The Comedy of Demagoguery

I have started and deleted two posts in the last two days trying to explain why I find demagoguery to be funny. I cannot articulate it. Blatant appeals to the prejudices of people that pose as persuasive arguments and reasonable discourse tickles my funny bone, and I am not sure why. One could choose to laugh or cry at such proliferations of bullshit (I use that term technically, by the way), and I suppose I go with the former. It is better for my sanity.

Two examples of hilarity come from the NRA and the Humane Society. The NRA has a website dedicated to smearing Obama on the issue of gun control—an issue he has been careful not to touch with a ten foot pole. The videos go off his ill-conceived remarks about rural Americans clinging to God and guns, and claim the high ground of populism and tradition that would put Sarah Palin to shame. And playing off the youthful candidate’s monosyllabic campaign slogan of “change” they produce this lovely flyer explaining what it means for believers in the inerrancy of the Second Amendment:

Did I mention Sarah Palin should be ashamed of herself? Well she should be according to the Humane Society, who is endorsing Obama as an animal-lover who apparently believes all dogs go to heaven.

Too bad we can’t say the same about Michael Vick! And it seems Sarah Palin is in the same hell-bound boat since she is for an “all-out war on Alaska’s wolves and other creatures.” Here’s a picture proving it!

Look at her! She’s drinking that animal’s blood!

I am not sure if I’ll ever be able to fully explain why I find these things funny. Perhaps it has to do with taking the complexity out of issues by way of misrepresentation, and thereby reducing them to a childish level where images can replace critical thinking. Laughter is simply the best expression of moral outrage against something that so desperately wants to be taken seriously.

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5 thoughts on “The Comedy of Demagoguery

  1. Point taken about demagoguery…

    But I cannot delve into a discussion of the quirky nuances of campaign-speak when there is a picture of Hopeface, holding a poodle, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. That is simply amazing.

  2. I hope it isn’t photoshopped. That’s a McCain ad in and of itself.

    Cue: (Picture of Barack Obama hugging a poodle)

    Narrator: Obama, is he ready to be president?

    McCain: I’m John McCain, and I approve this message.

  3. I really feel sorry for you all, being bombarded by all of this. At least I can just ignore the headlines on Google news or whatever, instead of having to listen to campaign ad after campaign ad for these guys.

    This article on Cracked.com kind of goes after this stuff, and it’s funny and depressingly true at the same time. I thought of it when I read this post.

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