Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Colbert Retort

A Mock Columnist, Amok
Published: October 14, 2007

The phrase “running amok (or amuck)” comes the Malay word “Amuco” and has come to mean any sort of violent senseless rampage. Amok Time would be a good name for a Fox News Network talk show.

I was in my office, writing a column on the injustice of relative marginal tax rates for hedge fund managers, when I saw Stephen Colbert on TV.
George Will wrote a column this week on how tough it is to be a billionaire in "today’s plutonomy". Will may have been writing tongue-in-cheek, but as with MoDo, sometimes it can be tough to tell since so much of his opining already verges on self-parody.

Stephen Colbert is a character on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report played by Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert the character is a caricature of an over-the-top right-wing commenter. Stephen Colbert the comedian is a hopeless commie pinko.
I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)
Stephen Colbert’s new book is non-sequiturly titled I Am America (And So Can You!). For the second week in a row, Dowd has gotten her inspiration from the New Releases table at BigBoxOfBooks™. Dowd then channels the Stephen Colbert character for the rest of her column:
I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito.

James Bond super-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld always had a fluffy white cat. Sarah Jessica Parker’s vapid self-centered Sex and The City character drank lots of fancy alcoholic drinks while extolling the travails of living in upper-class Manhattan. The mental image of Marueen Dowd as a slutty, drunk, evil despot probably appeals to a lot of people. I know it does to me.
Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.
Frank Rich is a fellow New York Times columnist who is more predictable and reliably liberal than even Maureen Dowd, except with a narrower range of hot-button topics.
I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.
This sort of left-handed compliment is Colbert’s stock in trade, most famously exhibited when Colbert hosted the White House Correspondents Association dinner and called George Bush an idiot in so many words to his face.
Others point to my new bestseller, “I Am America (And So Can You!)” noting that many candidates test the waters with a book first. Just look at Barack Obama, John Edwards or O. J. Simpson.
Or Clarence Thomas.
Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.
MaureenColbert has a very salient point here. While all the Republican candidates are white, male, and nominally Christian, some evangelical groups have sent up smoke signals threatening to support a third party candidate if the Republican nominee is insufficiently theocratic.

And there is the rub with ouroburosian attempts at satire. Many people are incapable of discerning the difference and it becomes tough to see the humor. At what point does a liberal columnist imitating a fake right wing pundit come out of the other end of the rabbit hole as an unironic Rush Limbaugh clone?


Anonymous said...

All too true. I pity the editors that allowed her to allow Colbert to write under her name, but then again, it turned out brilliant for Colbert :-)

Anonymous said...

did that make sense to anyone? all i saw was the jealous ramblings of a nobody blogger.