No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Comedy

That’s not funny!

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The cartoon Dilbert has been around for about three decades. It always had a specific audience in mind and that was anybody who had ever worked in a corporate or government environment. That was because such people were the ones most attuned to the insanities and inanities of those worlds, particularly the meetings they involve and especially the ones involving senior management.

If you’d never worked in that world you likely didn’t get the humour, which was gentle and poked fun at the endless stream of ideas that constantly sweep through the worlds of corporations and governments, many of them being ideas far removed from the objectives of increased revenue, reduced costs, increased productivity and, of course, profit – or in the case of government, running things competently and not at a continuous loss that screws future generations.

The eponymous character is an engineer, chosen because often they’re often the most based people in an organisation, since the stuff they design and build has to work in the real world. But engineers often find themselves at odds with marketing, advertising and HR people, not to mention that good old senior management.

The cartoon has done pretty well over the decades, spreading around the globe and becoming known to denizens of the non-corporate world as the issues Dilbert and friends cope with emerge into everyday life as well.

However, clearly there’s a limit to which ideas fun can be poked at any more. Clueless, amoral managers, marketers, and advertisers pushing crazy shit is one thing as a target, but Woke World is quite another. And so, inevitably:

Here’s the cartoon that triggered it.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 26, 2022 at 2:23 pm

“LEGEN – wait for it – DARY”

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Along with “Suit Up”, this was one of Barney’s favourite phrases in the American sitcom, How I Met Your Mother.

I can see Barney doing the following – or maybe this guy was a fan of the character.

It’s the ice cream cone licking of those last, juicy bits of sauce that’s the killer blow here.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 30, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Tory Power Stances

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I always love it when one of the American blogs I read makes reference to the British TV comedy series, Blackadder.

Now admittedly they’re keying off these photos of various grandees in the British Conservative Party which in turn was die to some recent snarknews from the UK site of the Huffington Post.

Which the blog immediately associated with this scene.

The stance has been around for several years.

Why do Tories keep standing like this? [Metro – 4/30/2018]

I guess it’s part of their heritage.

That’s from the episode, Sense and Senility, (which seems so appropriate now for America) and reading that Wiki entry I see there is a section added about power posing, complete with a 2018 link to (of course) The Guardian, who never miss a chance for a shot at the Tories.

Fair enough too in this case. Plonkers!

A few years ago friends visited us in NZ from the USA and their three teenagers had never seen the show so it was funny to hear them saying, “That’s Mr Bean” (Rowan Atkinson) and “That’s ‘House'” (Laurie). They enjoyed it though.

The episode I showed them was not the one pictured here but the first one of the third series, dealing with …. politics. It’s become a family tradition that after each NZ and US Presidential election we sit down to watch “Dish and Dishonesty”, which I swear to God has become a more accurate take on politics with every passing year. Don’t believe me? Check out the scene of Blackadder entering Baldrick’s MP Candidate application.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 28, 2022 at 11:01 am

Chicago on the Takapuna

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One of my favorite takes – especially when I am confronted by people raving about my focus on America – is that whatever crazy theory is created there will turn up here sooner or later.

So…. a couple of years ago, not long after I joined this blog I posted this…
Deck The Halls with Chutzpah:

And here we are two years later in NZ: compare and contrast

The funny thing is – if you’re in the mood for humor – when I covered the Chicago angle a couple of years ago on our old No Minister blog, I got this Leftie’s response:

Wizzard, allow me to introduce you to Tom Hunter, our resident racist. No one but Tom Hunter could draw a connection between crime in Chicago and New Zealand corrections policy.

But then, Tom Hunter is a supporter of a justice policy based on the rules of baseball.

You see? This is how it develops. Crime in our society is the result of class warfare.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 18, 2022 at 8:53 pm

Some White Saviour Analysis

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A database of progressive white men who are thirsty for credit

On Freddie deBoer’s substack site, he has a very funny, if lengthy, article which takes a few nasty shots at people I’ve mostly (and fortunately) never heard of but clones of which exists everywhere, The Good White Man Roster.

Freddie starts with an overview:

These are the guys who have carefully crafted personas as ALLIES, as the good ones, as the right kind of white guy. These are the dudes whose every engagement on social media functions to let you know how very sorry they are, but always seem to come out on top in doing so. 

And then goes through a list. Here are some samples of his takes:

… this is the Good White Man in his Platonic form… He’s so very sorry, everybody, and it cannot escape your notice that he’s more sorry than everyone else; that’s what an advanced being he is. He apologizes, but only in the context of referring to some earlier, fallen self, and in doing so he inescapably valorizes his current self… He who humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.

Chris Hayes, MSNBC

[MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is] a living, breathing laundromat for the post-collegiate elite’s ugly feelings of superiority, reassuring them every day on his show that their snobbery and self-obsession are justified thanks to their superior moral virtue… I genuinely cannot remember the last time this man made an argument on his show that risked offending subscribers to the New York Times.

There are a lot of people competing for the “most ardent supporter of a totally undertheorized and substance-free vision of an ostensibly post-capitalist future” crown these days, but Higgins is not going to be outworked on that score. Dialectics. False consciousness. Defund the police, or abolish ICE, or whatever. Let’s uh build the exceptionally vague society of our dreams. Also he lists his literary agent in his Twitter bio, which I find truly amazing.

Hello! Would you like a sneering shithead to condescendingly inform you that the dead center of witless corporate liberal opinion is in fact the utterly spotless expression of the transcendent truth, delivered with total conviction by someone who spent fifteen minutes reading Quora answers to arrive at his position? Buddy, have I got a pundit for you!

This man is the basic bitch of Good White Men, a computer-generated NPC of a Noble Ally. Everything about his performance (and, if you’ll forgive me, his face) is so perfectly in the center of Good White Manness, I half suspect he’s been created by a creepy machine learning algorithm designed to mimic embittered social studies teachers who always told themselves they were destined for more.

The kind of guy who discovers body positivity only after his metabolism slows down at 24 and suddenly he can’t lose his beer gut. The kind of guy who develops a keen interest in Thatcher’s depravity during the Troubles while taking a semester abroad in Dublin surrounded by cute girls with republican sentiments and potentially-accessible vaginas.

His general take on such White Men is also precise

Any Good White Man who feels that their appearance on this roster is an injustice can easily be removed. They need only follow their ideology to its logical ends by shutting the fuck up.

Which they will never, ever do.

Cancel Kulture and the tools it uses.

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And one of those tools has been Twitter.

Here’s one way that Cancel Kulture can be made to work, and has worked on a number of people, especially in show business.

It’s quite simple: you just reach back into the past of that person, find something that’s “problematic” by today’s standards – problematic is a great word in that it’s not a direct attack but implies that a problem exists with the target of the word – and use that standard combined with a gathering wildfire of outrage on Social Media, followed by the MSM, to force the target into groveling apologies, most of which don’t work, the target gets de-platformed anyway.

This is what happened to Oscars host and comedian, Kevin Hart, three years ago. That was the end of that high profile job, and pretty much his career. The same stunt has been pulled on nobodies as well, like the young woman who lost her university place when a former high school classmate published an old Tweet of her celebrating getting her drivers licence at the age of 16 by repeating the line of a famous rap song (all the rage with her generation at the time) that included The Word That Can Get You In Trouble (unless you’re a rap artist).

Recently it was tried against the famous American comedian Steve Martin, because of a forty year old sketch he’d done on Saturday Night Live. Stephen Green at PJMedia takes up the story:

“Steve Martin” briefly trended on Monday after Silver Age Television tweeted the anniversary of King Tut’s debut on SNL. It trended because some zero-humor wokester forced it to trend. But only briefly. Mediaite did its best to generate heat with this headline yesterday:

Steven Martin’s ‘King Tut’ Sketch from 1978 Sparks Twitter Debate on Cultural Appropriation.

Steven Martin? Anyway, as the story made clear, there wasn’t even so little as a “Twitter debate.” The worst Mediaite could find was two barely-critical tweets by a couple of low-follower Blue Checks.

The Twitter Outrage Machine was cranked to life, then almost immediately ran out of gas. Maybe it’s because Twitter spent Monday outraged about the Elon Musk buyout and didn’t have time to worry about Martin.

Excellent news, but how did that little wokester actually get “Steve Martin” to trend in the first place, lighting a spark as it were?

“They do it,” Dice explained, “to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Twitter manually inserts a topic on the list. People see the topic and think everyone is tweeting about which “caused” it to trend, so people *start* tweeting about it, and *then* the issue goes viral.”

Easy peasy. Japaneasy.

Oooo. Is that racist? Or culturally inappropriate?

Well anyway, after delving into yet another aspect of the grim, toxic underbelly of the politically correct Left, have a laugh at Steve Martin’s original sketch:

It’s a good thing George Carlin is dead

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That was one message from Bill Maher’s take on the impact of Cancel Kulture in his world of using humour to stick it to powerful people.

I haven’t covered The Slap Heard Around The World because it’s just more of Hollywood being awful, but this time in a petty way that amounted to them eating their own as well as being yet another black mark for the Oscars. IMHO it was not as bad as the crap they churn out for us to watch. And now I have Maher referring to it anyway, except that his angle isn’t the screaming about violence, toxic males or the hypocrisy involved but what it says about how the US Left is handling humour nowadays, with another in his series of Explaining Jokes to Idiots (bonus points for the shoutout to the famous Seinfeld episode, The Magic Loogie, with “back and to the left”, itself a Black Comedy parody of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK).

If you think that it trivialises Cancel Kulture in focusing on its effects on jokes instead of Very Serious Ideas then you probably don’t know about this from 2021:

A nonprofit organization that major U.S. tech companies rely on for content moderation is expanding the scope of content it will blacklist on social media platforms.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism will expand its database of terrorist content to cover content shared by white nationalist and alt-right users, Reuters reported Monday. Tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Twitter, rely on the forum’s database to automatically remove inappropriate content. Experts worry that the forum’s lack of transparency could cause some users to be unfairly censored.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism was created in 2017 to censor content from U.N.-designated terrorist organizations. The forum’s board is advised by the European Union’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, which recently released a report entitled “It’s Not Funny Anymore: Far-Right Extremists’ Use of Humor.”

More in that link, although it’s mostly not about humour.

The worst is when the comics censor themselves, when they become Woke, which seems to be what’s happened to one of Maher’s famous compadres, Jon Stewart.

The liberal comic retired from his “The Daily Show” perch in 2015, spawning tributes from across the media landscape. He changed the face of late night TV, they cried, and they were right. For better and much worse.

His impact, from his liberal take on the news to his bleeped profanity shtick, became part of the late night playbook.

Hell, I used to laugh along with The Daily Show as well, even as he took shots at the Right (like Maher does) to a far greater degree than he did at the Left.

But I did not appreciate the fact that after basically destroying what was a very good show of Left vs Right political and ideological argument, CNN’s Crossfireby going on it in 2004 and attacking the folks there as unserious hacks, saying it was a show that “hurt America” by treating serious ideas in a (too) humorous way – Stewart’s own show simply carried on pushing little but the Left’s line while the rest of the media environment collapsed into the same echo chamber:

Is the media landscape Stewart helped create better for it, where Brian Williams regularly engages in Stewart-like snark (he called Ron Johnson a Russian asset the other day for reading a Federalist article into the record) and Tucker Carlson is the biggest name as a solo act in cable news?

In a context in which so much ink is dedicated to the concept of silos and the elimination of common space between right and left — and I mean the real right and left, not David Brooks and Maureen Dowd — do we honestly want a world where there is no space where these warring sides meet to do rhetorical battle?

The answer is: of course not. It’s much, much worse. The inability to have a space where such debates play out, and the inability of existing entities to provide such a space, has led directly to a degradation of our political conversation and a lack of familiarity with even the most basic version of the other side’s perspective on the world.

And as Jim Treacher memorably noted of Stewart’s routine:

Once I saw through his Clown Nose Off/Clown Nose On routine — “You should listen to me because what I’m saying is important, but I’ll brush off your rebuttal by insisting I’m just a comedian” — it was like the optical illusion with the cows. It might take you a minute to see it, but once you do, you can’t unsee it.

Since Treacher’s analysis in 2013 people have looked at the famous old Crossfire segment and observed that Stewart was pulling the Clown Nose On / Clown Nose Off routine there as well.

There was some of this also when he recently appeared on an episode of one of his Daily Show proteges, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and spoke some common sense about the Wuhan Lab Leak theory, which had Colbert back-peddling fast until he finally asked Stewart how long he’d been working for Senator Ron Johnson (boom-tish for Liberal snark – see above).

Sadly he seems to have gone full Clown Nose Off as a result of savage attacks by Woke critics of his old show and more recent works:

The woke mob, which will “resurface” the past to attack people in the present, deemed his “Daily Show” writers room insufficiently diverse. And Stewart, rather than defend his team or their work, groveled for forgiveness. That must have stung, but it’s more likely another moment left a palpable scar on his psyche.

That other moment was a movie called “Irresistible” that Stewart made about politics and which lampooned both the GOP and the Democrats. That was not acceptable:

It’s cowardly to make a film lampooning Democrats as out of touch rather than Republicans as unquestionably evil, but this is what “centrism” is these days, and that’s the “both sides” ideology that Stewart espoused back during his days on The Daily Show, and that’s the shit that doesn’t fly anymore.

War, baby! Götterdämmerung. The final fight between the forces of Good and (Unquestionable) Evil.

This is why his latest show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on the Apple+ streaming network, had an episode titled “The Problem with White People.” that ended up with Andrew Sullivan, Mr Gay Mrriage himself, a voter of Obama-Obama-Clinton-Biden in the last few years, being attacked as a racist by Stewart’s guest, with Stewart in full, Clown Nose Off agreement:

I just assumed he wouldn’t demonize or curse at a guest; he would moderate; he would entertain counter-arguments; he would defend fair play. After all, this was the man who had lacerated Crossfire for bringing too much heat and not enough light. He believed in sane discourse. He was a liberal, right?

He is indeed, it’s just that poor old Sullivan, despite writing about Woke issues, still thinks that Liberals fit his stereotype, the comfortable picture he has of them, and of himself:

At that point, it became clear that Stewart was not conducting a televised debate, but initiating a struggle session. The point of the session was not to discuss anything, but to further enforce the dogma he had pronounced. So I found myself in the equivalent of one of those workplace indoctrination seminars — in which any disagreement is regarded as a form of “hate” or “ignorance.” But worse: I was in a struggle session with a live mob sitting in, cheering and jeering, which Stewart led and orchestrated. For good measure, Stewart called me a racist and told me I was not “living in the same fucking country as we are,” and went on to angrily call me a “motherfucker.”

Sullivan also got this treatment from the guest (predictably a Liberal White Woman):

I did not come on this show to argue with another white man. That’s one of the reasons we don’t even engage with white men at Race2Dinner, because quite honestly if white men were going to do something about racism, you had 400 years. You could have done it.

A key attack point. If it sounds familiar that’s because we’ve heard it in New Zealand also, in relation to White Colonialism, and you will hear more of it in the near future. Sullivan finishes his detailed piece on the history of White and Black race in the USA by drawing the obvious parallel with Stewart’s ethnicity:

… the trope of a malign racial force existing through history across time and space is one Jon Stewart might have once recognized before he joined the woke cult. I wonder what he would have said if someone had come on his old show and said, “I did not come on this show to argue with a Jew,” or “every single Jew upholds these systems,” or “it doesn’t matter what a Jew’s politics are, he’s still a Jew, and therefore a racist”. What if she had bragged that her organization wouldn’t even engage with Jews because they were so toxic. And what if that person had looked straight at a Jewish guest of Stewart’s when she said it? What would he have said?

Somehow I don’t think it would be: “If I could finger snap, I would finger snap right now.”

Amid all this fighting was news of a stunning counter-attack. After asking his 80 million Twitter followers what they thought of the status of free speech on the platform, and receiving an overwhelming response that it was poor, Musk bought a 9.2% stake in the company for US$ 2.9 billion dollars, making him the largest shareholder and likely catapulting him onto the Board of Directors.

We’ll have to wait and see what influence he has. While significant, the shareholding is far short of control and BOD members are not management; they don’t manage the day-to-day functions of the company. On top of that, as this article pointed out before Musk pulled the trigger, there are a number of big roadblocks in returning Twitter to being the free speech platform it was a decade ago, and we know they exist because they are what changed it. The article details four steps and shows how they worked before and could work again – possibly destroying Musk in the process.

  1. Blame the platform for its users.
  2. Coordinated pressure campaigns
  3. Exodus of the Bluechecks
  4. Deplatforming

Still it was nice to see that it triggered an immediate meltdown across the Lefty Social Media Sphere, especially among the Twitter workers themselves.

Maybe they should hire Bill Maher to provide worker tension-relief exercises once a week. They might even learn to laugh.

That’s the Way

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Rolling down the track towards 2040…

I’m sure National will be ahead of the Republicans, given how proud Kiwis are about being on the cutting edge of progressivism.

You may scoff but take a look around you in 2022.

That’s Sam Brinton, the new deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the US Energy Department’s Office of Nuclear Energy. He has a dual Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering and technology and policy from MIT, which led him to being a lecturer in the “Physics of Kink” at another university. He’s also into “Pup Play” – and no, I will not be providing a link for that, any more than I’ll be respecting his personal pronouns of they/them.

Then there’s the Disney corporation, which has decided to go full bore on supporting the right of teachers to educate their future Sam Brinton’s about sex – at ages 4-7.

Time for more “slippery slope” arguments.

Meantime the latest Democrat nominee for the Supreme Court apparently cannot say who is a woman. We’re going to have quite a job in front of us cleansing old movies for the future.

In doing so this sense of humour will be vital.

Meantime reality will roll on…

… including elections, though how well they’ll connect with future realities is anyone’s guess.

I’ll leave you with this variation on the first chart.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 30, 2022 at 10:04 am

Posted in Humour

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Great Leader Glorious Announcement Day

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You really can’t go wrong with Yosemite

Rumour has it that something big is about to happen here today in the land of the long white shroud.

We’ve already had some indications as to what is about to happen, including things that make no sense if The ScienceTM was still being followed.

Which raises the following question already answered in most of the rest of the world.

What we would have seen during the AIDS crisis if the messaging had been the same as with Chinese Lung Snot.

You may recall that this pandemic began in early 2020 with panic buying of toilet paper. This would have been more understandable if it were this sort of toilet paper.

God, the 70’s were fantastic apparently, especially in the USA: talk about being wealthy.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) may not be on board with the latest changes in science – or civil liberties.

We should be grateful the announcement won’t be followed by these sorts of cartoons. The reference is to the infamous Jewish Doctors’ Plot that was the last paranoid fever dream of Beria and Stalin before the latter croaked in 1953, at which point the whole “investigation” was abandoned.

Actually we watched The Death of Stalin the other night: very droll; very funny; highly recommend.

Speaking of the USSR it appears that Vlad The Hospital Impaler is still bogged down in all that Ukrainian mud. Much as I despise the bastard I’m not very keen on various careless war talk being bandied about in the West. It would seem I’m not the only one.

Still, I can see why Vlad wants Kyiv so badly.

Meantime, moving forward to the 80’s…

Or perhaps back to the 1960’s, given muttering’s of nuclear war from the Kremlin.

Thank god we have politicians in charge rather than Generals – or Public Health Officials.

Because he’s “Centre Right” I’m supposed to like Scott Morrison. Remember when John Key foolishly tried to pick up a hammer to belt in a nail on some election billboard? This is worse.

Meantime I see the Babylon Bee has been banned – again – from Twitter for upsetting them.

I guess the BB won’t be getting the cherished Blue Check Mark.

But why worry when even the Pope is onboard with all this stuff.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 23, 2022 at 11:35 am

We need more cuteness

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I also wonder about the title of this Twitter piece: are Pandas surviving in the wild?

They are still bears after all, and I have to think that in the somewhat tougher conditions of surviving using their own abilities, that they’re somewhat tougher in the wild than when they’re being taken care of by humans in zoos.

It must be really nice having everybody think how cute you are and then doing nothing during your day except things that make everybody think how cute you are.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 21, 2022 at 3:37 pm