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Whence The Dick In The Box?

By Jesse Taylor
Saturday, July 19, 2008 19:23 EDT

Reading over Joel Stein’s description of several crappy ways to make fun of Obama, it’s startling to read that the media isn’t trying to find ways to make funny things funny, but ways to even find actual funny things.

One of the things we discussed in the panel yesterday is that humor is humor because it points at the truth and reveals it – if the same people who notice when Obama switches from orange Listerine to green can’t find something obviously true and mockably funny about the man, then perhaps that is not the funny they’re looking for.

“That’s not the funny I’m looking for? Yes, yes, continue on.”

The reason that this column is so telling is because what’s actually funny about this election is the precise thing Stein is doing: floundering around in the big pool of Obama’s charismatic Negrosity trying to figure out how to get out and dry off before they start pissing in it. Democratic candidates become mockable when they become othered, turned into something strange and alien and worthy of derision, which then becomes conventional wisdom and a shorthand for everything wrong with them. What Obama did was have the audacity to come in as a preexisting other – a black man – that throws off this creation process. You can’t “other” him without taking who he is into account, and given the rather uninspiring ability of our media overlords to figure out new and exciting ways of thinking about things, it’ll be about Halloween before someone gets the bright idea of picking up an issue of Essence and figuring out how to address people who aren’t white male monied Protestants with a penchant for a belief in a social contract that doesn’t result in us eating each other in a Netflix-sponsored battle ring. Rather than do what normal people looking for comedy do – stop trying to make the presentation on diode manufacturing into a Bill Hicks routine and start finding funny targets for humor – it’ll be the job of the media over the next few months to explore this truly necessary question: why can’t we make fun of the respectable black dude with a serious personality and the good ideas? The better question is: why is this your job? Why do you keep trying? Some things are funny, like “Dick in a Box” the first time you saw it. Some things aren’t funny, like the guy wearing “Dick in a Box” costume last Halloween. The sooner this is realized, the better.

Oh, if only there were models for comedians making fun of specific black figures to learn from, if a celebrities such as Wesley Snipes* and Pacman Jones offered low-hanging fruit to practice Negro mockery on. Alas, we shall soldier on in this pitiable fog, never knowing what it would be like to see a black person who did something ridiculous mocked in a public and hilarious fashion.

*If you make fun of Money Train, you’re fucking banned. Permanently.

Come to my panels!

By Amanda Marcotte

I figured I’d be up front about my desires for this Netroots Nation. I have one on reproductive rights called “Breaking the Frame” at 3PM, and if you see me wandering around with a cameraman, please come over and get your lovely mug on video talking about feminism and reproductive rights. Scott Swenson has issued an invitation to the boy bloggers in this area as well. I have another panel ominously titled “Meta” at 4:30.…


Don’t think of a lion

By michaelb

Shhhhhh! While everyone else is cursin’ and swearin’ and having a good old time at Netroots %$#@ing Nation, I think I’ll just slip in here quietly and tell a Jamie Story. Below the fold, of course. Yeah, I know I said I’d be back and posting more often. But it’s…


Gosh Gee Whillikers

By Jesse Taylor

The New York Times was at the fuck panel. Also, to the NYT commenters: I am, in fact, black.…


It Would Be Irresponsible Not To Note This

By Jesse Taylor

Voting records show that my grandmother has actually cast more votes in the U.S. Senate this year than John McCain. Given that John McCain is, by transitive property, my grandparent, he owes me two and a half decades of Christmas and birthday presents. I will also take a lump-sum Paypal…


Al Gore Is Up In This Piece

By Jesse Taylor

Al Gore just stepped onstage at Netroots Nation, meaning that I am compelled by my contractual liberalism to post on the environment. The Wall Street Journal surprisingly opines against carbon-based environmental regulations yesterday. I am also surprisingly wearing shorts and sandals in Austin. And Al Gore is also surprisingly handsome…


The Iraqi Prime Minister May Have Been Born A Muslim

By Jesse Taylor

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, endorses Barack Obama’s withdrawal plan for Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months. In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday,…


Family Research Council in desperate need of design skilz

By pams

This is what happens when fundies avoid the creative class because of teh gay, and are left with graphic designers without any sense of style. In the Family Reseach Council’s latest e-blast, look at the icon designed to represent “traditional marriage” – a genitals-free, shapeless Play-doh figure. I think that…



By Amanda Marcotte
Friday, July 18, 2008 22:11 EDT

Now this is some serious smackdown, blogger style. No it’s not. Ever since I heard that they’re having this right wing convention in town as a sort of shadow “fuck you for being better than us” convention, I’ve been telling everyone I meet at Netroots Nation. Not one has heard…


Obama: Gay Chick Lover

By Jesse Taylor

It needs to be said: this Obama fellow is sort of cool. Barack Obama is a dedicated feminist who “lives surrounded by women,” his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, told a mostly female crowd at a Women For Obama event in downtown Tampa on Thursday. Soetoro-Ng told the crowd that Obama helped…