The Stupid Party
Durr, I should say, hurr
You’re probably familiar with the old adage that puns are the lowest form of humor. But that’s not quite true. It takes some brainpower to make a pun. Even eminent humorists are known for them, like Dorothy Parker’s “too fucking busy and vice versa” and S.J. Perelman’s “the tail dogging the wag.”
Fart jokes are inarguably much lower than puns yet some of us are amused by them. Not that we must explain ourselves — chacun à son gout, don’t yuck my yum and all that — but one fart may be wittier than another; witness the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles. Tsk, but that’s cheating, we all know a real fart joke is one in which the fart is funny just because it’s inappropriate. A fart in church, a fart during a windy speaker’s tedious oration — these may be slightly improved by timing, but it is the plain fact of the fart in the face of sanctimony or pretension that makes the joke. It is in a sense an ur-joke. (Leave aside Le Pétomane, who was not so much a comic as a carnival act, and my own sport with Jonah Goldberg, for whom flatulence is a key to character.)
I was put in mind of these phenomena by a Twitter encounter with one of those dullards who, having failed to make several non-arguments and been informed of it, broke out the laughing emojis, starting with one and proceeding to a series. The idea seemed to be that he found me ridiculous and had not words to express it, and thus resorted to pictograms.
I’ve come across this routine before; sometimes they also throw in one or more popular animated gifs of celebrities looking askance, informing they viewer they’re “a special kind of stupid,” etc.
Something about this bugs me. It could just be that it offends my professional pride as an internet wise guy to have my sallies and mots justes countered by the social media equivalent of so’s your old man.
But — indulge me a moment — maybe it’s bigger than that. I’ve talked here about how conservatives don’t really even seem to try to argue convincingly anymore, because the success of the Trump movement has taught them there’s no need for intellectual gymnastics or even, really, coherent thought — they just have to make bellicose MAGA noises and like-minded people will flock to the sound. For many of them this revelation may have been at first uncomfortable, and then perhaps a guilty relief — really, why were they working so hard all that time? — and after a while, I bet, the lack of effort and meaning itself becomes what bonds them to the cause. For a certain kind of person, the absence of any challenges or responsibility feels like authenticity — proof that one has arrived at one’s natural state. Call it nostalgie de la baba booey.
The clearest example of this is the Let’s Go Brandon thing. The “joke” behind it — they’re not supposed to say “Fuck Joe Biden,” so they say something meaningless with the same cadence instead — is literally childish, yet after months the MAGA brethren hang onto it like a tattered old Teddy bear. (Did you see Marc A. Thiessen’s Washington Post column, “Three Cheers for ‘Let’s Go Brandon’”? Before that, I thought you had to like somebody to be embarrassed for them.)
Barring brain damage, it can’t possibly still be funny to them and, though I know they have an insatiable appetite for Owning the Libs, I doubt even the dimmest among them thinks any liberal would be wounded by it.
It would seem at this point that the stupidity of the thing is actually most of its appeal. They’re not repeating Let’s Go Brandon, or a string of laughing emojis, or a gif of Kevin Hart making a face because it’s witty or even fart-joke funny; they repeating it because it’s stupid. If announcing your contempt for Joe Biden isn’t the wicked burn on the libs that it seemed to be the first thousand times, maybe announcing your own stupidity, your own devotion to stupidity, will do it — because you know liberals are always trying to explain things or make sense of them, and what better way to frustrate them than by announcing yourself too dumb to know or care what they’re talking about? That’s funnier than a fart in church, and that never stops being funny!
Well, two can play at that game: Next time I’ll respond with the nerd emoji — maybe use a bunch of them to spell out a giant ASCII art nerd emoji. That’ll show ‘em! Baba booey!
i've got nothing much to say here, because i can't find anything with which to disagree. i've long given up arguing with, or even engaging with, those on the right. there's no point, when one's positions are met with frontier gibberish. i used to find the lack of the possibility of dialog troubling, but now all i can do is shrug it off.
Someone say stupid
Looks like I’m going to have to reconsider whether all those fine people are pathological or just suffer from hanging with the wrong people. Not it matters beyond an intellectual exercise.
But Roy, tell us how you really feel.