manager.”

I’m one of those red state Olive Garden customers who wrote to say I would not eat at Olive Garden unless they dropped their Letterman ads. I’m happy with this decision and I plan to support it with my business and money.

UPDATE 1: Embassy Suites also pulled its ads.

UPDATE 2: Steve notes this Orlando Sentinel report that the parent company, Darden Restaurants, denies the Politico report.

— DRJ

“This is not the Iran I knew”

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:01 am

[Posted by Karl]

How did Pres. Obama not come up with that line?

After all, it is one of his favorite formulations, and in this case, a true one.

The Iran we knew before last week was an oppressive Islamic theocracy that rigged its elections by controlling which candidates could run for office, excluding anyone whose notions of reform offended the mullahs. That Iran may no longer exist. It may be that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has effected a silent coup d’état, morphing from a theocracy into a military dictatorship. It may be that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the Guardian Council remain in control. However, if that is so, we are left to question the rationality of a regime that by most accounts badly stole its already rigged election.

This is not the Iran that millions of Iranians knew, which is why they poured into the streets of Tehran and other cities in protest. A line once understood had been crossed. The shock of that crossing is why even Lefties like Slate’s Fred Kaplan have suggested that it’s time for Pres. Obama to rethink his policy of “engagement” with Iran. Kaplan frames it in terms of the protests, but the phenomenon is better understood by looking at the cause of protests of this magnitude.

I underscore this, as I have previously written that the election “exposed to even the casual observer that ‘the Iran we have’ is the Iran we have always had.” This position has also been taken by people as far apart ideologically as Andy McCarthy and Pres. Obama, though they proceed to quite different conclusions from that premise.

While that premise is correct to extent that (if the protests ultimately fizzle or are crushed) Iran will likely remain hostile the the US and our interests, the election — and the reaction to it — suggest that this premise is not entirely correct. This is not the Iran we knew. Its government is either less stable or less rational than we believed. Its people may be more demanding of change than they were even a week ago.

Yet even after exercising his right to remain silent for three days, Pres. Obama declared that he would ultimately try to engage Iran’s government, no matter how much of a question mark it is at the moment. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad was busy getting recognized by Russia and China — the two nations Obama would need for any alternative policy to “engagement.” Accordingly, Obama is stuck trying to talk to a regime without knowing its true leadership or true nature.

On one level, this is not all that unlike the problem the US faces regarding North Korea. However, whatever one might say about Kim Jong Il, he is not Ahmadinejad — a man thoroughly immersed in the thinking of an apocalyptic death cult. Nuclear wepaons in the hands of the Iran we thought we knew was bad; nukes in the hands of the Iran we don’t know may be far worse.

Moreover, Obama’s apparently unthinking commitment to “engagement” in the face of changed circumstances, and the implication that he has no alternate plan, hands the unknown government of Iran enormous leverage. This government may conclude that it can act in a ham-fisted, irrational or unstable manner without even the most minor consequences. If this unknown government sees Obama as impotent in the face of such behavior, what additional mischief might it make? Obama’s unrealistic realism potentially endangers not only our national security, but also his own political viability.

“This is not the Iran I knew”

How did Pres. Obama not come up with that line?

How long until he wishes he had?

–Karl


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