The Quest to be a Funny Liberal
I typically don't recommend whole issues of magazines, but I've got to say that this month's Vanity Fair had me from the table of contexts. (I know, I'm a little behind on my summer reading.) First, a very grave commentary about why the feminists are all hot and bothered by Summers and the editor at the LA Times and so forth ("Caution: Women Seething," by James Wolcott), then (brilliant editorial placement) an essay about why liberals are not funny: "No Jokes, Please, We're Liberal," by Michael Wolff. I'm skipping the Dominick Dunne column in between because I always do -- I find him sycophantic, even in a very smoochy magazine.
There's no online access, hence the length of this post...
The first article basically goes like this: "What exploded, methinks, was a protracted buildup of exasperation over the persistent over-representation of women in positions of prominence and authority, and mulish inability of powerful men to recognize the scope of the problem or their tendency to rationalize it with voodoo genetics and Victorian parlor sociology. Women are sick of hearing the same old sea chanteys. They've had their fill of men who insist on protecting their privileges and pretend it's the natural order of things." (It's just too bad, I guess, that the women are so damn cheeky: "There's something about Susan Estrich [lady who went up against Kinsley] -- some ineffable quality she possesses that, should it ever become effable, would peel paint off battleships -- that annoys people of all faiths and political creeds." Although, in all honesty, I too dislike how shrill she is, and I think she screwed up the LA Times business when she went after Kinsley personally, including his Parkinson's. Apparently I might as well hop into bed with Sean Hannity now and call it a day.)
But the best part of the magazine -- other than the lengthy article with the fascinating, beautiful, and completely looney toons Angelina (Angie) Jolie -- is the Wolff article about how lame liberal humor is. I feel this way at times myself: how I craved a candidate who could zing Bush's mistakes and play hardball with the big conservative boys! But we're so damn NICE. Ben Bradlee called today's liberal's "little constipated souls," and I think that might be perfect.
So my new goal (on some days when I'm not shrieking about equal rights, of course), is to be a funny liberal. Able to make fun of myself, able to lambast my enemies with good will and rapier wit, etc. I want to be ready for when the Battle of the Blondes takes place and I have to kick Ann Coulter's ass.