Shapiro on Colbert’s “vile political blackface”


If you told me twenty years ago that conservative commenters would one day compare everything to the historical struggles of Jews and African Americans, I would have laughed and gone back to hacky sack. But here we are in 2014, and those right-wing pundits who are not still beating the straw man of political correctness are casting themselves as an oppressed people. Case in point: Ben Shapiro’s argument that The Colbert Report is analogous to a minstrel show. I quote:

This routine, in which Colbert plays at conservatism in order to portray it as unendingly ugly, should be labeled for what it is: vile political blackface. When Colbert plays “Colbert,” it’s not mere mockery or satire or spoof. It’s something far nastier.

Vile, I say—vile! Also, Shapiro put an enormous picture of a white comedian in blackface at the top of his column, because he had to.

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Friday links! Triumph of theory edition

The cat fits in the box.

Japanese cat celebrity Maru fits in the box.

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, some people see things as they are and ask why; others see things as they never were and ask why the media is lying. The world of theory is invariably preferable to the world of, you know, the world. We derive our broad principles from the specific around us, but explicit language feels more concrete and understandable—more true—than the details. So after we extrapolate our theories and take them to heart, we return to the real and identify the places where it doesn’t match theory as flaws. Today is Friday, or at least it should be, and anyone who tells me otherwise has screwed up the progression of days. Won’t you demand that the flesh be made word with me?

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Friday links! Fantasy of decline edition

Why would they keep trying to cross that aqueduct?

We’ve talked about it before, but it is critically important that you not fall into declinism. The fantasy that American empire has reached its sunset is both conceited and self-fulfilling. We won a war against Nazis during the Great Depression; probably we can get past having too many fat kids and needing to invent a kind of transportation other than the car. The only way we wouldn’t is if we all decided we were at the end of civilization and nothing we did like, matters. That’s how things stop working, and we can choose not to quit. Still, when you imagine the collapse of society into a Hobbesian war of all against all, it is kind of satisfying. The disintegration of Delta airlines, Lil’ Kim having to make the transition to actual whore—these are bitterly comforting ideas. It’s Friday, and our link roundup is split between images of decline and comforting reminders of who will suffer most of it happens. Don’t give in to declinism, though. Maybe just indulge it a little as you imagine Lena Dunham struggling to grow turnips.

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Friday links! World without a government edition

Name this famous painting that is also the subject of a quiz at Riverdale Country School and win a prize in the comments section.

Isn’t the government a drag? I understand that we need one in a vague, civics class sort of way, but from day to day the whole structure seems gratuitous. Other people clearly need a government. Maybe it’s just the location of my personal apartment, but other people can’t seem to go a day without trying to build a smoker in their house or getting drunk and punching each other or filling a milk jug with gasoline.* You and I, on the other hand, are completely self-governing. We don’t need cops or meat inspectors to keep us in line, and as a result the government is to us an endless series of clerks and taxes. Like the actual rules of Monopoly, it needlessly complicates a game that everyone already knows how to play. What we should do, you and I, is form a political party dedicated to reshaping the government according to our own personal needs. Things have been going fine around here without government intervention, so I propose we have stamps and an army and otherwise no government at all. I am not alone. This week’s link roundup is chock full of people who are operating without governments, and one guy whose plan is to grab the government and break it. Won’t you enjoy the war of all against all with me?

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Friday links! Actually, I’m crazy edition

Scientists* estimate that approximately one out of every three people is crazy, yet we go about our daily business as if our governmental officials, beloved celebrities and attractive dinner dates were entirely sensible and calm. It’s not until they send us all pictures of their genitals that we begin to suspect the truth: pretty much everyone is a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the right traffic event or interview question to explode into ratfuck insanity. As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence this weekend, I thought we might celebrate those Americans who spontaneously shoot up in the air and make a terrible thunder/flash of light before falling to the ground a burnt stick. It’s Friday, several people previously believed to be reliable have gone all hoopy on us, and I am three deadlines away from a psychotic break with reality myself. Won’t you join me?

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