‘A transgender weight-lifter and a horse walk into a bar . . .
“That’s not funny!”
Welcome to the wonderful world of woke comedy. And it’s not as if they say it with the indulgent attitude your mother used to have—when she knew it was inappropriate but was kind of amused anyway. No, these people are not joking. They’ll kill your career, get your children to turn on you, dredge up your every purported misstep, and make sure all of it goes on your permanent record.
We’re talking a mentality that blacklisted the “Seinfeld” episode in which Kramer stomps on the Puerto Rican flag to put out the fire he’s set with a sparkler, and forced HBO to saddle “Blazing Saddles” with a dreary three- minute introductory spiel by an academic explaining to the unwary—i.e., idiots—that “racist language and attitudes pervade the film. But those attitudes are espoused by characters who are portrayed here as explicitly small- minded, ignorant bigots.”
No wonder that even non-edgy comedians like Jerry Seinfeld won’t go anywhere near a college campus. In a remarkable turnabout, today’s students have all the live- and-let-live joie de vivre of Dean Wormer from “Animal House.”
Progressives have been getting away with comic murder for quite a while now, not only being unfunny, but also—through their dominance of entertainment and especially social media—empowering themselves to dictate what others should be al- lowed to find funny. Nowhere is this more evident than in political humor. Whereas progressive internet snarkmeister Andy Borowitz is widely hailed as a wit in the hallowed tradition of New Yorker predecessors James Thurber and Dorothy Parker, equivalent voices on the right are routinely deplatformed and defamed. When the Babylon Bee—the Onion’s conservative foil—belatedly came to the attention of the cultural Torquemadas at the New York Times, the paper ran a story asserting the site “frequently trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire.” The Bee’s response? In addition to threatening legal action, which got the Gray Lady to back down, it produced another of its all-too-on-target headlines: “New York Times Attacks Babylon Bee for Being More Accurate Than They Are.” Talk about striking exactly the right tone!
Yes, those who police our common culture are indeed an unsettling bunch. In enforcing their smelly orthodoxies, pitting black against white, young against old, poor against rich, they are undermining the foundations of the republic.
But know what’s also true? In their indifference to truth and basic biology, in the profound intolerance of their vaunted tolerance, in their astonishing lack of self-awareness, they are ridiculous.
And know what gets them even more apoplectic than imagined dog whistles or faux hate speech—and might just turn the tide in the culture war? Making them the laughingstock they so richly deserve to be.
By Harry Stein