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September 26, 2012

How To Not Be Funny: Roger Simon's Bad Joke Winds Up Humilitating Half of the Left-Wing Universe

Politico's Roger Simon (not to be confused with PJMedia's Roger L. Simon) tried to be funny.

One of the biggest problems with online media is that it provides a potentially massive venue for people who are not funny to try to be funny.

This never works out well. Today it worked out disastrously.

When people try open-mike night, only about eight people see them, and five of them are drunk, and only one of of them is recording the performance, and precisely none at all of them will bother uploading the video of an unfunny comedy debut to the internet.

On the other hand, people who are not funny have heard that there's a beginner's mode of humor, a thing called "Snark" which is supposedly akin to comedy. And because it's merely akin to comedy, people who are not funny are tempted to try some "Snark."

Snark seems easier to people than actually being funny. All you need to do is say something that isn't true, or something you don't believe. You may or may not add some "funny" punctuation to it, such as an exclamation point.

Exclamation points make things funny. Or so people who think Snark is Humor seem to believe.

So, Roger Simon, who just seems like a big fat ball of failure to me in most respects, trotted out his own attempt at this "Snark" all the kids were into these days.

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.
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Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Now, you may not realize that's supposed to be funny for the simple reason that it is not.

Nevertheless, this was Roger Simon's attempt at some humor. Humor often involves the postulation of things which are not true. But if something is not funny, and not identifiable as humor, then it is only a statement of things which are not true.

Which is the problem. What Roger Simon said was not true. He made it up. He thought that was okay, because he was trying some "Snark," and when you "Snark," you say things that aren't true, like "Gee that's so funny I forgot to laugh."

In this classic postulation of the untrue for humorous effect, the speaker, of course, does not think what you said was funny, and has not, in fact, been so overcome with mirth that he's "forgotten" how to laugh entirely. He is, instead, stating, in a roundabout, somewhat devious, fashion, that that thing you said was not funny.

It's complicated. It's not for everyone.

But missing that key ingredient -- identifiable humorous purpose and effect -- then all it is a lie.

And, the left-wing being generally stupid and gullible and willing to believe virtually anything which seems to advance their agenda, they began re-"reporting" Roger Simon's "report," which was in fact simply a lie.

Paul Krugman breathlessly re-"reported" this lie.

As did Tommy Christopher and other leftwing blogger types.

As did Lawrence O'Donnell, Gawker, and NewsOne.

Now, Roger Simon's piece wasn't funny, and I'm not sure what the hell an untrue thing (which also is not funny) is doing in a non-humor reportage piece. But he did tip off readers by including something which is too implausible to be true, to wit, that Ryan was planning on having "finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan."

Yet the geniuses that would run our lives for us failed to pick up on even that, and rather than take the one minute to contact Simon (or Ryan) to find out if any of this was even remotely true, they just ran with it on television and internet "news" operations.

Is this a conspiracy, then?

Of course not. Never ascribe to conspiracy what can be easily explained by a combination of stupidity, incompetence, malice, and more stupidity, and also a lack of any sense of humor whatsoever, further compounded by a Dunning-Kruger-esque belief that one does in fact have a functioning sense of humor.

I forget what movie this was, but some character said: "Everyone thinks he has a sense of humor... but not everyone do-o-es..."

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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