It’s almost hard to believe that piece ABL linked to, wherein a middle-aged white guy says what he would do if he were a poor black child, wasn’t parody. It was eerily like this classic Onion piece:
A guy from work introduced me to his boyfriend this week. He seemed pretty nice, but it was weird, because he didn’t look gay at all. He was a computer programmer and looked like any fat, balding slob you’d run into on the street. I have to say, I would never let myself go like that if I were gay.
If I were gay, I would be very well groomed. I’d purchase two high-quality suits, one nice suit jacket, and two pairs of wool trousers. I’d get about eight shirts tailored, and I would own my own tuxedo, for special occasions. I’d grow my buzzcut into a sophisticated Caesar cut, and I would brighten it with tastefully blended golden highlights. Each morning, I would tame my hair’s unruly kinks with a dollop of molding paste and a little reparative shine serum. (It’s important to use the right products, if you want to maintain healthy hair—especially when it’s gay. )
If I were gay, there’s no way I’d shave with a disposable razor and a bar of Dial soap, like I do as a straight man. As a gay man, I’d make shaving a ritual. I would prepare my face with a foaming exfoliating cleanser, then I’d use a cucumber shave gel and a sharp blade.
I didn’t feel this way six or seven years ago, but I have a harder and harder time distinguishing serious discourse in official publications from the Onion.
The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik
That’s because there’s no consequence for crazy anymore. Hell, you get rewarded for being batshit insane because people take it as ‘bold’ and ‘new’ and best of all ‘not liberal’.
Now that Craig James is officially running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Texas, let me be the first to say that the rumors that Craig James killed 5 hookers while at SMU are unsubstantiated.
Look, it’s just a frank truth that white people are just better at being black. Why are we deriding the man for excelling, as comes naturally to white people? All these kids have to do is purchase a computer and self-motivate themselves to learn using various free on-line programs. They just need to use the accessible resources they already have, like a stable house, electricity, and a supportive parent structure. I wish I had known what this middle aged white guy knew when I was a poor black child.
Irony is a lost concept. Sarcasm and parody grow weak and ineffectual.
Reality is Fantasy.
Up is down…..etc, etc etcetera.
Here’s what I think: I think so many people are now writing so many stupid things on the internet that people who write for mainstream publications now think they can work to the lowered standards and expectations.
[nods smugly, and without any outward sign of irony]
David in NY
OT, but, from TPM — Peak Gingrich!
@ruemara: Tears, ruemara. Tears are streaming. So funny it’s sad.
Apart from the fact that I only have sex with women (so far), I’m totally gay.
At least according to The Onion.
From my quick read of the piece ABL talked about, it was from the complacent, self satisfied, shallow genre of the thoughtless middle class white man (note well, I am in the club, and have to play along with them on a daily basis).
The message, it seemed to me, was, that every black person could outcompete other blacks for unfairly and racially biased limited resources to ? and racial disparities and problems go away.
It was a baroque variation on the underpants gnome game.
Made no sense, and was not worth reading. Like most social commentary in Forbes and similar rags
Yeah, I went on a pretty serious clothes-spree this fall that was eerily like what he described.
The more important story on TPM is the revelation that Obama already has 8 functioning campaign offices in Iowa. None of the Republican candidates have more than 1.
This is why Obama remains the heavy favorite.
All I can think of is the earlier scenes in the Jerk, I’m afraid.
Really? I could have sworn it was at least that long ago that it became generally recognized that conservatives had become impossible to parody, because there is no exaggeration you can create of their beliefs that they have not already topped themselves.
To be fair, the article was written by Navin Johnson.
ETA: Aaaaaand, jibeaux got there first.
I’d also point out the obviousness of the Forbes writer’s showing his chops for a gig at Forbes For Wealth-Challenged Black Kids, their new urban spin-off mag.
@jibeaux: Great, now all I can think of his how much I want to juggle cats.
You know, I really should be grading exams.
@David in NY: I knew I was wrong predicting Huntsman as the next shiny object. Paul. Of course. [slaps forehead]
Craig James is running? The thing he’s most famous for in Texas is for destroying two major college football programs. SMU: death penalty for his recruitment, and Texas Tech where he got Leach fired for mistreating his son. I don’t see him getting lots of votes in West Texas.
The Onion is well on its way to earning its motto “Americas Finest News Source”
Yes, those crafty folks at The Onion are truly the bards of our time.
They expertly ride the seam between reality and some people’s reality.
Don’t forget your special purpose.
Indeed, Craig James, despite the rampant allegations that he killed 5 hookers while at SMU, is going to file for the U.S. Senate imminently. His popularity ratings in Lubbock, after he hired a PR firm to lie about Mike Leach, are about 7%. He’s hated at TCU, whom he has routinely trashed and slimed for 16 solid years. There are scores of Republicans all over who claim that they will vote Democrat this time if he wins the nomination; there are Dems who are switching parties to vote in the primary against him.
Even despite the 5 hookers that he allegedly killed, this is huge news in Texas. Expect high turnout for the worst AP voter ever!
@Redshift: For me the turning point didn’t come until well into the Tea Party era. There have been running jokes about reality overtaking The Onion for pretty much as long as people have been sending Onion links to their coworkers, but even during the Bush era the worst of those moments still had a distinct whiff of “can you believe this shit?” As if the examples were still beyond the pale.
The power of The Onion’s satire comes from reductio ad absurdum, from taking humanity’s ridiculousness to its logical extremes and using those extremes to illustrate the absurdity of the subject matter. Nowadays, though, it’s not exactly news that the Republican Party is being driven by its extremists, or that modern-day conservatism is a self-identification program for lunatics and sociopaths.
He did have a thought. Lots of them, in fact. His big mistake was that he then wrote up and published those thoughts without figuring out that they were mind numbingly asinine.
OK, I can understand the well intentioned but clueless semi-liberal invertebrate Forbes bubble-dweller getting crushed to death when the poorly shored mines of his own deep thinking caved in. What I wonder more is what this says about the editors at Forbes. Are they so deep in the same sanitized existence that they nodded and said, “Oh. Yeah. This makes sense. Go for it.” Or did they not do their jobs? Are there any editors at Forbes anymore?
Villago Delenda Est
Honestly, I can’t see Paul being the next shiny object. Two things against him: he’s not gung ho for borrowing money to kill brown people, and the MSM desperately wants to ignore him.
@Villago Delenda Est: Sure, but did anyone see Gingrich becoming the next shiny object?
Are there any editors anywhere any more? It would appear not as total crap is routine in papers, magazines & online publications. Particularly egregious is inane sludge like this example and the McCardle, a story with obvious errors and omissions used to come to the conclusion desired. Add to that you will notice gross spelling and grammatical errors that go without correction. Editors cost money, there is no need for them.
That Onion piece reads sort of like a George Will column. Remember his rant on people who dare to wear denim, that fabric for which he does not care?
Apropos of the thread title, pity the miner for a heart of gold in the conservasphere. Talk about your full-time jobs.
Speaking of…this seems about right:
Whoever said that knowledge is power is an idiot.
The Onion piece is amazing. I use to try to do the shaving ritual, but I’ve found I like sleep too much. Yes, I use a safety razor and brush, but those extra ten minutes that a proper washing and preparation requires are so much better spent in bed. It’s really so much easier to be well styled when you don’t have to be anywhere before noon.
That’s pretty much what I said about your awful post last night. You really should retract that one.
@different-church-lady: My cynical hypothesis is that the objective function of most editors at places like Forbes is to publish propaganda pieces that keep the mass of self satisfied self righteous and narcissistic middle class in line.
They may also believe the stuff, but that is neither here nor there in terms of what they need to do to keep their jobs.
The piece was offensive and stupid, as you say. And you are correct, a string of random thoughtoids that sooth one’s conscience is not the same as being totally thoughtless. My bad. The guy is clearly not totally zombied out, though if he is not careful, that will be his fate.
@KG: I figure that if a bit of surface cleaning and degreasing are required for the best results in just painting many surfaces that it works for skin and razors, too. No ritual, though, just soap up and wash off once or twice before the shave gel/cream/soap just to remove the oils which gum up the razor. It all goes better.
Jack the Second
I’ve started to see Poe’s Law as something like Rule 34 for the real world.
If I were a poor black kid, I’d cancel my subscription to Forbes.
@DougJ: I think Balloon Juice needs a style blogger. We have beautiful minds but we need to look good too, right!
Actually, there never was a golden age of print (well, text) journalism at any time, anywhere. The copy editing may have been better in the old days. But then, as now, as it shall ever be, editors would print trivia, asinine crap, suck-up pieces for the rich and powerful, celebrity gossip and scandal. The tomorrow’s fish-wrap business has been like this since day one.
Agreed. A man who wears bow-ties in the 21st century should not presume to lecture others on style.
David in NY
@Amir Khalid: Fusty George Will is not stylish, not at all.
David in NY
We’ll have to get new pajamas?
Remember a couple of weeks ago (a lifetime, I know) when Trump said he was going to get 10 poor kids and make them junior apprentices?
How’s that project going?
Good perspective. There’s a halfway good chance the editor(s) looked at the 250 or so commenters calling the guy an idiot, counted them as clicks, considered it an internet victory, and went off for a martini.
But in a lot of ways it’s even worse than thoughtless — it’s condescending thought. The really infuriating thing about that piece is the tone of “I’ve been thinking about black people lately,” the same way someone might say “I’ve been thinking about time travel lately.” To this guy poor blacks are a completely abstract concept, in the same way interstellar exploration is. And he’s so touched by his own new-born enlightenment about these strange, downtrodden people he’s heard about but never met that he’s just gotta share.
Condescension: it’s not just something you wipe off your windshield in the morning.
David in NY
Tom Lehrer said that satire died when Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Then came the Onion’s 2001 headline: “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’.”
And now, every day, it’s harder and harder to know …
There recent piece on people living in “not our problem any more” getting blown up was pretty dead on.
@David in NY: Not just new pajamas, an entire wardrobe. Hair and makeup tips for women. Also accessories, shooz and bags oh my!
@wasabi gasp: You… are the new Internets Champion!
David in NY
True of almost everybody in this country who isn’t black or doesn’t live in or near a black community. Except to the extent that black=criminal, which is how lots of people see it and which is far worse than abstract.
Media related OT… It appears that ABC news is planning on replacing Amanpour. link
also, too.. Herm Cain is available.
David in NY
Wait — too late to edit. I didn’t mean that everybody was an abstract concept, just that most people also saw blacks as an abstract concept.
patrick the pedantic literalist
The mirror image of Lady GaGa, who is gay but has sex with guys. Although, I think she kissed a girl once.
@David in NY: The problem wasn’t just that he (like many others) lives somewhere where poor black children are an abstract concept; that’s not offensive in itself. It’s that he was unable to see that it made him completely unqualified to offer an opinion about them.
He’s still trying to line up ten 17 year old girls for the project…
@El Cid: That’s what I try to do… but more often than not, it devolves into “splashing warm water on my face a few times before applying shaving cream/soap with brush”
ETA: funny thing is, even with a half assed attempt like that, I still get a better shave with the safety razor than I ever did doing all the extra leg work with those 47-blade monstrosities that are advertized everywhere?
@patrick the pedantic literalist: I think that was Katie Perry, Gaga was just born this way.
@Redshift: I believe that satire died the day the Onion published the “Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity has finally ended” after W. was elected. They thought they were being funny, it turned out they were telling the future.
True story: I worked with a programmer (I forget his name, so I’ll call him John) about 20 years ago who was fairly liberal as programmers go (or so I thought), and whose style of dress was somewhat unusual for a programmer: bleached blond hair, an earring, and flannel shirts. Someone mentioned one day that John was a Log Cabin Republican. I looked at the guy completely dumbfounded and said: “John’s a Republican?!
@patrick the pedantic literalist:
Best compliment I’ve had today. But it’s early.
I wear a bowtie every Tuesday – of course, more because it’s camo-patterned than because it’s a bowtie. (Tactical Tuesday, we call it at work.)
A camo-pattern bowtie? Cool. I wear decade-old freebie T-shirts with my elderly denims and beat-up leather boots seven days a week. I think it’s a safe bet that neither of us presumes to lecture other people about style.
Ben Cisco (mobile)
@ruemara 6: OK, that’s a weeks worth of internets for you. Hope you got room.
David in NY
@Lynn Dee: lol.
Craig James for Senate? Really?
No fucking chance after getting Leach fired.
The good news is it gets him off of ESPN broadcasts.
Edit: Missed MarkB @ 18. My bad there.
Unless, of course, he’s Doctor Who.
Bowties are cool
@Brachiator: Well, he’s only in the 21st century sometimes.
@Brachiator: yes, yes they are
No one of importance
And Muslim, too. Or so Samara Morgan would have us believe.
Those goshdarn white people. They’re better at *everything*, including racism.
60+ comments in and NO ONE make a reference to The Jerk? C’mon, Balloon Juice, DougJ set you guys up perfectly with that intro.
I am disappoint.
The prophet Nostradumbass
@AxelFoley: It was in the very first comment of ABL’s thread on the subject.
@The prophet Nostradumbass:
Ah, I should have known.
My faith in this place is restored.
Paul in KY
@patroclus: Talk about reverse-affirmative action. He shoulda been Eric Dickerson’s backup, only getting in after Eric had 300+ yards.