Wednesday, October 7, 2009

He Has No Brains Down In Africa

Previously on Clear's Own:

Conservative movie critic and Big Hollywood contributor Christian Toto decided to take The Onion to task for writing a joke article about Ronald Reagan burying $20 trillion back in the 80s. This caused Toto to make this definitive declaration:
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.
That was an awesome observation except for the fact that it wasn't true. My response to that was to list numerous articles in which The Onion did, in fact, make fun of Obama and that was the end of that. He said something. I presented evidence that it wasn't true. Me-1, Big Hollywood-0. Right?

Well, no. This showed up in the comments from Christian Toto.
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.
Where to begin? First off, I'm happy you and I could reach a bipartisan consensus on Fred Armisen and the major league suck factor of his Obama imitation. Lorne Michaels had the entire summer to find someone who looked and sounded vaguely like Obama and instead decided to keep the guy whose imitation reminds me more of Obama's dog than Obama himself.

All rightie, Kumbaya moment's over. Let's get down to business.

Mr. Toto, sir, I had no idea that the print version of The Onion was the Super Duper Ultra Mega Official Version That Supersedes All Others and that you referred to that and nothing else when you wrote your BH article. You even said you should have made that clear. I look like a complete jerk now. You Big, Me Small. Or, rather, that would be the case if not for those damn pesky Fact Clouds coming to rain piss all over your victory parade.

You're saying you only read the print version yet the Reagan bit to which you linked was part of the web version. How can this be? Simple. It was in both. In fact, most of what you read on the web was mined from The Onion's print version. The web publication even lets you know which print issue it was taken from. The Reagan article, for example, was published in issue #4538.

This brings me back to Print Master Toto and this sentence, "Why The Onion saves the bits of Obama tweaking for the web-only postings is beyond me." I listed nine links in my post. One was a radio clip, one was a Onion News Network video and another was part of a feature called "Obama's First Hundred Days" which I think was web only. That leaves six-count em-six articles that Toto says were never in the Divine Print Version he reads except that they were.

We also see that Toto read the previous comments where it was pointed out that his attack of Bill Maher in the same article in which he called him "cowardly" for never going after Obama is also a crock because Maher has gone after Obama, a fact confirmed in an article by Big Hollywood's Editor-In-Chief John Nolte. Toto's options at this point were limited. He could have dismissed Nolte as an unreliable member of the liberal media but, instead, said that sure, Maher went after but Obama but did so with insufficient vitriol and anger. The only satisfactory action would have been to take a crap and wipe his ass with Obama's picture on the air.

So, what have we learned? We learned that backing up opinions with real world facts is better than backing them up with facts you pull out of your ass. We learned that some people think their fantasies are real. And we learned that, if you say something to me that is a total crock, I will fight tooth and nail to find the truth even if it leads me to the gates of long as doing that doesn't take me more than 15 minutes which was the total amount of time I spent researching today's column. The truth is a wonderful thing, Christian. Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you. You should be frightened of this thing you have become.


Michael Clear said...

Currently on the front page of The Onion's web site.

Christian Toto said...

Great headline.

I read the print Onion week after week .. it's in nearly every newspaper depot where I live. I typically can't avoid it. There's a chance I missed one or two over the last nine months. Honestly, I don't think so, but it's possible. I have yet to see any Obama story that was pointed, sharp and satirical toward his policies.

And duh ... I know that newspapers often have their stories online as well. We're talking about online exclusives.

A couple of print Obama-themed stories I saw were silly, not satirical ... and one had Biden as a shirtless dude washing his car. Yawn.

The Maher reference? Can you really say he's doing his job fighting the powers that be at this point? He may have done so a couple of times, which is why Nolte referenced it (and why it seemed like such an event), but certainly he and the comedy community at large have had a mostly hands off position toward Obama.

This has been written about in mainstream pubs ... will comics treat Obama like they did Bush?

Maher is on most every week on HBO ... to say because he critiqued Obama a couple of times he's treating him the same as Bush - or with the same ferocity - is silly.

I get an eblast each day with the best of late night talkers gags. Most times they'll start with an Obama reference then slide into a Palin or Bush or Cheney gag. Just tired at this point. And lazy.

Have you seen the economic numbers? Do you hear how many times Obama says "I" or "me" in his statements? Have you watched him grovel before our enemies and give the cold shoulder to our pals?

Do you think these bits could be spun to comedy gold? How often is it happening?

Mmmm. Mmmm. mm.

SNL just did a rare full on blast against Obama and CNN fact checked it.

How many times did they fact check Tina Fey's take on Sarah Palin?

Michael Clear said...

I also liked the headline. You get this last word. Well, this is kind of the last word, but I think you know what I mean.

Dan Coyle said...

"... to say because he critiqued Obama a couple of times he's treating him the same as Bush - or with the same ferocity - is silly."

Again, Toto: THAT IS NOT MY POINT. My point was that in the piece cited by Michael, you were saying Maher was too afraid to criticize Obama, PERIOD. NOT that he was not doing it with the same level of vitriol as his criticism of Bush. When your own editor in chief wrote a column praising Maher to the high hills for it.

Dan Coyle said...

Oh, and something I also find funny, and a bit ironic: recently, Mr. Toto, yo wrote an internet triumphalism piece wondering why John Nolte, among other web critics, don't get quoted. For Internet Uber Alles.

And yet here, you immediately scramble to "well, I read the print version" for your defense.

I am not accusing you of hypocrisy or lying, or saying your point is completely invalidated. But, you know, it makes you look really unpleasant.

And I too wonder why Nolte isn't quoted: when he refuses to indulge his inner 14 year old picking fights with every liberal on the planet (including the guilt he feels over the fact he used to be one), which is sadly getting rarer and rarer, he can be quite an insightful writer.

Whereas you're clinical and humorless. Not as unreasonably petty as Nolte (though just as intellectually dishonest politics wise).