Regarding Humor, Humorlessness, and The Aristocrats:
The Rude Pundit has nothing but the highest regard for David Brock and his clearinghouse of ass-kicking material, Media Matters for America. In detailing the hypocrisies, lies, and slander of the right wing, Brock's work (and the work of the site's staff) is nearly miraculous in its attention to detail and its ability to cut through bullshit with a mere wave of a Nexis-tipped wand. So it pains the Rude Pundit to pause in his continuing battle with the forces of evil to say to Media Matters: "Lighten the fuck up."

Last week, Media Matters took the National Review's odious Rich Lowry to task for a couple of lame ass jokes Lowry told while speaking at the National Conservative Student Conference. Lowry said, "Osama bin Laden watchers say prior to 9-11 he liked to spend quiet weekends at home with his wife, his wife, his wife, his wife, and his children -- and that's no longer the case." Later, he said, "[T]he people I hang out with in New York...put our 'Run, Hillary, Run' bumper stickers on the front of our cars." Other sub-Bruce Vilanch jokes included something about how can one flush a Koran down an EPA-mandated "environmentally correct" toilet. Media Matters headlined the article, "Rich Lowry's idea of humor: Hitting Hillary Clinton with a car, bin Laden's polygamy."

This article is listed on a page that includes articles about far, far more serious matters, like James Dobson's equating stem cell research with Nazi medical experiments on way-past-zygote-Jews and Bob "It's Not Bullshit If I Say It" Novak's inability to get his stories straight on the Valerie Plame leak.

The Lowry story was presented as in and of itself outrageous, not in a context of "Gee, you know, conservatives criticize liberal comics for attacking the President - look at what they do," much as Laura Bush's "George jacked off a bull" story was placed against Whoopi Goldberg's Bush=bush remark. (And Lowry is not a politician, so when Tom DeLay makes a racist joke or some random Republican puke spouts off about killing all Muslims, that's a different story because there's policy affecting the rest of us involved.)

The point here is that if one is going to become a scold against jokes (and this isn't the first time Media Matters has attacked a right winger for exercising a sense of humor) then one dilutes one's message. It's important to point out that Rush Limbaugh lies and slimes people. Who gives a fuck if he makes stupid jokes for the droolin' dittoheads? You're not going to discredit someone by saying that he or she told a joke that implies chickens should engage in risky road-crossing behavior. However, if he or she insists that administration chickenhawks are brave warriors, then there's a problem.

The Rude Pundit is routinely criticized for his use of the words "cocksucker," "cunt," and "fag." He has been called a "gay-basher" (despite all of his entries celebrating the joys of same sex knob-bobbing and carpet-munching) and "misogynist." The film The Aristocrats makes this point very, very clear: A joke is only as powerful as the receiver makes it, and that especially goes for that which might offend us. The Rude Pundit and his companion guffawed mightily at all the words about shit-eating, child-fucking, cum-painting, Liza Minnelli, and worse (really), as did many, many in the crowded theatre, but every once in a while, someone would wince out loud, and a couple of people walked out.

But you know what? It's a fuckin' liberatory, cathartic film. Check out producer Penn Jillette's letter on the film's site - an amazing middle finger raised proudly. And you know what else? Even bottom-feeding conservative editorialists get to make jokes that might offend our delicate liberal sensibilities.

David Brock has no problem appearing on Al Franken's Air America show every week. In May, Franken brought a dinner for journalists to silence when he told Judith Miller, who was in attendance, "Maybe you can find some WMDs in your cell." Funny? So-so, although it gets bonus points for balls and context. Offensive? Sure. And, if we apply the paradigm Brock has set up with the article on Lowry's speech, worthy of scorn.

It's not our job to be humor police - when we tighten our asses into humorlessness, it's sure to bite us on our tightened asses. Instead, it's our job to make sure that the audience for their jokes is non-existent.

Enough of this. Tomorrow, back to our regular-scheduled rudeness against the right.