Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Stop Hitler Now"

Heather Mallick is a bewilderingly bad writer.


There's just no gentler way of putting it, I'm afraid. (Indeed, that I don't go so far as to say that the reason she is such a bad writer is that she is also bewilderingly unintelligent, strikes me as being very gentle indeed.) Take her most recent column. On the surface it would appear to be a paean to political satire. But--quintessence of irony itself--a more irony deficient essay on the subject I defy you to find. The thing is incredible.

I mean, she actually says this: "These days, I turn to comedians for information, advice and moral guidance, in fact, for an entire stance on life." And which comedians you may ask? Take a wild stab in the dark, Lancelot. One ends with --ewart, the other with --olbert.

Yes, she admits this. A "left-of-center" political commentator at the CBC actually admits this. And not, notice, just that she likes these entertainers, that she finds them funny. They are, rather, her source for moral guidance, an entire stance on life! For inforfuckingmation!

Help me out here: I'm laughing, I'm crying, my ears are bleeding. Is Rush Limbaugh making a little satire of his own under a pseudonym?

But it gets even better.

Under the section subheaded "Stop Hitler now" (yes, those are the words, swear to God--the next section? "Comedians rule") the following appears:

[Will Ferrell's Bush-satire] You're Welcome, America is surreal. It resembles the 1930s Berlin cabarets that had the Nazis so riled up, satire that, as Tom Lehrer (the revered songwriter-satirist of the early sixties) put it, "did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the Second World War."

I'm not saying that satire and pure lowdown comedy can change world events. But they change minds in some important subterranean way. Perhaps.

Remember Lenny Bruce saying, "If Jesus had been killed 20 years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."

So times do change and only the most morally bankrupt of the American states execute people now.


Firstly, Heather, I'm fairly certain that that brilliant Tom Lehrer line was Peter Cook's.

Secondly, I should hope that you weren't saying that "satire and pure lowdown comedy can change world events." To do so would be to miss precisely the irony--the glaring, balls-out irony--of the line you just misattributed to Tom Lehrer. To do so, in effect, would be to deal your faves Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Will Ferrell (the man you describe so nonsensically as a "guttural" genius) a truly devastating, indeed a fatal, blow. To do so, I say, would be to prove--in a kind of excruciating literary slow-motion--exactly how impervious you are to satire at the very moment you declare it to be the sine qua non of, not just political commentary, but of human achievement.

Thirdly, what the HELL do those last two paragraphs mean?! Honestly! Do they mean anything? Of themselves even, let alone as they relate to everything else here?

Absolute garbage.