Why Liberals Dominate Political Satire

I find liberal humor like on Colbert or the Daily show more absurdist and self deprecating than conservative humor.  Colbert plays the part of a pompous ass, sometimes suggests he fights animals for food on the street.  The images are so silly, that anyone could find it funny even if you didn’t share Colber’t mostly liberal premises.

Humor on Rush Limbaugh’s shows seems ultimately to take itself more seriously.  That is it may be a “joke” being made, but it always has a serious message:  our opponents are fools at best and evil at worst.

I think that why conservative humor has a much limited audience.   You can’t possibly find it funny unless you share pretty much all their premises.  I’ll take Colbert, and I’m no liberal.  Or am I??

Via Garance Franke-Ruta, an extremely funny parody of a Republican congressional candidate who failed to lock down the .org version of her campaign site, with hilarious results. Be sure to click through the whole page, including the option Surrender.

One interesting aspect of the political culture right now is that liberals utterly dominate the field of political satire. Last night I linked to a funny send-up of "Atlas Shrugged." Funny Or Die has another of Will Ferrell’s amusing send-ups of George W. Bush. There’s a huge supply of good liberal satire right now, and virtually no decent conservative satire. The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Funny Or Die, and the Onion, while not partisan organs, all clearly have a left-of-center orientation. (If you haven’t yet read this Onion story — "Mitt Romney Haunted By Past Of Trying To Help Sick Uninsured People" — then you’re missing out.) Saturday Night Live is more covertly liberal. The satire gap opened up during the Bush years, and some attributed it to being in the opposition. But it’s continuing through the Obama administration.

Fox News launched a horribly unfunny right-wing counterpart to the Daily Show that died a quick, merciful death. The right dominates talk radio, and talk radio is a far more valuable communications tool, but the left seems to own political satire. Liberal satirists even have their own Senator, though he’s had to largely hide his satirical sensibility in order to win office. It’s not as good as, you know, winning, but it does take the sting out of losing.

Why Liberals Dominate Political Satire
Jonathan Chait
Thu, 05 May 2011 13:29:52 GMT


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