Colbert’s Truthiness

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Okay, anyone who loves the President should not read this transcript of Stephen Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. But if you’re among the 68% who don’t, this is freaking hilarious. And it’s not just him. The Vice President, John McCain, and Justice Scalia get it too. I’m not saying I approve of insulting people to their faces in public … but if I did, no group of living Americans deserve it more than the ones Colbert skewered the other night. Almost every barb was a gem. In fact, it was so good I think I’ll go read it again.

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33 Responses to “Colbert’s Truthiness”

  1. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Colbert’s funny! The video is better than the transcript of course…
    🙂

  2. Sandi Says:

    I’m sure it is — except hearing the audience’s silence kind of ruins it for me. Jon Stewart did such a great job at the Oscars, but the audience was so stiff! (They hadn’t gotten lickered up good enough to be able to laugh at themselves). 🙂

  3. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Good point. Except for some sick reason I think the silence is kind of funny, too. The humor found in “uncomfortableness.”
    🙂

  4. Terry Austin Says:

    Loved the glacier line.

    Among many others.

    You’re right — it’s worth a couple of reads.

  5. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I was hoping somebody would bring this up. I watched it as it was happening Sat. night on C-SPAN. (Yeah, I watch C-SPAN on Sat. night. You wanna make somethin’ of it?)

    It was literally painful to watch. I had to change the channel a couple of times. It was like watching somebody get stripped naked and publicly ridiculed (not that, you know, I’ve ever watched something like that): you just want to look away.

    It’s been interesting to see the [lack of] media response to it, since Colbert also skewered them, albeit less directly. He did aim a couple of lines at them (the one about fiction comes to mind), but mostly he just made them look bad by doing what they’re supposed to do but generally don’t: challenge the president, whoever it may be, and force him/her to explain his/her policies.

    Needless to say, “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” were pretty interesting last night.

  6. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Ack!!!! You tricked me into clicking into a dailykos link!!

    Might as well read through it since I’m here now.

    ——

    It reads much better than it played. It is some funny stuff, but, folks, it’s just jokes. Seriously… jokes. There wasn’t an ounce of original criticism or serious “challenge” in it. Heck… the President’s bit with his doppelganger was more original. Colbert is a funny, funny man, but his “truthiness” routine has been done on every single one of his shows and he spent the first third of his monologue rehashing it. And it’s something that Colbert has made up as a knock on the President and conservatives in general. It’s Colbert’s and other liberals’ perception, or “gut feeling” if you will, that President Bush and other conservatives take action based only on “gut feeling” without factual support.

    Anyway… it always cracks me up how liberals latch onto comedians (our modern day clowns) as their mouthpieces. And to treat what was basically a roast as genuine political commentary… now that’s a scream!

  7. juvenal_urbino Says:

    It is some funny stuff, but, folks, it’s just jokes. Seriously… jokes.

    What Colbert does on his show — and what he did at the WHC dinner — is not just jokes. Jeff Foxworthy does just jokes. Milton Berle did just jokes. Colbert does satire, which is not just jokes, but wit with a point. In Colbert’s case, that point is to call people’s attention to the folly of neoconservatism and the Bush administration (and the news media).

    To call satire “just jokes” is identical to calling parables “just anecdotes.”

    There wasn’t an ounce of original criticism or serious “challenge” in it.

    What was original and challenging about it was that he did it in the presence of the people he was satirizing, which is pretty uncommon. Furthermore, by doing it when and where he did it, he guaranteed the president would actually hear it; would have to just sit there and listen to it. For a president who is sheltered from hearing nearly all criticisms of his policies, that’s very original and challenging.

  8. Joe Longhorn Says:

    I’m just wondering where you get the characterization of Bush being sheltered from criticism? He’s obviously aware of it and has heard it as he incorporated some of it into his own self-deprecating bit.

    The thing about this entire event that drives liberals nuts is that the President got bigger laughs and more press play than Colbert. The Prez made an excellent pre-emptive strike on Colbert with his routine and did, in fact, reduce Colbert to telling “just jokes.”

    Pretty good for an out of touch dullard if you ask me.

  9. Sandi Says:

    Yeah, if he had written the routine himself it would have been pretty good for an out-of-touch dullard. But then on the other hand, I’ve always been convinced that his good-old-boy, plain-folks, book-learnin’-is-for-chumps routine is halfway an act. Only halfway because he is pretty dumb, or rather, willfully mediocre given his pedigree and opportunities.

    As I understand it, it is well-documented that the President goes out of his way to shield himself from any criticism — the closed town hall meetings, the exile of protestors from all events at which he is speaking so he doesn’t have to even see them, the fact that his people had to bring him a DVD of what was going on in New Orleans because he had no freakin’ idea … etc. So, yes, I agree with Juvenal. What made this special was not the content particularly, as all of these criticisms had been leveled before, but the fact that for once he had to sit there and listen.

  10. Sandi Says:

    And I might add that our national discourse is currently so impoverished, at least on the level of the mainstream media, that we will take our political commentary where we can get it, and if that’s from a comedian, then so be it. 🙂

  11. juvenal_urbino Says:

    The thing about this entire event that drives liberals nuts is that the President got bigger laughs and more press play than Colbert.

    I generally let arguments that take the form of, “You’re just mad because we’re better than you,” go by without comment, because, if that’s actually what somebody thinks, what’s the point of responding?

    I’ll just say that the fact that Bush read some jokes somebody wrote for him is not much of an indicator of his world-awareness. I get the idea that he’s not very aware of criticisms from the fact that he doesn’t read newspapers; doesn’t watch the news (except Fox); doesn’t have much give-and-take with his critics in Congress; goes off like Vesuvius whenever aids say anything negative to/around him, with the result that people just don’t tell him negative things (according to WH insiders); you can’t get into one of his “town meetings” without swearing an oath of fealty; and he’s never been able to think of anything he’s done wrong.

    As for Colbert’s routine, I think the president’s reaction to it suggests even he wasn’t dullard enough to think it was “just jokes.”

  12. Terry Austin Says:

    In the interest of community-building, it seems we all agree that liberals are really funny people.

  13. Michael Lasley Says:

    You and your “community-building” agenda. Seriously, Terry, can you give it a break for two seconds?!?!

  14. juvenal_urbino Says:

    our national discourse is currently so impoverished . . . that we will take our political commentary where we can get it, and if that’s from a comedian, then so be it.

    It’s not unusual to have some of the sharpest, most penetrating social and political commentary coming from satirists, all the way back to classical Greece and Rome. More recently, Swift and Dickens did it. Mark Twain did it. Editorial cartoonists do it every day.

    What was different this time was that the satirees were present, and that part of the satire was satirizing the people who are supposed to take the same skeptical, critical approach to politicians that a satirist takes (minus the humor), but haven’t been.

  15. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Terry’s a communist.

  16. Terry Austin Says:

    You and your “community-building” agenda. Seriously, Terry, can you give it a break for two seconds?!?!

    I share your frustration, Mikey. I think, on some level, we all do. Isn’t that right, everyone?

    Terry’s a communist.

    Oh, and Mark Twain wasn’t?

  17. Joe Longhorn Says:

    I generally let arguments that take the form of, “You’re just mad because we’re better than you,” go by without comment, because, if that’s actually what somebody thinks, what’s the point of responding?

    If you really believe that Colbert zinged the Prez good and got under his skin, what’s the point of arguing? If that’s actually what YOU think.

    Yes. Knock the President because someone else wrote his routine. Par for the course. Never mind that he delivered it beautifully and may have actually realized that he was poking fun at himself. You know… I bet he forced someone to write that for him and then fired them after they wrote it. That’s the kind of tyrant he is.

    And I’m sure that Colbert wrote every one of his jokes.

    I’ll let the liberal groupthink and back patting continue without further contribution.

    Have fun!

  18. Terry Austin Says:

    This is really going to tax my community-building efforts…

  19. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Terry’s a tax-and-spend communist.

  20. Terry Austin Says:

    Terry’s a tax-and-spend communist.

    Oh, and Dusty Baker isn’t?

  21. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Yes. Knock the President because someone else wrote his routine. Par for the course. . . And I’m sure that Colbert wrote every one of his jokes.

    I wasn’t knocking the president for not writing his own jokes, Joe. Presidents pretty much never write anything they say.

    You said the president’s routine was evidence he “was aware of [the criticisms of his administration], and had heard it.” My point was that, not having written the material, the fact that he read it to an audience isn’t a very strong indicator that he really knows what critics are saying.

    That was my point, and nothing more. I’m sorry that wasn’t clearer to you.

  22. Michael Lasley Says:

    Terry — for a community-building communist, you suck. Your mom can’t be proud of you.

    As for everyone else. I think part of this is people talking past each other. I agree with Joe (maybe I should have warned everyone to sit down before saying that) in that a lot of Colbert’s subjects of satire have a lot of mileage on them. I don’t really find too many of them all that funny anymore. Less is more, in my humor book.

    But, as has been pointed out by Sandi and Juvenal, a lot of people (not just liberals) are very tired of the way Bush has operated — not just his policies, but the staged “town hall meetings,” the interviews with the members of the military where the members were given the questions to ask, the dismissing of most (if not all) criticisms as someone else “playing politics.” I think part of the frustration of liberals is that supporters of Bush refuse to acknowledge that any of this is going on.

    If I were Bush or one of his advisors, I would keep doing what he’s doing, actually. Just out of spite. Just to piss liberals off.

  23. Terry Austin Says:

    A bridge-builder.

    That’s what you are.

    A uniter, not a divider.

    (And not the decider.)

  24. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Mikey’s a flip-flopper.

  25. Al Sturgeon Says:

    The whole lot of ya’s a bunch of bumpuses.

  26. Michael Lasley Says:

    Whatever, Juvenal. I like to think of myself as an elitist when it comes to humor. You know, potty jokes and the like. Humor and politics is just too easy, in my opinion.

  27. Terry Austin Says:

    Bumpuses… now them was some Communists.

    Red menace livin’ right next door.

  28. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Less is more, in my humor book.

    Are you writing a humor book? You rhetoricians, y’all just get into everything.

  29. Michael Lasley Says:

    Oh, just try to keep my nose out of something, Juvenal. Just try.

  30. juvenal_urbino Says:

    A small contribution to the community fund:

    I agree with Joe (maybe I should have warned everyone to sit down before saying that) in that a lot of Colbert’s subjects of satire have a lot of mileage on them.

    We’re all in agreement on that, from what I can tell.

  31. Joe Longhorn Says:

    Must… resist… urge… to post.

    Weakening… weakening

    The Link

    And… I’m spent.

  32. Sandi Says:

    Comedy is incredibly subjective. Most of what passes for it in the movies these days I don’t find at all humorous. So of course some folks do not find Colbert funny. Even people who share his politics. I don’t find the Aristocrats joke funny, no matter who tells it, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a well-made documentary that many people found hilarious, and others found gross. Saying all that to say, I think it is impossible for there to be any definitive answer on whether or not someone or something is funny because humor is so individual.

  33. juvenal_urbino Says:

    My understanding is that the entertainment for the dinners is selected by the White House Correspondents’ Association. The president has no say in the matter.

    As for Clinton’s experiences, he had a somewhat similar dinner during the Lewinsky scandal, when Don Imus was the entertainment.

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