Monday, August 15, 2005


When you look at Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside Bush's bunker, it may appear exactly as it is -- a bereaved mother who wants answers from the man who ordered her son into a meatgrinder she (and she says he) opposed, and where he soon perished. You might think Sheehan's too public with her grief and request, but it is what it is, like it or lump it. Not much more to see.

For many rightwingers, however, there's more, oh sooooo much more to see. To them, Sheehan is either leading a gaggle of pro-jihadist Jew-haters, or has been duped and is being used by the vilest of anti-American scum. Whatever the case, there's no way she's that upset about losing her son in Iraq. I mean, like, c'mon! What real patriot wouldn't give to have two, three, many relatives blown to shreds in Baghdad? It's one of the highest honors, as any Real American knows. And helping to build a Shi'a theocracy in the south where Sharia law rules? Well, that's simply gravy.

The thing about rightwingers when they get all crazy like this is that apart from the loud, disgusting spectacle they put on, their whole attack mode is pretty funny. They look like Ben Turpin or Snub Pollard swinging wildly with a giant prop mallet, inevitably bashing themselves in the head, causing them to stumble around as if stinking drunk. The beauty of this is that they don't see themselves that way. They think they're making a political point. The humor is unintentional. And the wilder and crazier they swing their mallets, the funnier and more absurd they get.

But then there are those rightwingers who, God bless 'em, actually try to be funny about Sheehan. Intentional reactionary humor is one of comedy's minor-categories, down there with farting the National Anthem and eating anything on a dare. Since reactionaries worship state power and those who wield it, they cannot go after that, esp when Repubs control everything. The military? Nah. Corporations? Be serious. There's the Liberal Media, but even as Ann Coulter recently admitted, they pretty much influence the tone and focus of that as well. So, what's left to attack? As P.J. O'Rourke discovered when he took control of the National Lampoon in the late-70s, reactionary comics have minorities, the poor, homosexuals, and those many others who are a blight upon a wholesome, pure America. O'Rourke did quite well with this recipe, as did R. Emmett Tyrrell in the old American Spectator. The Dartmouth Review writers of the early/mid-80s attempted similar routines, but usually their raw, untested deliveries blew whatever joke they'd cobbled together, and most often they settled for name-calling, outing gay students and racial slurs.

In the past few days, I've come across a couple of would-be reactionary comics who are straining to satirize Cindy Sheehan and her vigil. Since there really isn't much to bite into, they are faced with the Dartmouth Review's old dilemma, and so they sling insults at Sheehan, make fun of her physical appearance, mock her supposed "grief," and so on. It's pretty embarrassing to witness, as joke after joke splats the pavement in full vomit relief. But they appear to think themselves clever and "cutting," and perhaps they are, to someone, somewhere. Comedy is subjective, after all. Normally, I'd leave it there. But one of these puking clowns uses Michael O'Donoghue's material to name her blog (which I won't link to, but you are free to Google away), and given her amateurish, low-rent routines, I was moved to email her:

"Hi --

"I know you don't read mail that's critical of your public output, so perhaps this is merely a Zen exercise on my part. But in case you're still reading, I'm Michael O'Donoghue's biographer, from whom you swiped the name of your blog. I knew Michael somewhat in his final years, and am still quite friendly with much of his inner-circle. After reading the chickenshit you've been throwing at Cindy Sheehan, let me clue you in on something: O'Donoghue would find you cowardly and beneath his contempt. I know that one of his closest friends does. And he especially despised those who stole his words or ideas (without credit, so far as I can see) and employed them in such clumsy, semi-literate ways. As a strong believer in karma, I personally wouldn't express the darkest disgust I have for you. But Michael had no problem with such niceties. So I give him the final two words.


I have communed with Michael's spirit, and he suggested that I use one of his stronger lines, where he wishes rectal cancer on those who cross him. While I briefly considered it, I decided against it. Karmic payback's a serious bitch, and I've enough to deal with as it is.

OH: Speaking of M O'D, I've been informed that the following image --

is featured full-screen in the new film, "The Aristocrats." It would've been nice had the film's producers, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette, given me a head's up. After all, there are plenty of O'Donoghue images to choose from. Still, I can't complain. "Mr. Mike" rolls on, which gives the late Mr. Mike a reason to flash that wicked smile.