Category Archives: Churchill

Leftism: Life and politics without humor

Leftists lack true humor, something a handful of leftists proved again today, both in trying to make jokes and in failing to understand them.

Does it sound funny to say that leftism is without humor? After all, all the late-night hosts are leftists. Sarah Silverman is a leftist. Jon Stewart is a leftist, and they’re all funny, right? Right?

Well, funny up to a point. All can crack a good joke about bananas or bicyclists, same as the next person and, because they’re professionals with staffs of writers, they’re probably funnier than the next person.

In other words, they’re funny about the things that don’t matter to them.

About the things that do matter to them, they’re not so funny. Regular readers of my blog know that for years, when Mr. Bookworm insisted on watching them, I was irritated by how profoundly unfunny Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, and John Oliver were. Likewise, when they get on political topics, neither Jimmy Fallon nor Jimmy Kimmel is funny.

They get laughs for their political “humor,” but you have to understand how cheaply earned those laughs are. The comics stand or sit before their audience. They identify a conservative target and make a cheap analogy. (They love analogies.) The analogy is never witty or intelligent. It’s often something along the lines of “Calling Donald Trump smart is like calling a wombat with his head caught in a tire a genius.”

Once having read the line of a notecard or TelePrompter, the comic smirks knowingly at the audience. The audience, primed to accept that a comic’s insult at a despised conservative is by definition “humor,” roars with appropriate laughter. None of this is actual humor, though. It’s just red meat for a hungry crowd that has neither taste nor discrimination.

Hard-edged political humor can rise above crude insults and be witty and even laugh-out-loud funny. Winston Churchill was the master. For example, because Churchill thought Ramsay MacDonald lacked a spine, he called him “a sheep in sheep’s clothing.” That’s clever, mean, and one of those insults that brutally exposes the weakness of the person insulted.

And then there’s Churchill’s most famous insult. He was in conversation with either Bessie Braddock, a socialist MP and not a very good-looking woman, or Nancy Astor, a conservative MP and a famous beauty. I’m therefore inclined to believe that Braddock was the person who accused Churchill of being “disgustingly drunk.” Drunk or not, Churchill’s rapier wit was still on call:  “My dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober, and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

Churchill was on the loo when he received a call from the Lord Privy Seal. Churchill rejected the call saying, “Tell him I can only deal with one s**t at a time.” Vulgar, mean – and clever.

The problem with today’s comics isn’t necessarily that they’re bad comics. It’s that leftism is inherently humorless, something summed up in the common expression that “Democrats (or progressives or leftists) can’t meme.”

In Hollywood  in1939, although there were a lot of leftists, the studios were anti-communist. That’s why they made the movie Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo, with its then-famous slogan, “Garbo laughs.” Garbo plays a Soviet commissar sent to Paris on official business who ends up dealing with a Leon, a fun-loving, capitalist playboy. (Ironically, Melvyn Douglas, who had the playboy role, was married to Helen Gahagan Douglas, whom Nixon once implied was a communist.)

The movie is filled with insults against communism and praise for the capitalist system. And of course, as the tagline indicates, one of the running jokes is how utterly humorless communists are. Here are just some examples of a movie that is both of its time and surprisingly timeless:

Buljanoff: How are things in Moscow?
Ninotchka: Very Good. The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.

***

Ninotchka: I have heard of the arrogant male in capitalistic society. It is having a superior earning power that makes you that way.
Leon: A Russian! I love Russians! Comrade, I’ve been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last fifteen years.
Ninotchka: Your type will soon be extinct.

***

Ninotchka: What do you do for mankind?
Leon: For mankind? Yes, eh, not so much, for mankind. But, for womankind my record isn’t quite so bleak.
Ninotchka: You are something we do not have in Russia.
Leon: Thank you.
Ninotchka: That’s why I believe in the future of my country.

I also like this dialog, just because it’s a reminder that “social justice” is an old and Marxist concept:

Ninotchka: Why should you carry other people’s bags?
Porter: Well, that’s my business, Madame.
Ninotchka: That’s no business. That’s social injustice.
Porter: That depends on the tip.

This humorlessness about the things that matter does not exist in a free Western society. Religion matters a great deal in America – or at least, it used to. And yet one of the staples of American comedy was the joke starting with, “A minister, a priest, and a rabbi….” These jokes were meant to tie Americans together as people with a shared Judeo-Christian culture who could also share a laugh about their faiths.

And yes, there is a point to all of this. I saw two things today that perfectly illustrated the fundamental humor failure on the left, including its inability to meme. The first was an opinion piece in the WaPo that was intended to ridicule the conservative belief that the Obama administration railroaded Flynn as part of subverting the election and then, when that failed, destroying its political enemies.

Alexandra Petri’s piece is entitled, “Obamagate was the worst crime ever committed and here is what it was.” I’ll just give you the first two paragraphs, not only because of fair use restrictions but because that’s more than enough for you to see that she eschews wit and cleverness in favor of ponderous pedantry:

“What is the crime exactly that you’re accusing him of?”

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

— President Trump responding to Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker

Obamagate began long ago, long before Trump even got elected, before he even knew he was running. It began before America, before time, in those early days when President Barack Obama lit the furnace of the sun, just before he fixed the paths of the planets in such a way that millennia in the future, Donald Trump would stare directly into a solar eclipse. And, of course, everyone knew about it.

Obamagate was the biggest political crime in American history by far, a fact that Barack Obama did not hesitate to tell Richard M. Nixon, causing him to shed bitter tears in an as-yet-unreleased tape. It was bigger than Teapot Dome. It was bigger than anything anyone blamed Ulysses Grant for allowing the people who surrounded him to do. Nothing could be worse than Obamagate. It went all the way to the top, where Obama floated inside a sinister Masonic eye at the apex of a pyramid on the back of a dollar bill, holding all the strings.

That’s not humor. That’s just riffing from a history book with occasional nods to some website or another entitled “World’s most famous conspiracy theories.”

The next example of the left’s lack of humor is even worse. Because we conservatives pay attention, I’m betting you remember when Biden said, “We [the Democrats] choose truth over facts.” In honor of that splendidly Bidenesque gaffe, the Trump campaign created a campaign website and video, that riffs off of the gaffe, while using it as a launching pad for the truth (and the facts) about Biden:

The Democrat response was even funnier than the campaign effort because leftists (just like Ninotchka) didn’t get the joke:

Not only can’t leftists meme, they can’t even recognize a meme when they see one. Being a leftist is a deadly serious business.

Americans like to laugh and the Trump campaign, wisely, is using humor as a potent weapon against the Biden campaign. Even an ugly leftist like Saul Alinsky, a master of manipulating people, had as his 5th rule the statement that “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” Trump’s team gets it, while Biden’s team doesn’t even get the joke.

Politicians’ external behaviors do not prove whether they have a strong moral core

I don’t particularly like a friend one of the Little Bookworms has, although I feel quite sorry for the young woman. She’s in her late teens, with staggeringly low self-esteem that she buries by indulging in drugs, alcohol, and gender fluid sexual engagements. I don’t worry, though, that she’ll be a bad influence on my child who has – thank goodness – a solid moral core that resists this type of depressing debauchery. In any event, my child is a legal adult and can consort with whomever she likes.

The reason I mention this unhappy young woman is that my Little Bookworm met the young woman’s latest boyfriend. Of that young man, my Little Bookworm had this to say: “He’s a really interesting guy in his early 20s. He’s a total straight arrow. He doesn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs.”

I asked the logical question: “What’s he doing with your friend then?”

The answer surprised me. “He’s a drug dealer.”

Well! I immediately told Little Bookworm that, while I have no legal control over her social life, she would do well never to socialize with either the friend or the boyfriend again. I reminded my children ad nauseum when they were growing up that San Quentin (which we can see from our home, so it’s a very real place to them) is filled with prisoners whose primary mistake was to have the wrong friends. If the boyfriend gets arrested while my Little Bookworm is in the same apartment he is, Little Bookworm will find herself in an adjoining jail cell.

Having delivered myself of this practical advice, I begin to think about the difference between apparently moral trappings and genuinely moral conduct. After all, other than the small problem of drug dealing, the boyfriend sounds great – clean cut and clean-living. The package looks good, but the core is rotten.

Looking back in time, we all know about that famous dog-loving, non-smoking, teetotaling vegetarian who sent six million Jews to the gas chamber and started a war that claimed 40 million or so lives within just six years. Hitler, like the boyfriend, was a mass of objectively virtuous behaviors that hid another rotten core.

The opposite can be true too. That is, there are people whose lives appear superficially vice-ridden, but who nevertheless have a strong moral compass. Take Winston Churchill, who was in so many ways Hitler’s opposite during WWII.

Churchill was undoubtedly an alcoholic. He showed exceptionally bad judgment during WWI, leading to the Gallipoli disaster. Many have credibly accused him during WWII of promoting plans that led to unnecessary loss of life, whether of his own troops or German civilians. In addition to loving his wife, mother, and daughters, he had a strain of misogyny that revealed itself in some of his most brutally memorable insults to women who got under his skin.

Despite all those behavioral problems, Churchill had a rock-solid inner morality, one that allowed him immediately to take Hitler’s measure and to be a sure compass during the dark, dark days of WWII. He was Hitler’s light-filled antithesis.

We grow them like that at home too – people whose external behavior is at odds with their true moral (or immoral or amoral) center. Jimmy Carter is Southern Baptist who has always lived a life of traditional rectitude – he is a committed husband, a devout church-goer, and someone who regularly donates his time and energy to building housing for the poor.

I should admire Carter, but I don’t. I loathe him because that pious mantel is wrapped around a man who is a committed anti-Semite, one who routinely sides with the debauched death cult that is Hamas and its followers, a group of people who seek Jewish genocide, murder homosexuals and Christians, suppress women, and use children as shields for their children. No matter how conventionally pretty Carter’s little acts of selflessness, he is (to my mind, at least) a fundamentally bad man.

And of course there are the Clintons. What can we say about the Clintons? Hillary has been married to only one man (although he did allegedly tell an adulterous girlfriend that she cheated on him constantly . . . with women). She’s stood by her man through thick and thin, which seems like the act of a solid, faithful spouse. Still, one cannot help but suspect that her decision to stick it out was driven, not by a commitment to her marriage vows, but by her understanding that she would need someone whose charisma could pole vault her from one job for which she was unqualified and in which she did badly to another job for which she was unqualified and in which she did badly, a pattern that Hillary planned (and plans) to repeat right up until she sits behind the desk in the Oval Office.

To those of us who don’t respect Hillary, the fact that she’s held positions of importance (in all of which she’s conducted herself badly) or that she pays lip service to every Leftist political shibboleth of days past and present does nothing to hide her toxic soul: Hillary is a compulsive liar, a user, a shamefully unindicted felon, and a person motivated by a greed so deep and pure that many of us cannot even begin to contemplate what drives her from one act of crime and corruption to another.

You’d think that after having grubbed in $150,000,000 over a sixteen-year period, Hillary’s greed would be satiated and she’d lie low, but she can’t. Hillary is compulsively greedy and dishonest, a manifest fact that shocks those who believe core morality matters and a fact that, even more shockingly, couldn’t matter less to the legions of Leftists who will do anything to get her into the White House.

Bill is in a class by himself too. He’s such a charming, compassionate man, who really does seem to feel everyone’s pain. A more naturally gifted politician it’s hard to imagine. While I suspect most Americans would cringe at the thought of having Hillary seated next to them at a dinner party, I’m pretty sure most Americans, even those who hate the Clintons – both their politics and their corruption – would have a good time if they ended up with Bill as their dinner partner.

These superficial virtues, though, cannot should never allow us to forget that Bill is almost certainly a rapist, he’s definitely guilty of sexual assault short of rape, he’s a workplace harasser, he’s best buddies with a pedophile, he’s a perjurer and, like his wife, he will do absolutely anything, including selling out his own country, to fill his coffers. His soul is black. But there’s that charm. . . .

As they do with Hillary, the Left so desperately wants to ignore that black soul and forgive Bill his sins, never mind that he has no interest in forgiveness. It’s that need to pin atonement upon him, when he hasn’t really atoned at all, that resulted in one of the most perverse posts I’ve ever seen at the Wonkette blog, home to a hardy, and somewhat . . . um . . . intellectually esoteric collection of rapidly Leftist feminists.

A Leftist named Rebecca Schoenkopf gamely, and rather admirably, decided to tackle head-on an interview that Katie J. M. Baker did for Buzzfeed with Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who has claimed for almost forty years that Bill Clinton raped her.

The interview is a good one and deserves to be read. Broaddrick has never changed her core story in the 38 years since she alleges that Bill trapped her in a hotel room and raped her. Moreover, she’s mostly kept out of the limelight, so she cannot be accused of having made a profitable or high-profile career out of slandering Bill Clinton. Indeed, she might have stayed quiet still were it not for Hillary’s “feminist” insistence that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”

For the 73-year-old Broaddrick, whom Hillary did everything possible to silence and discredit, these assertions were a bridge too far. Suddenly, on Twitter, she started speaking out. “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.”

Broaddrick comes across as a credible woman who was used badly by both Bill and Hillary and who never got the justice she deserved. But I want to return to Ms. Schoenkopf who, having read the interview, felt compelled to address it.

To her great credit, Schoenkopf has to concede that Broaddrick’s story is credible. To those who challenge Broaddrick, whether because her story has become more detailed over the years or because she speaks with right-wing organizations, Schoenkopf points out that (a) rape survivor’s do that as they grapple with the event and (b) Broaddrick hates Hillaru so she’ll naturally be drawn to those who support her as she speaks out against Hillary. Schoenkopf notes that, once one addresses these points:

that’s pretty much all the “I don’t believe Juanita” crowd has. Her friends found her with bruised lips, crying, right after the rape allegedly occurred. That’s what we call “contemporaneous evidence” when we believe women.

Once having accepted Broaddrick’s story as true, however, Schoenkopf seeks to rehabilitate Bill without any help from Bill himself. She first says that it was probably just an 80s power thing that had him respond to a woman’s repeated noes by assaulting her so badly she was left bruised and bleeding.

No.

I lived through the 1980’s in America. They were not like the 880’s in the Muslim Caliphate nor are they like the 2016’s in any ISIS-controlled region. Even back in those benighted times 35 years ago, men understood that trapping an unwilling woman in a room and using brute physical force as a way to have intercourse with her was a criminal act, no just macho posturing.

Bad as that bit of historical rewrite is, the worst thing Schoenkopf does it try to cleanse Bill’s criminal, blackened soul without demanding that he make any effort himself in that direction:

To sum up, I think Bill Clinton could very well have raped Juanita Broaddrick; that it doesn’t make him an evil man, or irredeemable (I’m Catholic; we’re all forgiven, if we’re sorry, and Broaddrick says Bill Clinton personally called her up to apologize). It doesn’t even necessarily make him a bad feminist — you know, later, once he stops doing that.

Sorry, but stopping committing crimes is not good enough. There’s no indication that he stopped because of conscience. There’s every indication that he stopped only because the higher his profile, the harder it became to get away with rape and other forms of sexual assault. In addition, the higher his profile, the easier it was to get women to bed him without his having to make any effort. He has no remorse. He has never repented.

Bill – charming, brilliant, even lovable – is a rotten apple who can be forgiven only if one re-writes entirely the definition of remorse and repentance so that those concepts have nothing to do with the actor’s soul and everything to do with his sycophants’ desire to resurrect his credibility.

The last joker in this deck of presidents and president wannabes is Donald Trump? It’s actually hard to get a grip on Trump’s behavior because of the foul miasma that the drive-by media has created around him. After a youth and midlife spent womanizing (but not raping), he seems to have settled down to marital fidelity. He’s also temperate in his behaviors, because he doesn’t smoke nor drink, and apparently has never done so. One could characterize him as an older man who, having sown his wild womanizing oats, has settled down and has the external morals of an elder statesman.

The Left, however, cannot accept a temperate, normal Donald Trump. The fever swamp that passes for a media today insists that (a) he’s an amphetamine addict and (b) that he’s a NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) devotee. The last is especially funny because this is put forward as the reason he’s hiding his tax returns – as if an internationally known businessman would place front and center in his returns a charitable write-off to a pedophile organization.

The media derides Trump as a monster who tries to boot old ladies out of their homes, while his supporters (many of whom have known him personally for decades) characterize him as a generous, spontaneous, compassionate man who doesn’t hesitate a moment to help out people in need. He’s either a corrupt, inept businessman who’s sued constantly, or a pragmatic man who takes minimal risks, turns real profits, and has a knack for cutting through the red tape and getting the job done. He’s a bully or a warrior. He’s a genius or a fool.

The real question, though, is whether any of the above tell us about the real Trump, the man beneath the weird hair, the crazy outbursts, the crude attacks, the savvy business deals, the generous charitable contributions, the teetotaling (and tweaking?). I don’t think so. Everything I’ve described is window-dressing, none of which is an insight into the man’s soul.

I do have some hope, though, that Trump is one of the good guys and that’s for a reason personal to me: Just as I immediately recognized Obama because he was identical in affect and behavior to a handful of malignant narcissists who have been in my life and made me quite unhappy, Trump reminds me strongly of a dear friend.

Trump and my friend have so many traits in common: quirky, original, often brilliant minds; explosive tempers; mountains of eccentricities; pit bull-like fighting instincts, that include the inability to walk away from an argument or insult; loyalty; and great charm. That’s my friend’s outer shell, just as it’s Trump’s outer shell.

With my friend, this shell is a difficult, prickly one, but the rewards of calling him a friend are tremendous. He has such a deep, strong moral core. You can rely on him for insights about difficult times and help during times of need. He knows what is right and what is wrong. For now, until proven otherwise, I’m going to hope that, once one wipes away the slime the media throws at Trump, he’ll be just like my friend: brilliant, difficult, brave, and truly worth the effort.

[It occurs to me that someone who ought to be included in this post is Oskar Schindler, a ne’er do well who had one of the strongests consciences to emerge in Nazi Germany.]

Cross-posted at Bookworm Room

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Politicians’ external behaviors do not prove whether they have a strong moral core


Article written by: Tom White