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CSotD: Punch up! Punch down! See my thumb?

Since DDDegg has done an excellent mop-up of the Pulitzer fiasco, I’m going purely for comedy today, leading off with this Super-Fun-Comix-Pak (AMS) strip, by Ken Fisher or Ruben Bolling or somebody.

Irving Kristol — Bill’s dad — defined a neoconservative as a liberal who got mugged, and now Bolling certainly understands what it’s like to be mugged. And what it’s like to exercise wit in the presence of the witless.

Thank goodness we’re all over that, eh?

Or maybe, as suggested in this Mannequin on the Moon (AMS), we’re just shifting away from wit, to justifying heartless jokes and bad behavior as intentional but not malicious, whateverthehell that means.

When conservative prep-school intellectuals created National Lampoon and then migrated to Saturday Night Live, “irony” became the excuse for cruel, elitist, sexist and racist humor.

Then we suddenly swung the pendulum the other way and expelled a US Senator for a silly prank photo that would have been hailed as a comic masterpiece if he’d written it for Belushi.

 

And, speaking of humorless people, I was delighted to see Bizarro (KFS) stick a finger in the eye of language snobs who, irregardless of the number of times you remind them that ironic and idiomatic usage is a well-established element of our mongrel language, insist that it must follow the rules, because life otherwise becomes spontaneous and uncontrolled, and we mustn’t have that.

Even though some well-respected authors might disagree.

 

I would note that language snobs and the wealthy are the sort of targets of mockery that involve “punching up.” First Dog in the Moon here (read the rest) responds to the current glut of billionaires con brio, which means with a delightful French pastry.

His headline for this piece is “Sadly there is too much hate in the world. Why not save yours for the ultrawealthy!” and so say we all. Or so we all should.

After all, little guttersnipes have been hurling snowballs at the top hats of overstuffed rich men for more than a century, and if you don’t like it, stop providing such irresistible targets.

 

I’m hardly the first to suggest that the reason Americans don’t rise up against their tormentors is that they’re convinced that, one day, they’ll be at the top of the heap, and this Moderately Confused (AMS) not only shows the masterful incompetence with which they pursue that goal, but adds a poke at the way they get sucked into expecting more than a relatively comfortable life.

When financial advisors became wealth advisors, their appeal to this self-deception should have been a warning.

You may have “finances” but you sure as hell don’t have “wealth” nor are you likely to, no matter how much bafflegab and razzamatazz you purchase from “wealth advisors” at a reasonable fee.

I pass by a “wealth conservatory” regularly, which I suspect is where Professor Plum did it with a calculator, and now I’ve seen ads on social media for a “wealth studio,” which I like a little better, because a fellow who sleeps on a murphy bed in his office must not be ripping people off too much.

And, in any case, I’d rather make fun of pretentious toffs and would-be toffs than go with the oh-so-clever gang on Facebook who mock the less fortunate for not dressing nicely to shop at Wal-Mart or because their signs have spelling and usage errors.

Never been a big fan of punching down.

 

Thoughtful criticism of the elite can be amusing without being laugh-aloud funny, as seen in this Candorville (WPWG). There’s a lot to unpack here.

First, of course, is the issue of “school choice” which is itself double-pronged.

Private schools have always existed, but they greatly increased after Brown v Board of Education when integration threatened. Which, take warning, you are not allowed to teach about in the state of Florida, where there is no racism and nothing to see, just keep moving and noone gets hurt.

BTW, here’s a brilliant explanation of Critical Race Theory, but I digress. And nobody who condemns CRT wants to know what the hell it is anyway, so what’s the point?

Whatever the reason for “school choice,” and whoever is exercising it, withdrawing the children of more pro-active parents not only takes tax funding from the schools but eliminates a level of accountability, even if the parents of remaining children care but are too swept up in poverty, language issues and other distractions.

Point being that, while a Bill Gates may have greater resources for pressuring his children’s schools, there’s a lot to be said for that lower-middle-class mother who knows she’s right and just keeps on a-coming.

So it doesn’t matter whether Bill’s kids leave for Plumsucker Country Day School or that activist mother pulls her kids out to put them in a charter, Lemont is right: The students left behind are truly, truly left behind.

I also liked that bit of twist, in which you start by thinking Lemont was getting grief from the rich folks, but it turns out he’s apparently getting it from everyone, including those who ought to be rising up against the aforementioned toffs.

It’s an echo of an old apocryphal story of the English lord asked what he felt was the effect of universal education, to which he replied that it meant the obscenities were being scrawled somewhat lower on his castle wall.

And, y’know, I wouldn’t mind being despised by the wealthy, but I truly resent their ability to summon the mob.

Here’s one more point to ponder: I heard someone say the other day that liberals target Congress and the White House, while conservatives take over the school board and the city council, and that’s why they have more wide-based support on the ground when they do raise their sights to those more exalted offices.

Yes, I know. I wasn’t going to be political.

 

Here. Click on this and read the rest of Stephen Collins’ piece about re-gifted gifts, which isn’t at all political and is the funniest thing I’ve read in a good long time.

Though pardon Lou Rawls for this reminder that getting out does not have to mean forgetting.

Community Comments

#1 Robb McAllister
June/13/2021
@ 8:02 am

Mike: Hey. Just thanks for your daily posts. This 58-year-old journalist major who ended up doing aviation television writing and producing appreciates your daily writing. (It) keeps me sane (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

#2 Fred King
June/13/2021
@ 11:00 am

Yes–if I have any sanity left after working in my basement for a year, some of the credit goes to you, Mike.

Also, thank you for the link to Critical Race Theory. Very well put! (I grew up in Gainesville, Florida, was taught state history in the 4th grade (late 1960s, segregated White school) and went through Rosewood many, many times on the way to Cedar Key. When did I hear about what happened there in 1923? I think I was in my 40s.)

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