The next big thing

The new neo-

[A large round table of the sort one might have seen on the Charlie Rose Show, but in a nondescript co-working space rather than a TV studio. Sitting around the table are Internet celebrity BEN SHAPIRO, professional anti-cancel-culturist BARI WEISS, DAMON LINKER who writes for some magazine, and ANDREW SULLIVAN, all dressed in “casual” clothing that costs thousands of dollars. They also all have coffee mugs and each probably has a separate kind of small-batch tea in it. No masks but semi-distancing. Off to one side, an easel with some sort of board on it, covered in white cloth.]

BEN SHAPIRO: First I want to say that I am totally psyched that you guys are rejecting left-wing orthodoxy and doing a magazine! I always knew you would be the ones — I mean, Andrew I know is a conservative, and Damon is sort of a conservative, and Bari — I guess — you’re — I don’t know, I guess neoliberal?

WEISS: Actually I’m more of a centrist.

SHAPIRO: Oh, well, me too, really. Center-right for sure.

LINKER: I’d call myself a centrist.

SULLIVAN: I don’t believe in labels.

WEISS: Well, I don’t either but if I have to have one I’d be a centrist.

SULLIVAN: Oh yes, if anything.

LINKER: On the other hand why do we have to have labels at all?

SHAPIRO: Well, for one thing it totally makes liberals’ heads explode.

LINKER: There is that!

SHAPIRO: I mean here you all are liberals, sort of, in a way, and then you totally own the anti-racists and wokesters and SJWs —

SULLIVAN: Their reaction is very humorless.

SHAPIRO: What do you mean humorless? I think it’s hysterical.

SULLIVAN: No I mean they are humorless; they cannot see humor.

SHAPIRO: Oh, I see what you mean. Okay. See? We can disagree and discuss it like grown-ups. That’s another thing that makes us different. The race question, for example. We all agree that America can do better on race. And we will. For example, totally in favor of renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and John Lewis should totally have top billing. The Lewis-Pettus Bridge!

LINKER: Real progress.

SULLIVAN: Very sensible.

WEISS: Yes.

SHAPIRO: Sure! But this 1619, Black Lives Matter thing —

[All make noises of disgust.]

WEISS: Yes, but we have all these anti-woke black people now.

LINKER: Yes. William Chatterton Thomas.

WEISS: Thomas Chatterton Williams.

LINKER: Right. Right.

SHAPIRO: He should totally be here.

WEISS: We asked him, but he couldn’t make it.

SULLIVAN: Rather stand-offish, I’d say.

SHAPIRO: He is?

SULLIVAN: Well, you know — I mean they have their own table, don’t they.

[General giggling, which mystifies SHAPIRO.]

Also gigantic cocks.

[Everyone busts up, which SHAPIRO quickly decides to do as well.]

SHAPIRO: Ha, ha, see? Liberals can’t make these jokes! I mean the liberals who aren't you! They’re humorless. You couldn’t make Blazing Saddles because they wouldn’t let you! Well, this is great. So stoked. And Bari, I know you have the first cover for the magazine on that easel and I’m so stoked to see it.

WEISS: We do.

SULLIVAN: Yes.

LINKER: You can’t tell anyone though.

WEISS: Not yet.

SHAPIRO: Of course, totally. Okay, not gonna lie. Excited.

WEISS: OK. Prepare to have your mind blown.

[She gets up and pulls away the cloth, revealing this:]

SHAPIRO: [Confused] National Review?

WEISS: That’s right.

SHAPIRO: But — what about the National Review they already have?

LINKER: We’re taking it over.

WEISS: Thiel bought them out.

SHAPIRO: Wow. Okay. Wow. But — [Points at cover] didn’t they — didn’t they already do this

WEISS: Maybe.

SULLIVAN: At some point.

LINKER: Perhaps.

SULLIVAN: But nobody remembers.

WEISS: And this time we’re not gonna back down!

[Tom Petty plays; fast CURTAIN.]