Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 3 (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   5 comments

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Why Do Conservatives Like Colbert? Article Plus Critique

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 3 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 4/27/09

Become a Fan
  (33 fans)
<blockquote>"But conservatives will say... he gets to make really good points and make fun of liberals. So they think the joke is on liberals."

Does he really make fun of liberals?  Is there really humor at their expense?

Here's what seems to me a clue, from that passage that was about the reaction to "All in the Family":

<blockquote>professors Neil Vidmar and Milton Rokeach found that although the show's creator, Norman Lear, had intended to use the Archie Bunker character as a gentle way to poke fun of and discredit racist attitudes, audience members who held racist attitudes never quite got the joke — instead they sympathized with Archie Bunker and may have even found his folksy prejudices to justify their own.</blockquote>

Here, there's no supposed ambiguity about the intentions of the artist (Norman Lear) who, we are told, "had intended to use the Archie Bunker character as a gentle way to poke fun of and discredit racist attitudes..."

What happened was that the racists "never quite got the joke."

This, I think, is what's happening with Colbert's audience, and it says less about the message of the artist than about the mentality of the right-wing audience.

One need only watch FOX news, or listen to Rush Limbaugh, to realize that the message is so palpably loony and biased and propagandistic as to be virtually BEYOND PARODY.  Things have gotten so extreme, in that part of the American consciousness, that people like Olbermann and Maddow can lampoon them simply by presenting clips accompanied by a few words of simple mockery.

But we know that for millions of people these messages are taken with complete seriousness.  If they can take Limbaugh ugliness and FOX's unfair and unbalanced, sometimes simply made-up and often virtually self-contradictory messages as a valid window on the world, how WOULD they be able to recognize a parody like Colbert's.

Ludicrous is the intellectual coin of their realm.

This article presents the phenomenon in an even-handed way, claiming for example that this is an illustration of the general phenomenon of "confirmation bias."  It is because of confirmation bias, it is said, that "When you look at social psychology and you see how people process information, people see what they want to see."

Well, we do not have a controlled experiment here, but I would predict that if we could have a conservative version of Colbert, one whose intention is to mock liberals and who does so by making the liberal's arguments ludicrous, we would not find that liberals responded to such a parody the way the conservatives are responding to Colbert.  My guess is that they'd know full well that they're being mocked, and that they'd see the parodist as their adversary.

The two sides are not symmetrical.  Liberals, for one example, do not rally behind their leaders with fierce loyalty, the way that the conservatives do.  That's always an asymmetry.

But an additional asymmetry comes from the particular nature of our times, when the brokenness of the conservatives has been magnified and exploited by evil leadership.  

The core brokenness, as I argue in the latter parts of "The Concept of Evil," is the war within the self, the need for a lie to oneself about one's true feelings, one's true nature, because what has been internalized from the harsh culture makes the parts of the self irreconcilable.

A lack of real self-consciousness is, therefore, an essential part of the adaptive strategy for such people with such a war within, and the internal lie makes them vulnerable to the lie imposed from without to exploit their internal war for the sake of waging an external war against the necessary enemy (be it the black, the Communist, the terrorists, the liberals, or whatever).

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4


Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. He is the author of various books including The Parable of the Tribes: The (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Do Conservatives Like Colbert? Article Plus Critique

Mel Gibson's Rant as Profound Clue

To Anti-Obamite Lefties: It Doesn't Matter If You're Right

How Important is the Loss of Friendship?

The Mystery of Obama's Relationship with Power

Power and Corruption: Just What Is Their Relationship?


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

..because satire must hurt. No,  Colbert and ... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 3:00:42 PM
It doesn't take much objective analysis to see... by Gary Anderson on Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 3:47:17 PM
"I must confess my lack of surprise that many on t... by Andrew Bard Schmookler on Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 3:57:56 PM
Sorry, I had no dictionary at hand. But I stick t... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 7:38:17 PM
...who loves Colbert. He says "I know it'... by Gustav Wynn on Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 7:37:58 AM