Late Night Cheap Laffs Open Thread: Glib Takes for Shallow People

Yes, it’s from Politico, but I’m liking this Bill Scher review…

Have you lived through the past three presidents and managed to still believe that Republicans and Democrats share a single corporatist overlord? Do you casually use “neoliberal” as an insult, even though nobody has spotted a neoliberal in the wild since Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign? Do you enjoy history lectures, but only when they are delivered by sarcastic, self-righteous people who conveniently omit anything that conflicts with their ideological worldview? Well then do I have the book for you!

The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts and Reason lives up to its ironic title. The freshly published polemic is co-authored by the hosts—Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, Brendan James, Will Menaker and Virgil Texas—of the socialist, satirical podcast Chapo Trap House. The podcast rakes in six figures a month from more than 20,000 Patreon subscribers. It built its following on withering takedowns of insufficiently leftist liberals who serve up “thin, flavorless gruel” in the dying news media.

The book, which aims to expand the reach of “the Chapo Way,” begins with a self-consciously over-the-top sales pitch. By imbibing the authors’ words, “you’ll become an initiate in the Chapo Mindset and take control of the neurons that govern your weak, fragile emotions.” Apparently, we should take our “Ironic Left” cult leaders seriously, but not always literally.

Yet by the end of the book, it’s hard to escape the nagging feeling that Chapo—the podcast and the book—is, at bottom, an actual, unironic infomercial scheme. They make bank by selling you a candy-coated version of socialism, one that may offend real socialists even more than liberal gruel-peddlers like myself…

After blaming American-led capitalism for the world’s ills, the authors take aim at their favorite target: liberals. “Why … do we hate the lib?” they ask. Because “there is a giant sucking void at the core of their being.” They add, “In place of real beliefs, liberals have guilty consciences.” Therefore, liberal reformers succeed only “when pressured—sometimes terrorized—by militant and/or popular left-wing movements.” …

But since the New Deal’s permanent expansion of government in the name of reducing poverty and expanding the middle class is not good enough and fundamentally flawed, the Chapo Way is here to give us a rigorously researched and fine-tuned alternative for not only ending wealth inequality and racism, but also ending the scourge of soul-deadening work. After slogging through 276 of the book’s 282 pages of bad history and, I hate to tell you, “tepid” jokes, the authors finally get around to their grand plan. Spoiler alert! This is literally it, in its entirety:

“After setting everyone on equal footing (by seizing the billionaires’ money, socializing their wealth, and handing the keys of production over to workers), you’re looking at an economy that requires something like a three-hour workday, with machines taking care of most of the drudgery; and—as our public fund pays for things like health care, education, scientific research, and infrastructure—all this technology actually makes work quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.”

… The Chapo hosts’ aversion to hard work extends to this book. Why suffer the details of how this nonworkers’ paradise, free of paper pushing and ditch digging, is going to be realized, when you can take in more than $1 million a year by dressing up stale arguments and thin policy ideas with inside jokes?…

(If you can bring yourself to click the link, there is a brilliantly nasty publicity shot of the authors which reminded me of the old question ‘Why do so many [Socialists] have brown eyes?’… )






42 replies
  1. 1
    eldorado says:

    mainlining nakedcapitalism i suppose.

  2. 2
    Jay says:

    @eldorado:

    There’s drugs that can save your life if you overdose,

    Safe injection sites where they also test your nakedcapitalism for fentanyol and other poisons,

    And safe needle exchanges,……

  3. 3

    I read about a third of that review, was glad that somebody was mean to these people, and then realized I didn’t even care enough about them to watch them get pwned. I hadn’t made it to the bolded quote—good lord, they’re techno-utopian socialists? They’ll do a celebrated heel-turn to libertarianism and be speaking at the RNC by 2024.

    @Jay: harm reduction strategies? Weirdo.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    Cafeteria cargo cultism. Gussied up Randinistas in sheeple’s clothing.

  5. 5
    Fair Economist says:

    nakedcapitalism had one frontpager who was pretty obviously a Russian asset. Always making excuses for Russian behavior, and Trump too. Yves never seemed like an asset but she veered away from sanity over time. I suspect she became reliant on laundered Russian money as the blog economy deteriorated (she’s run on donations for a while) and that was used to bias her.

  6. 6

    “After setting everyone on equal footing (by seizing the billionaires’ money, socializing their wealth, and handing the keys of production over to workers), you’re looking at an economy that requires something like a three-hour workday, with machines taking care of most of the drudgery; and—as our public fund pays for things like health care, education, scientific research, and infrastructure—all this technology actually makes work quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.”

    … The Chapo hosts’ aversion to hard work extends to this book. Why suffer the details of how this nonworkers’ paradise, free of paper pushing and ditch digging, is going to be realized, when you can take in more than $1 million a year by dressing up stale arguments and thin policy ideas with inside jokes?…

    The bolded part is quite similar to the YIPpies of 50 yrs, ago. Although I doubt Abbie Hoffman, et al., ever pulled in a million/yr., even in 1968 bones.

  7. 7
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    I voted today in AZ. I think the Dems had a decent turnout considering that the GOP were the ones who had the more competitive primary for the Senate. The total vote for the Senate Dem primary was about 20K less than the GOP. ~ 320K vs 300K.

  8. 8

    If they got basic facts about history right, it would be one thing. But how can we take them seriously if they reduce all of human existence to “Democrats suck”?

  9. 9
    suezboo says:

    Jeeze, Americans ! One would expect that you all would realize that everybody should just be anti-Trump and his acolytes who are fixing to take over your democratic republic. If you don’t care for your allies’ political ambitions – Tough ! Getting rid of the poison is priority no. 1. Everything else can wait for the next Utopia. This is doing the Russians’ job for them – wittingly or not. Splitting the opposition is their thing.

  10. 10
    Aleta says:

    OT, from Wa Post

    Demetrius Williams and John Patterson — both pastors at Baptist churches in Milwaukee — got a flat tire on their boat trailer. … As they waited for a tow truck to help with a spare tire, a Waukesha County Sheriff’s car pulled up behind them, lights flashing. A deputy, Erik Michalsen, approached the two pastors in the Chevrolet Silverado. After the men explained they were awaiting assistance for the flat, Michalsen, the men say, asked them if they had any drugs, guns or alcohol in the truck.

    “Sir, we’re both pastors,” Williams remembers explaining. “We wouldn’t have anything like that.” When the deputy asked for both men’s licenses, Williams felt himself growing agitated, confused …. Stay calm, he thought to himself. There’s no telling what might happen. When he asked the deputy why it was necessary see their licenses, the deputy said it was standard procedure. Deputy Michalsen returned the licenses 10 minutes later and smacked an orange sticker — used to mark abandoned vehicles — on the side of the boat. …

    “This isn’t right,” Williams said. “We’re sitting here waiting for roadside assistance, and this man is treating us like we’re criminals.”

    That is why Common Ground, a community organization working on social issues in southeastern Wisconsin, has pressed the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department about the deputy’s process and is mounting an investigation on possible racial profiling by the department.

    Since May, Common Ground has been trying to get an audience with the Waukesha County Sheriff to discuss the incident …. After months without success, they submitted written questions: Why hadn’t the deputy asked if they needed help, why did he ask about weapons and drugs, why did check both pastor’s licenses and why did sticker the boat even though they were waiting with it.

    The department conducted an investigation without speaking to either Williams or Patterson. It explained Michalsen asks every driver he approaches about weapons and drugs and justified the rest with procedures for traffic stops, even though the pastors had not committed a moving violation and were not pulled over.

    Now Common Ground is requesting records of Michalsen’s past 45 days of narratives from traffic stops and disabled vehicle interactions. It is also asking the community to share stories of contact with the sheriff’s department — both positive and negative. …

    “What microaggressions do is create a constant feeling of suspicion and stress,” Dovidio said. “If I’m a person of color, these pinches that come every single day in so many different ways shape my view of the world. It puts a barrier between me and members of other racial groups.
    ….
    The Sunday following the incident, Williams shared his story as part of his sermon. He tried to use it as a chance to teach his congregation — especially the younger members — about staying composed in tough situations. He has kept them updated as the investigation progressed, hoping to teach something about the complexities of justice.
    Every time he has brought it up, members of his church have come to him afterward, offering stories and fears akin to his. He knows each one is weight — invisible, constant and shared.

  11. 11
    Jay says:

    A Guardian Column on the effect a tiny handful of far right con voices had on the Liberal Party’s implosion,

    “Last week in parliament, we saw once again that the Liberal party right and their media sponsors can’t even command a majority of the Liberals’ party room, let alone a majority of public opinion.

    But they can ruin prime ministers, delay action on climate change, offer a platform to those pushing white nationalism and present all of this to their audiences as victory.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2018/aug/29/hard-right-columnists-with-no-mass-audience-cause-enough-turmoil-to-ruin-leaders

    And the study it mentions;

    https://shorensteincenter.org/conservative-media-influence-on-republican-party-jackie-calmes/

    Leftier than thou’s are trying to do the same thing, with out the Billionaires backing.

  12. 12
    Jay says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Nope, suggesting that the afflicted just quit nakedcapitalism mainlining , cold turkey, with out a safety net, support systems, education, councelling, medical care, is just weird.

  13. 13

    @Jay: Is there a 12-step for that?

  14. 14
    Jay says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Yup, the most important steps are:

    – Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    – Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    – Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

  15. 15

    @Jay: I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog gone it people just like me.

  16. 16
    Jay says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    No, hate to tell you this, but we took a vote, and no,……

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    Things we’ll never see, #289,627.

    Narcissists Anonymous.

    :)

  18. 18

    @Jay: Sounds like you had a Republican counting the votes there.

  19. 19
    Jay says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    States Rights Dude. ‘Murica! Love it or Leave it.

    But believe me, even though the servers were wiped, the count was accurate.

    Even the Supremes said so,……..well Mary Wilson dissented, so 2/3.

  20. 20
    Mary G says:

    Why do I strongly suspect that Chapo has very few female fans?

  21. 21
    Jay says:

    @Mary G:

    Chapo has very few fans, but they yell a lot.

    They generate $60k a month, from weekly $5 downloads, so 3000 people in a given week.

  22. 22
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    They’ll do a celebrated heel-turn to libertarianism and be speaking at the RNC by 2024.

    Exactly.

  23. 23
    DavidC says:

    Why do I keep reading “Gabbo?”

  24. 24
    Jay says:

    @DavidC:

    Too many Stooges movies and front yard reinactments when you were a youth.

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Yves never seemed like an asset…

  26. 26
    different-church-lady says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Yves never seemed like an asset…

    But she always seemed like a nut.

  27. 27
    different-church-lady says:

    I don’t get it: are they a parody or aren’t they?

  28. 28
    joel hanes says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    you’re looking at an economy that requires something like a three-hour workday, with machines taking care of most of the drudgery

    All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

    I like to think (and
    the sooner the better!)
    of a cybernetic meadow
    where mammals and computers
    live together in mutually
    programming harmony
    like pure water
    touching clear sky.

    I like to think
    (right now, please!)
    of a cybernetic forest
    filled with pines and electronics
    where deer stroll peacefully
    past computers
    as if they were flowers
    with spinning blossoms.

    I like to think
    (it has to be!)
    of a cybernetic ecology
    where we are free of our labors
    and joined back to nature,
    returned to our mammal
    brothers and sisters,
    and all watched over
    by machines of loving grace.
    — Richard Brautigan, 1967

  29. 29
    bjacques says:

    The fanbase of Chapo Trap House are also of a piece with Italy’s Beppe Grillo’s M5S collection of anarchists, amateurs and other political misfits allying with Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord neo-fascists and all those eyeballs glued to the “woke” hosts of RT. “Hey, we hate (neo-)liberalism too! Join us in wiping it out!”

  30. 30
    Jamey says:

    The “aversion to hard work” part of the review is SO on the money.

    I know Menaker and worked with his dad for a few years. Kid’s a legacy in the Kent Dorfman tradition. There is SO much wrong with the success of Chapo… that can be pinned on the elitist private school milieu that spawned its founders. Nothing they riff on–and absolutely none of the consequences thereof–will ever affect these guys… or their progeny.

    Yet, here we are. Ugh.

  31. 31
    kd bart says:

    @NotMax: Hipster Lifestyle Socialism

  32. 32
    muad'dib says:

    They generate $60k a month, from weekly $5 downloads, so 3000 people in a given week.

    For every person who pays, there is bound to be another 20 who listen regularly and will never pay. I wouldn’t be surprised if half a million people listen to their podcast weekly…

  33. 33
    redoubt says:

    Chapo = white guys laughing at their own jokes again, AKA “default setting for American ‘comedy’.” Pass.

  34. 34
    Jerry says:

    They look like dudes that went to the Fyre Festival last year. Maybe this old saying:

    A Democrat is a Republican that has been in jail.
    A Republican is a Democrat that has been mugged.

    needs to be amended with:

    A Socialist is a rich kid that got ripped off at a festival.

  35. 35
    Jerry says:

    Wait, that didn’t off come quite right. That seems to be too broad of a brush.

    /sigh I suck at humor

  36. 36
    kd bart says:

    Grifters come in all shapes and sizes.

  37. 37
    Juju says:

    Who’d have guessed it was three doughy looking white guys?

  38. 38
    Aleta says:

    @Jerry: It’s funny. Right away I thought of my friend, a socialist who’s a rich guy who forgot his wallet. : ) True. Every time. (Most of us love him despite this; we just don’t go for a sandwich with him.)

  39. 39
    Tokyokie says:

    @Aleta: Back during my undergraduate days, the university’s Revolutionary Student Brigade* chapter was led by a fellow whose father was a high-ranking executive of a major oil company. And as another (now sadly departed) friend said of him, “You know Tokyokie, [RSB leader] is the only person I know who can afford to be a communist.

    *The Revolutionary Student Brigade emerged in the early 1970s, and judging from the materials from the home office, written in ham-fisted Izvestia-style English and calling for weekly demonstrations in favor of the just people’s struggle in (someplace few RSB members could find on a map), was pretty clearly a Soviet front group. And I was never one to see commie conspiracies behind every political turn of which I didn’t approve.

  40. 40
    Sloegin says:

    I’ll happily dog-pile on the Bernie bros, and raise a middle finger to anyone associated even remotely with Jill Stein, but these folks do serve a useful purpose – they shine a spotlight when hard working Dem policy wonks get something completely wrong.
    Case in point; when Sanders was pushing for free college in the primaries, Clinton built a sound education platform – but only after floating some ridiculous trial balloons. Anyone remember the “your college loan bills will be delayed for a time, but only if you get a STEM degree, and only if you’re working for a startup company?”

  41. 41
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Say howdy to the 6th (or maybe 7th) Marx brother (collective): Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo – does Zippo count? – now Chapo. Which oughta be spelled Crappo.

    Assholes.

  42. 42
    Warren Lorente says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Ah yes, Zippo Marx. He was the lighter one.

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