Monday, September 28, 2009

Onion Makes Man Cry

Regular readers know that, from time to time, I love to comment on the goings-on at conservative movie site Big Hollywood. They like to do stuff like complain that the bad guys in G.I. Joe weren't Muslim, or that the bad guys in Inglourious Basterds weren't Muslim or that the title of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs should have been called Cloudy With A Chance Of Evil Muslims Who Will Behead You In Your Sleep And Impregnate White Christian Women. I read them for the unintentional hilarity and I got boatloads of that on Thursday. All I had to do was read the headline...
Cowardly 'Onion' Ignores Obama, Ridicules Reagan's Alzheimers know I had a good one.

It was written by Christian Toto, a writer who, most likely to preserve his anonymity, apparently writes under his drag queen pseudonym.
Week after week The Onion bends over backward not to satirize The One. That’s keeping in line with most of today’s cowardly comics, from David Letterman to Bill Maher.

Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” has shown some interest in pursuing the president’s comic potential, but it comes in fits and starts. But The Onion’s latest attempt at humor is both vicious and wrongheaded.
He's talking about this funny bit from
U.S. Government Finds $20 Trillion Buried By Absentminded Reagan In 1987
This is especially well written because it combines a low brow jab at Reagan in the early stages of Alzheimers with what would almost certainly be a dead-on accurate portrayal of official Washington, up to and including Barack Obama, framing the burial of trillions of dollars as a sign of Reagan's foresight and genius rather than the actions of a sick, addled old man.

Christian Toto's response to this was what you typically get from Big Hollywood. He substitutes his right wing ideology for reality and ignores actual facts in favor of his made up ones.
The article tells how Reagan stored away a near endless array of Mason jars, shoe boxes and other small capsules with small amounts of money, keepsakes and other trivial goods toward the end of his second term.

The find means the country’s current economic crisis is over, we’re told, and the article further hints the nation’s money woes can be traced directly back to the 40th president.

Never mind Obama’s stimulus package has led to a ballooning of the national deficit to comic proportions.

Nothing worth satirizing there, folks. Move along.
This is a damning indictment of the liberal bias of nation's premier news satire site. It's also an example of ridiculous stupidity to anyone who has ever read The Onion. Toto made his point in the same way hucksters and demagogues have always made their points. He embraces the evidence that reinforces his assertion while ignoring the evidence that his assertion is a crock of shit. Here are some examples of stuff Christian Toto claims doesn't exist:
And yes, they have made jokes about Obama's stimulus plan:
Taking his cue from President Obama's $800 billion stimulus bill, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan goes on a spending spree not seen since the days of Caligula.
Toto could have found all this, of course. It took me 30 seconds. He simply chose not to because he wasn't interested in seeing if his bullshit view of the world was actually true or not.

Ultimately, Toto assumes that The Onion is doing what he would do in their position. He doesn't think that The Onion's staff gets together every day trying to figure out the best way to make their audience laugh. He thinks they meet up in their socialist collective and try to figure out the best way to advance their agenda, in this case a liberal one. Of course, if they did that, no one would read it because it wouldn't be funny for the same reason it wouldn't be funny if Christian Toto were The Onion's editor-in-chief and every day the front page included jokes that far right conservatives want to see like comparing Michelle Obama to a gorilla, photoshopping a watermelon patch on the White House lawn or saying that the President can't decide if his favorite book is Mein Kampf or the Koran.

Even if The Onion started tossing in stuff like that, it would do no good. Toto wouldn't be appeased unless The Onion became the official humor wing of the RNC and every day their front page had Obama spray painting a swastika on the American flag or that Obama should never be left alone with a fertile white woman lest his jungle nature assert itself. Until that day, Toto will have to console himself with the fact that at least he's not in Kansas anymore.


Dan Coyle said...

Toto's conveniently ignoring that Bill Maher has criticized Obama quite frequently in recent months, and just this Friday badgered Michael Moore about being too easy on him.

What's espeically amusing about that statement is that THE FUCKING EDITOR IN CHIEF OF BIG HOLLYWOOWD JOHN NOLTE wrote a column praising Maher a few months ago for slamming Obama. It was rather revealing that editorial, because he admitted he'd never have the balls to do that to Sarah Palin.

Michael Clear said...

Too bad I didn't know about Nolte's column. That would have been a nice addition.

Christian Toto said...

Nice overheated rant.

I read the print version of The Onion every week ... that's what I based my commentary on. I'm assuming that's the definitive version of the paper of record. I should have made that clear in my post ...

Why The Onion saves the bits of Obama tweaking for the web-only postings is beyond me.

Each week I wait for The Onion's newspaper version, a generally terrific humor edition, to find something about Obama's policies and demeanor to mock. Unless I missed an issue since election day I've yet to see it.

Instead, they keep falling back on Bush and Cheney and other random topics. Nothing wrong with that, but they're missing quality humor targets. Just listen to Limbaugh once in a while and you'll see what can be done.

Even "SNL" screwed it up over the weekend. I thought their Obama sketch was lame ... the impersonation by Armisen is terrible and it read like a GOP talking point tally sheet. Nothing clever about it ... just mean, really. Made me feel sorry for Obama, and that's not the goal of sketch comedy.

As to the Bill Maher comparison, the day Maher tears into Obama with 1/1000 of the anger/invective/rage he saves for Bush, let's talk.

And you're not really addressing the cruelty inherent in making fun of Reagan's Alzheimer's. Guess we can differ on whether that's fair or tacky ... I lean towards tacky in the extreme.

The overall point of my piece, beyond The Onion critique, is that the humor world still is keeping, for the most part, a hands off policy on Obama. Presidents get mocked .. it's part of the territory, and Obama deserves his share of pies in the face like any other leader.

Jon Stewart has landed some comic blows against Obama, and good for him.

Letterman may be the worst offender here, but it seems he's been ... ahem ... busy on other fronts.

Dan Coyle said...

I thought the issue was not degree of invective, but whether Maher had the balls to criticize Obama at all, which he clearly does have.

You said Maher was "Cowardly" not "He's not as hard on Obama as he was on Bush".

You really fucking suck at moving goalposts, you know that, Toto?

Michael Clear said...

I was working on a reply but it got long so I wrote a follow up post instead.