Thursday, March 15, 2012

Satire vs. Sarcasm

I suppose it’s time to wade in on the assertion that liberals have no right to complain about Rush Limbaugh because Bill Maher is just as foul mouthed when criticizing conservatives.
My first thought is, how juvenile is that?  How is that different from three year olds whining that ‘she hit me first’?  When did it become OK for one person’s bad behavior to justify another’s similar bad behavior?
Which brings me to Bill Maher, and to a lesser extent Jon Stewart.  Both are capable of very funny and insightful political satire, as good as the best of Mort Sahl, maybe better because they, and their writers, manage to cover new material for mass audiences day after day.  
But here’s the problem, both of them like to think they are ‘edgy’, which means nothing more than salting their lines with curses and obscenities that have long since lost their ability to shock, are not humorous, but are a distraction from the sophisticated satire of which they are capable.   Whatever edginess that might have represented was over fifty years ago.  Even George Carlin figured that out. 
One final observation.  Don’t confuse satire with sarcasm.  Maher is capable of intellectually honed political satire.  Limbaugh slugs away with sarcasm.

7 comments:

Allan Bevere said...

Well, CP... this juvenile says that, like Limbaugh, Maher is a misogynist. Of course, it's OK for the left to utter contemptible things against women as long as they do not hold the right politics, the nuance of satire notwithstanding. I find it unbelievable that Maher can say the things that he can say, that completely offends my wife (who was also offended by Limbaugh's comments as well), but he gets a pass because it is satire.

So all those conservative women out there just need to be reminded that because of their politics, the fact that they are female is of no account. Yes, it is OK to refer to conservative women with vulgar language because... well.. it is nuance.

Country Parson said...

So, you read the Maher interview too. No, he does not get a pass, even though he tries hard to give himself one. If Maher slides under the radar more easily than Limbaugh it's because he is not on broadcast radio, but on subscription only TV. That's not an excuse or justification, it's just an observation.

Allan Bevere said...

CP:

Please correct me if I've misread you. I don't buy that Maher being on subscription TV means he slides under the radar. Not in this current context of media blitz. His words have been clearly available for journalists for a while now.

I read your words as saying what he said is less a problem because it is satire. So because it is satire, conservative women, like my wife (who is more socially conservative than I am) are fair game for anti-female rhetoric.

If I have misread you, I apologize.

Country Parson said...

Allan,
Yes, you have misread me. As for the radar issue, you are quite wrong. Limbaugh has an enormous audience on non-subscriiption radio, so whatever stupid thing he says is instantly heard and reported. Maher is able to get away with stupidity with less publicity because his is a small audience subscribing to a particular cable tv service. One that I do not subscribe to. That's just a fact, not an excuse.
Steve (CP)

Allan Bevere said...

CP:

I will respectfully disagree with you on the audience issue, but please accept my apologies for misreading you.

Country Parson said...

So Allan, one of my problems is that I used to be a political conservative, and proud of it. But whatever that was then, today's so called conservatives bear no likeness to it. As for Limbaugh, I consider him a tiresome boor whose politics border on dangerous to the well being of the nation. As for Maher, he has the potential for being a great political satirist, but he self destructs all the time with his arrogance and lack of respect for ordinary people.
Steve

Allan Bevere said...

I have no disagreement with you about Rush. I haven't listened to him in years. Maher indeed self-destructs. As far as his potential, I'm not sure he will ever get beyond his highest level of mediocrity.

As far as the Rupublican Party not being what it used to be, I agree with you, but I would also say the same thing about the Dems as well. I used to vote Democratic all the time, but then the party moved hard left just as the Repubs moved hard right. It has become difficult for those of us who have more moderate sensibilities.