When you’re polishing the brass railings of the HMS Titanic, it’s important to remember one thing; do it with style. Otherwise, why bother? The more you polish, the better you get. So what if the ship hits the iceberg and sinks?
Since 1998, largely to keep myself out of a rut, I’ve changed the heading of the Bands I Useta Like strip every few years. In the very beginning (when it was self-published), it looked like this:
A stalker once told me, as though it validated his abhorrent behavior, “You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friends’ friends.” Admittedly, that’s partly true.
I mean, you’re welcome to pick your nose, if you’d like to be ostracized from society and make everyone sick at the same time. You can pick your friends, provided they’re in the same socio-economic class as you are, and they don’t consort with a better version of your identity. And you can’t pick your friends’ friends, who, for all you know, could be royalty, or morally repugnant wasted orgasms.
If you create art and/or entertainment, you don’t get to pick and choose who likes it.
Comedy stinks right now because you forced it to stink. You vilified every experience in life that makes a great comedian. You made the safe, sponsored version of laughter the norm. You’re so afraid to really laugh in front of other people, that you turned comedy from an anti-establishment weapon into a cottony security blanket.
Comedy stinks right now because of you. Because you’re afraid of your true feelings.
You probably don’t even know who this is.
Let’s take, as an example, one of these pusillanimous women that the media holds up as Queens of Comedy. You know the ones, I don’t have to name them. They’re all over glossy magazine covers at the checkout aisles, making “zany” faces to remind you they’re funny.
I’m old enough to remember when Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian; i.e., a person who stands behind a microphone and makes people laugh. I have vague memories of Kathy Griffin doing the same thing. As far as I can determine now, Maher and Griffin just make people mad, by saying or doing something deliberately inappropriate, and then flaying open their breast in apology, crocodile tears a-flow.
Then they go back to being unfunny. Because funny ain’t what pays their bills.
More integrity and realism than anything Maher has done since.
I’m also old enough to recall when Maher’s show Politically Incorrect lived up to its name, instead of being a vehicle for trendy virtue-signals. My pal Jim Goad once made an appearance. It was far more fringy and loose. Now it’s a reductive caricature, a safe forum for “differing viewpoints” (vetted by the network/sponsors). It’s a funnier joke as it is than anything that ever came out of Bill Maher’s mouth.
I won’t touch it. I don’t respond well to condescension. I could contract full-blown AIDS, “Dear White People” could have the cure, and I’d die happily, blissfully ignorant, broth bowl in hand, tumbling to the linoleum with a smile.
Any white person who would willfully watch something titled “Dear White People” is fearful of people who aren’t white. Period.
There’s an entire genre of movies, TV shows and music, explicitly designed to mollify you in your time of emotional distress. Plus, there’s a contrived ending that tells you everything’s okay. Or not. It’s basically sadness porn, after all.
Feel like laughing? Same deal. Entire blocks of television programming are devoted to laughter, loaded with disparate commercials for unhealthy items and services. You can “binge-watch” every stand-up special a comedian has produced, and then argue about a decrease in their edge, on the Internet. Isn’t that fantastic?