Fine line between clever and stupid

I wasn’t at all surprised by the study John cited about Colbert. I hate to use this word, but Colbert is a genius, he hits just the right notes and his whole act has a good-heartedness to it that it doesn’t alienate anyone except the hardest-core #hashtagactivists.

That said, it is incredibly difficult for me to distinguish between real wingers and joke wingers. For example, is this a joke or not?






89 replies
  1. 1
    scav says:

    He seems to be grumpy about his average stay at home wife and average kids.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Impossible to tell without context. My first thought is that no one is dumb enough to tweet something like that seriously. But then my second thought is to slap myself upside the head for being that naive.

  3. 3
    Zam says:

    I’ll guess fake, I would think a real conservative taking this stance would not be so modest as to call himself average when he is clearly a self made maker supporting the world on his back.

  4. 4
    Warren Terra says:

    Poe’s law is cruel and ruthless in action.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    “Rep. Jack Kimble” fooled at least one journalist into thinking he was real. (Hint: California only has 53 Congressional districts.)

  6. 6
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    My first thought was “nope, totally genuine.” Then I was like “… unless he’s a known liberal who’s just parodying and knows his followers will know not to take him seriously.”

  7. 7
    Soonergrunt says:

    It’s not a joke, unless he’s been keeping up appearances for a while now.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: I try to look for the good in my fellow man. You are obviously a steely-eyed realist.

  9. 9
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The best part of Colbert’s act is that he’s got it down so cold that even people in the know fall for it. I was watching Al Franken on his show in the first year or so that it was on and Franken got a bit flustered during the interview and lost it for a bit. It was pretty damned funny. If he takes Letterman’s gig, he’s said that he’ll drop the persona and play it strait. I hope he turns it down.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    I’m going to guess satire because I don’t think real wingnuts would end with “bastards.” Also, there is a distinct failure to blame Obama.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Warren Terra: THIS

  12. 12
    Morbo says:

    If I could suggest an improvement to the title of this post: “I fought Poe’s Law, and Poe’s Law won.”

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Dedicated to his craft.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hunter Gathers: I think he should turn it down, too. Let DeGeneres take it, that format is more her cup of tea, and I think she’ll be good for it. Colbert’s on-air persona is what makes his comedy so great, and so meaningful. The wingtards need to be skewered on a regular basis, and Colbert delivers.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, this deathbed quote has been attributed to many people, but that’s because it’s true:

    Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.

  16. 16
    gnomedad says:

    OT, funniest crack ever about Fox News ever (IMO) on FB: “Do these people know we can hear them?” It would be funny enough if it weren’t being said of a “news” organization.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I try to look for the good in my fellow man.

    Yet here you are.

  18. 18
    Mike E says:

    Mark Twain
    Will Rogers
    Kurt Vonnegut
    Stephen Colbert

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I brought my microscope.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hunter Gathers:
    @Villago Delenda Est:

    AFAIK, Craig Ferguson still has the right of first refusal on Letterman’s timeslot (aka a “Prince of Wales” clause). So the debate is really over who would get the late (12:30 a.m.) slot, unless NBC decides they want someone else at 11:30 pm so badly that they’re willing to pay Ferguson $15 million.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: Given that Ferguson doesn’t have the same media profile as Colbert or DeGeneres, CBS might be willing to do so, or Ferguson isn’t really interested in the gig. I’ve seen him a few times, he can be funny, but he’s not Dave. Letterman didn’t have that problem when he was thought of as Carson’s natural heir.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Does the guy stop at Walmart on the way home. He might be able to see who those takers are.

    Actually I think he needs to visit BENTONVILLE, Ark to meet the real moochers

  23. 23
    Mike E says:

    @Mnemosyne: Ferguson’s late late gig is a good one, I don’t see him in Dave’s slot. He’ll take the money and run to another network/outlet.

  24. 24
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Satire, bitches!

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike E: I think that Ferguson would have to rein in some of the anarchy of his show in order to take the earlier slot. That would be a shame.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    Only a winger would be stupid enough to be jealous of HD TV and cable.

    Does he think they would get what they deserved if they watched network shows in analog?

  27. 27
    kc says:

    I honestly can’t tell if that is a parody account, but then again, I would have thought Suey Park’s Twitter feed was a joke.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @BGinCHI: You can receive high def over the antenna now. just sayin

  29. 29
    chopper says:

    what’s a TVS and how can i get one?

  30. 30
    Baud says:

    @chopper:

    Unprotected sex?

  31. 31
    raven says:

    If the pikers don’t have cable how they gonna watch the first final four not on broadcast tv?

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    Free Obamaflix, of course.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    @raven: there are ways

    at least I think so..

  34. 34
    James E. Powell says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    unless NBC decides they want someone else at 11:30 pm so badly that they’re willing to pay Ferguson $15 million.

    You mean CBS, right? I read “industry sources” who put the figure at $8-12 million and stated that CBS was likely to pay it because they don’t believe Ferguson can contend against Kimmel and Fallon. I have no idea whether they are right or wrong, but I don’t see a “next Dave Letterman” anywhere on the scene.

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @JPL: Ways for pikers or ways for you to get TBS?

  36. 36
    aimai says:

    Serious question–who is the market for these late night shows? I don’t watch any of this stuff and never have. I’m either already asleep or watching something that I want to watch that I’ve downloaded/timeshifted from when it was originally shown. What demographic watches this stuff?

  37. 37
    Culture of Truth says:

    I don’t use the word lightly either, but he is a genius.

  38. 38
    willard says:

    Occasionally I wonder if Rush Limbaugh is the most successful troll of all time.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL: Not moochers.

    Parasites. Vampires.

    Monsters.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @James E. Powell:

    Yes, sorry, CBS.

    Ferguson’s show is produced by Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, so Letterman has a financial stake in Ferguson’s show as well. The negotiations will be interesting.

  41. 41
    jomike says:

    Whiny aggrievement, clueless self-absorption, piss-poor punctuation, unfunny and unclever, lacks satirical bite. Seems genuine to me, but if it’s fake it’s too subtle by half.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @raven: My son signed on my computer with his account so we could watch “Suits” yesterday. I just checked and it’s a live stream for uverse customers..

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @JPL: I don’t think you are the demographic I’m thinking of.

  44. 44
    Jennifer says:

    It’s a dessert and a floor wax!

    (He’s both a joke (just not a funny one) and a real winger.)

  45. 45
    jomike says:

    @willard: Limbaugh’s meteoric rise began not long after Andy Kaufman’s “death.” Coincidence?

  46. 46
    Mike in NC says:

    O/T but we’re starting to see reelection ads for Lindsey Graham on TV in this neck of the woods. He’s started a brave website called OptOutSC.org so people can say “Thanks but no thanks” to the Affordable Care Act. He’s petrified of the teabaggers trying to bring him down and will twist himself into knots to appease them. Next up will no doubt be something like TruthAboutBenghazi.org. More stupid than clever is Lady Lindsey.

  47. 47
    John O says:

    Musically very talented, comedically almost pitch-perfect, and his speech at the Correspondent’s Dinner will forever retain a place in my heart.

    Genius is appropriate.

  48. 48
    kc says:

    Reading his feed: I don’t think he’s kidding.

  49. 49
    DougJ says:

    @aimai:

    Good question. I’m mostly surprised by how good the quality is on the new generation of 11:30-and-later shows — Colbert, Ferguson, and Fallon (or at least Fallon’s musical bits) are all excellent. But I wonder who watches.

  50. 50
    raven says:

    Check his Twitter header?

    Conservative American who understands why the 2nd amendment exists. Its not so you can hunt deer. Its to hunt crooked politicians & preserve individual liberty”

  51. 51
    kc says:

    @Mike in NC:

    SC wingnuts think Graham is a big ol’ Obama-loving RINO. He’s got several primary opponents – they chose to run against him rather than the new, appointed Senator Scott.

    Of course, he’s going to win, but he’ll have to grovel for it . . .

  52. 52
    John O says:

    It’s horribly off-topic, but I just want to scream it to the world:

    Two dear old friends who live pretty far away had a daughter, whom I have spent a few hours with over the course of my lifetime, due to our age and geography differences. What I knew for sure about her was that she was the product of two of the greatest human beings I’ve ever known, is sweet, kind, generous, compassionate, musically talented, and, just to add to it all, model-pretty. We are, after all, FB friends.

    So today came the news that she is interning in her HS Sr. year at Stanford Effing University doing a little delving into STEM CELL RESEARCH.

    She’s 17, and I do believe she’s Won at Life. I have the warm and fuzzes like you can’t believe.

    Carry on.

  53. 53
    Southern Goth says:

    Man, if Stephen Colbert quits being Stephen Colbert to just be Stephen Colbert, I’m really going to miss Stephen Colbert.

  54. 54

    I can’t tell about that tweet. On the one hand, he’s not typing in all caps and he managed to spell every word correctly and use ‘their’ with the correct spelling.

    On the other hand, he did miss a comma and his sentence kind of all slurs together like some of the winger rants I get on Facebook.

  55. 55
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Whoever takes Dave’s spot should have his instincts for not taking shit from anyone. Ferguson is a friendly guy but seems to have that necessary intolerance for arrant celebrity bullshit. Nobody wants to see a host pitch softballs and overlook egotistical nonsense in that slot. Dave could be ruthless when it came down to preserving his own dignity by calling out bad behavior.

  56. 56
    John O says:

    I could go with Chelsea Handler to replace Dave. I find her interesting and weird and edgy. It would be different if the Network Gods let her have at it.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @John O:

    That is fantastic! Gives me great optimism for the future of this here-now species.

  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: Dave could be ruthless when it came down to preserving his own dignity by calling out bad behavior.

    His first interview with O’Reilly, he said something like “See, I just think 90% of what you say is pure crap”, was a thing of beauty, and I’ll always love him for his absolute shredding of McCain in ’08. He was a lot softer on O’Reilly subsequently, but it’s not his job to be the Fox cop. And I wouldn’t be surprised if in the last five years he gave more airtime to climate change, sans both sides horseshit, than the CBS news division.

  59. 59
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @willard:

    Occasionally I wonder if Rush Limbaugh is the most successful troll of all time.

    It would be interesting to accuse him of that.
    Would the glory of being ‘best of all time’ be so attractive to that greedy fool that he would renounce his life’s work as farce?

  60. 60
    John O says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I would cough up her name, because I now believe you’re going to hear it anyway if you live long enough, she’s that talented (and gorgeous) and sweet, but it just doesn’t seem appropriate. :-)

  61. 61
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Dave was never going to be anyone’s dancing bear. He paid a high price in personal frustration for having to regularly deal with professional bullshit artists. He ended up with the somewhat dour demeanor and fatalist aspect of a realist in an unreal world.

  62. 62
    R. Porrofatto says:

    The guy’s blog address is right in the header, and he’s genyoowine batshit. (Also a Mark Levin fan, so batshit is a given. Levinites have the Dunning-Kreuger thing down: They’re pig-ignorant, but think they’re brilliant.) See the first post. He hasn’t mastered carriage returns yet.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’ve been wondering about the “Prince of Wales clause,” and I found this somewhat informative listicle.

  64. 64
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: His post-heart attack, post-9/11, post-paternal softening is what led him (I think, obviously don’t know the man) to give so much time on his show to climate change, hunger and poverty issues, and I respect him a lot for that, but god help me I miss the days of “Dave’s Oprah Journal”, “Pat and Kenny Read Oprah Transcripts” and “Eatin’ with Zsa Zsa”

  65. 65
    JPL says:

    @John O: That is wonderful but I wouldn’t cough up the name. We will know soon enough and congrats to her.

  66. 66
    Elizabelle says:

    @John O:

    Wunderbar.

    You can tell us in a few years, and thank FSM for the youngers.

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: For example, John McCain’s unforgivable lie during the 2008 election campaign. Totally avoidable self-inflicted error, pretty much like the Palin pick.

    As Jim points out above, Dave took him to school on that one, and I think it had some impact on the outcome. McCain demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he could not be trusted about anything.

  68. 68
    Steeplejack says:

    @aimai:

    It’s the coveted 18–49 demographic, the younger the better. The cool people that (allegedly) buy everything that matters in America. Not everyone watches the show at that time, of course, but by their nature the networks have to launch these things “on the air.” Then they hope the buzz trickles down through time-shifting, YouTube, social media, etc. They realize (hope) that the actual real-time audience is just the tip of the iceberg. And that’s probably not an unfair assumption.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: He had Limbaugh on once and totally pwnd his ass. Limbaugh never returned.

  70. 70
    🍀 Martin says:

    I’m going with parody on this. ‘Free Obama HD cable TVs’ isn’t a thing yet. These guys usually aren’t clever enough to stray from the talking points handed to them.

  71. 71
    Darkrose says:

    @John O: That’s pretty awesome!

  72. 72
    dww44 says:

    @Southern Goth: I’m with you on that one. Loved his bit the other night dealing with the #Cancel Corbet brouhaha. Put it to bed nicely and funnily and good-heartedly.

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:

    Regarding “An Average Guys Take” at the top, I think it is quite possible, though perhaps hard to believe, that there are genuine wingers who are aware enough to couch their comments in a slightly self-satirizing way. My crazy winger brother (not Bro’ Man, whom I have mentioned here before) sometimes approaches this. He used to have an excellent sense of humor that has not been completely extinguished by his transit to the dark side. So he will sometimes slightly exaggerate his genuinely held winger beliefs to tweak his brothers and other libtards.

  74. 74
    John M. Burt says:

    The first time I heard Michael Savage, I assumed he was a comedian doing a winger parody. It just seemed so transparently obvious that he was eating himself alive with envy of the “swinging” lifestyle he imagined gay men were enjoying.

    What was McCain’s “unforgivable lie” during the 2008 campaign? Was there one which stood out from the others? Certainly, when I think of the phrase “unforgivable McCain campaign lie”, I think of the unforgivable lie about McCain’s daughter made by the Bush campaign during the 2000 primaries. A lot of people will never forgive McCain for forgiving the GOP for that one.

  75. 75
    patrick II says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I just read a few of “The Average Guy”‘s posts. I don’t think he is sly enough to do parody. I also think his self-referential use of the term “Average” is aspirational.

  76. 76
    Woodrowfan says:

    one of the trademarks of fascism is a worship of the “common folk”—the Nazi “Volk”. And yes, Sarah Palin’s “common sense real Americans” fits. This clown is trying to identify himself as being one of the masses of “real” people, and therefor endowed with more common sense than the “elite.” It’s pretty typical right-wing authoritarianism.

    In other words, he’s an idiot who thinks he’s smart.

  77. 77
    JustRuss says:

    I know one person who gets to stay home all day watching HD cable. My elderly mother, who has mild dementia. If Average Guy thinks that’s something to envy, he’s an idiot.

  78. 78
    JGabriel says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Poe’s law is cruel and ruthless in action.

    I prefer the original Morgan Axiom:

    Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.

  79. 79
    themann1086 says:

    @dww44: “I don’t see race, not even my own. People tell me I’m white, and I believe them… because I just spent 6 minutes explaining why I’m not a racist”

  80. 80
    yoohoocthulhu says:

    but Colbert is a genius, he hits just the right notes and his whole act has a good-heartedness to it that it doesn’t alienate anyone except the hardest-core #hashtagactivists.

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Colbert is a Bodhisattva.

  81. 81
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @DougJ:
    I watch Ferguson pretty regular.

  82. 82
    Mike G says:

    Well I’ve got to leave my home to go off to work so the losers & takers can stay in theirs watching their HD cable TVS on my dime. Bastards

    That’s not a very nice way to talk about your wife and kids.

  83. 83
    ruemara says:

    These people are beyond parody. He’s real.

  84. 84
    xenos says:

    @Mike G: I call my kids moochers and slackers all the time. They are SO lazy about getting their chores done…

    In all seriousness, these tea-party types STILL do not realize that the 47% include the children and elderly, including themselves when 65yo? That has to be close to 47% of the national demographic right there, before you consider the disabled adults of working age.

  85. 85
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @R. Porrofatto:

    One of his blog posts:

    New report: The earths axis will be changed by 30 degrees and we will all parish due to methane being expelled by frizzy haired, eye glass wearing, Prius driving, over educated vegetarians. What should we do about this. If we don’t do something soon we are all doomed. It’s time we start regulating liberal vegetarians.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @John M. Burt: What was unforgivable about it was that it was so fucking transparent and easily proven.

    McCain was scheduled to go on Letterman’s show. He calls up Dave in the afternoon the show was scheduled to be taped, and says he can’t make it. Has to return to Washington at once. The economy is tanking. So Letterman has to scramble to find a replacement guest.

    THEN, as they’re taping the show, Letterman’s staff notices that McCain is over in Katie Couric’s set, getting ready to be interviewed. Letterman grabs this feed, puts it on his show, and starts making sarcastic comments. “Do I need to call you a cab, John?”

    If McCain had simply said “The economy is in crisis, I need to focus on that, I’ve been offered time on Couric’s show at the same time as yours, I”m going to have to go with her, I hope you understand”, Dave most likely would have graciously accepted and offered McCain a rain check. But no, McCain had to tell a lie…that he was going back to Washington. In fact, the next day, he was still in New York. Letterman harped on this for at least two solid weeks, wondering where McCain said he was going to be and where he actually was. It became a running joke…and the butt of the joke was McCain.

    What was unforgivable, in my assessment, was that it was so damn unnecessary and stupid to tell a guy like Letterman a lie that was so easily discovered and then became a running gag on Letterman’s show. This had to have an impact on public perception of McCain, particularly in the age group of Letterman’s audience. You know how this shit goes…it hits the watercooler and people are amazed that McCain committed this unforced political error.

  87. 87
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @🍀 Martin: Nah, it’s just the old “poor people aren’t really poor; they can afford a TV/cell phone/refrigerator” line, which has been a thing for many years. It’s an article of faith among today’s conservatives that a large fraction of society consists of moochers living high on welfare, and this is why we can’t have nice things.

    From the mid-20th century to the present, there was a proliferation of cheap manufactured goods that turned some things that were luxury items in 1949 (or not to be had for any price in 1949, because they hadn’t been invented) into things that you might reasonably own even if you can’t afford to buy groceries every week. If you have only a dim realization of what’s happened it manifests as “today’s poor people are too irresponsible not to buy a TV”. If you’re slightly less dim it’s “we live in a post-scarcity utopia! Look, even poor people have a TV.”

    I say the tweet is sincere. Written in a joking tone, but it’s bitter “ha ha only serious” humor.

  88. 88
    JGabriel says:

    Matt McIrvin:

    From the mid-20th century to the present, there was a proliferation of cheap manufactured goods that turned some things that were luxury items in 1949 … into things that you might reasonably own even if you can’t afford to buy groceries every week.

    I know some people on disability. One doesn’t even have a TV set. One still uses an old, energy inefficient, CRT TV. A third has a bottom of the barrel 720p LCD.

    None of them have a 1080p TV. None of them have a TV screen greater than 32″. None of them have cable.

    Of course some people on disability/unemployment/SNAP/welfare may have a few nice things, because they bought them long before living on the federal dole was something they ever thought they’d someday have to worry about — but overall, the moocher living high on the hog with a 50″ TV, and cable with all the options, is just a marginally more credible version of Reagan’s “welfare queen driving a Cadillac”.

  89. 89

    […] Stephen Colbert is indeed a comic genius. He does a completely over-the-top impression of a factually clueless and ethically impaired wingnut. And yet actual non-elite conservatives seem to think he really believes the nonsense he mouths. That would be impossible unless it turned out to be the case that most conservative voters believe a whole bunch of stupid sh*t. […]

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  1. […] Stephen Colbert is indeed a comic genius. He does a completely over-the-top impression of a factually clueless and ethically impaired wingnut. And yet actual non-elite conservatives seem to think he really believes the nonsense he mouths. That would be impossible unless it turned out to be the case that most conservative voters believe a whole bunch of stupid sh*t. […]

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