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Do Conservative Film Nuts Have a Better Sense of Humor?

November 3, 2005
by

I recently attended the 2nd Annual Liberty Film Festival in Los Angeles, which is self-advertised as “Hollywood’s Conservative Film Festival.” Truly a “How did I get here?” moment. The answer in this case was relatively simple: the producer of my short film had entered our short into the festival and (despite the fact that our film is totally apolitical) we were accepted.

 

In a filmmakers’ Q&A afterwards, I was surprised at the reaction of the audience when I declared that in my day-to-day life in “the Industry,” I would much rather identify as a Christian than a conservative. As I remarked, “Christian” is hard enough for a lot of Indy people to deal with — adding “Conservative” would just be too much. I said this rather dryly and was surprised to get in response not a wall of glares, not cries of heresy, but a generous little wave of laughter to surf on for a second or two.

 

The laughter keyed me in to something that was observed by several members of a subsequent panel of screenwriters. Several of the panelists — who have written everything from M*A*S*H episodes to Jim Carrey movies -– noted that you heard more laughter at this festival than the typical fest. Roger L. Simon, who wrote the Woody Allen-starrer Scenes From a Mall and former funder of the Black Panthers, stated that these days it’s the conservatives who have a sense of humor. All of his old Lefty friends are full of self-seriousness and furious conviction that their political opponents are daily hatching new, elaborate plots to oppress all Citizens of the World and destroy all that is Good.

 

I remember observing the exact opposite when I was an LA Weekly-devouring Democrat in college. It was the Reaganites and Right Wingers who seemed to be swathed in a big, wet blanket of sphincter-tightening outrage and narrow-mindedness. Nowadays, though, even one of my favorite comedic minds, George Carlin, whose love of language and brilliant imagination always elevated even his basest and most Leftist material in the Reagan Years, has become shockingly unfunny. The toxin of Bush Hatred seems to have turned his playful wit into cranky bile. And bitterness, my friends, just ain’t funny — not for longer than, say, a minute of ranting. Try to listen to Bill Maher if you don’t believe me. (Or, more instructively, listen to the typical AM talk radio host vs. the typical Air America host.) Even liberal friends of mine who possess a generally fine sense of humor seem to rapidly lose all contact with it roughly two seconds after uttering the words “WMD,” “Rove” or “Halliburton.”

 

So, one has to wonder: Is this transfer of comedic sensibility a true cultural paradigm shift? Or is it just a result of the GOP being on top in Washington these days? Will it all shift back when the political pendulum swings back to the Left? Or was it always this way – have liberals always been unable to laugh at themselves, and that reality has just had been heightened by the recent impotence of their ideas in the U.S.realpolitik (I know, I can’t believe I used that word either)…? Or is it all in my imagination?

 

Duke_Ray out.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    November 3, 2005 8:21 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more about George Carlin. I can barely stand him lately.

    But you have to admit that Dennis Miller is pretty lame now too, post-political-conversion.

    You should try John Stewart. Funniest man in America at the moment.

  2. Count Grecula permalink
    November 4, 2005 12:38 am

    Miller’s show did get cancelled, but the Countess and I actually enjoyed it on occasion. And even if he wasn’t as funny, he was still able to laugh at himself. I alse thought he expressed an genuine interest in what other’s think, whether it be liberals, or social/religious Christians like Ted LaHaye, authour of the end-times “Left Behind” series. He was much more respectful, humble and gently humorous than many Christians might be with LaHaye.

    John Stewart is damn funny, no doubt – but I think he is also able to laugh at himself, and his precious liberal causes as well. I appreciated it when last Spring he seemed to admit that maybe Bush had begun to actually acheive postitive results in the Mideast via his insane and evil war.

    Greg Gutfield, who I link to in the sidebar, is another case in point. As the the lone Conservative humorist on the cheerles mental ward that is the Huffington Post, he skewers liberals every week. And every week, he gets the most bitter, humorless comments you can imagine. Sometimes they are funnier than his own post- to the point that I wonder if they’re fakes. Somehow I don’t think so. Look for his Cheif Brody Slap column. Spot on.

    Thanks Duke Ray for a great first post!!

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