by 99 Seats
While I'm not wading into the very worthy conversation about the validity of comedy or tragedy, one thing that comes up often is why is there so little conversative comedy. The realm of satire seems to belong entirely to the progressives and the left side of the ledger. Last week, we had a pretty good example of this, and, I think, an object lesson on where conservatism loses its comedy mojo. Via Yahoo! News:
Two spoof Twitter accounts for President Barack Obama emerged from speeches at the Republican convention last week. The first, @FadedObama, was inspired by this line from Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life." As of Tuesday afternoon, it had been mentioned on Twitter 182 times and attracted 194 followers.
The Yahoo! article says that the difference between the two was timing; the @FadedObama went up 13 minutes after Paul Ryan's speech while @InvisibleObama went up within seconds. Yeah, that may account for it. There's also a part of it about narratives: after Paul Ryan's speech, most of the conversation focused (rightly, I would add) around the many, many falsehoods and misrepresentations in his speech, not one small, throwaway metaphor, while after Clint's performance, well, the chair was the whole game, wasn't it? It was the key part of the event. But there's another part of this.
@InvisibleObama is funny. @FadedObama isn't.
I say this not as a progressive. I say this as a kinda-sorta funny person. I don't think there's any argument on this. Here's a typical @FadedObama post:
You know I'm going to fade. My hair literally faded during my first term— Faded Obama Poster (@FadedObama) August 30, 2012
And here's an @InvisibleObama post:
On this Labor Day, take a moment to remember that today is the last day it's appropriate to wear invisible seersucker anything.— Invisible Obama (@InvisibleObama) September 3, 2012
Actually, that wasn't fair. That was one of the funnier @FadedObama posts. I put my finger on the scale and it's still lost (sort of like arguing with an empty chair and losing, but I digress).
The @FadedObama Twitter feed is nothing but recycled Obama jokes and jabs: birther stuff, media star stuff, food stamp jokes, a Nancy Pelosi joke. Stuff that really only appeals to conservatives and re-inforces the conservative world view. And pretty much just stated outright. It's a collection of talk radio lines.
The @InvisibleObama feed? Yep, partisan jabs. But also a personality. And a personality that fits Twitter. The voice of @InvisibleObama is similar to the other Twitter faves, like @SarcasticRover: snarky, spiky and, well, sarcastic. But it's also a lot of regular comedy about being invisible.
Conservative comedy tends to be much more like @FadedObama: jokes that make conservatives laugh. Good satire, though, like good comedy, has further reach, builds better gags. Conservatives would do well to put comedy above party.