100 Days of Trump Day 91: The Colbert Report
Welcome Back to 100 Days of Trump, where we try to explain WTF happened in 2016 in 100 recommendations…lets talk about Fox News. Or specifically, lets talk about the tradition of the Right Wing Pundit, with the Platonic Pundit Bill O’Rielly leaving Fox with 25 million dollars for sexually harassing his staff, I think we should reflect on why these utterly horrible people always seem to get such an audience. Because looking at Bill, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Megan Kelly, Sean Hannity, and of course more obscure people like Alex Jones, they all have these massive egos and so little to justify it. They are comically uninformed about pretty much every topic that comes up to it but pretend they are experts, they are dismissive of any information that contradicts them or challenges their views, they love to simplify every issue that comes before them, they aren’t funny and of course despite beating their chest a great deal, all of them are massive cowards who fold at the first sign of difficulty and the entire lot of them are massive chickenhaws. They are also gigantic hypocrites watch any of their shows long enough and you will massive contradictions in their logic or world view. But this produces two questions
Why are these massive dicks popular?
What Purpose do they serve for the Republican Party?
The former can be especially hard for liberal audiences to understand, after all, a person who really does think they are the best at everything despite constantly being proven wrong is suppose to be a joke character, something we mock, so why are people taking this so seriously? I mean pretty much anything Sean Hannity says is always wrong.
Well to answer that question, we need the most blovated, arrogant, and moronic of them all….Stephen Colbert. Yet again, I think if he was still on air in 2016, the election would have gone differently. Sadly…Comedy Central doesn’t allow any of the good clips on youtube, so please just go and watch the whole series or at least as many episodes as you can, trust me it is worth it.
The Character of Stephen Colbert, not to be confused with the Comedian Stephen Colbert, is a perfect facsimile of all of these Right wing pundits, from the ego to the macho postering, to the fucking inane relationship to language. “I am America and So Can You” isn’t really that different from most of these guy’s terrible books which they pretend are great philosophy.
The point of a pundit is effectively to tell people what to think, and yes, I know that sounds like i’m saying Fox News Viewers are mindless sheep but no, hear me out here. Republicans don’t trust the news or officials, or much of anyone at all, they mostly just trust the loud people to talk plain truth to them. ANd this isn’t uniquely right wing thing, if I hear about something where I am not informed, I tend to go to people who I trust to get their take on it before I believe the mainstream media’s take on something, its that instinct. For the record, I’ve started in the last three years to double check everything people who I trust tell me with other sources, so I suppose my relationship towards media is
The problem is that Fox News Viewers are too distrustful of mainstream sources, and too trusting towards their own, and they are uninformed on basically every subject, which makes them really succepitable to this type of “I speak for you” Robert Ailes, the former head of Fox news who was fired after being given 45 million dollars for sexually assault women (notice a pattern here) use to do a thing where he would take a bank of TVs and watch them all on silent, and pick the one which he found to be the most convincing, even though he couldn’t understand what was going on. Which is why they rely on emotion more than actual argument.
But here is the kicker, a lot of Fox News Watchers might not actually buy the Republican Party line if you gave them some time to think about it. Take a fox new grandpa away from Right wing media for two weeks and talk to him while he is happy and calm, he might be far more willing to engage with you (and no this isn’t about my grandparents, nobody in my family watches Fox thank god). The whole point of the Right Wing Media bubble is to keep everyone scared and angry so they won’t engage. It is also to help deal with doubt. Remember back when the news showed the drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi and for a brief moment the world started to seriously consider not treated refugees like garbage and actually abiding by basic human rights? Well you might have seen a certain meme go around in right wing circles of
“How about we take care of homeless vets before we give a shit about refugees” This originated on Fox, or at least was popularized by it. And the thing about this is…that doesn’t make any fucking sense. Like if you engage with that question even a little bit, you realize how totally full of shit these people are. Firstly, we aren’t helping the homeless in this country in large part because of Republican policies, because they view ensuring that homeless people have their basic needs met as giving a hand out to the poor (because god forbid we actually tax the rich). Secondly…of course we can do both, we are the richest country in history, duh. And of course, if we aren’t going to help the homeless anyways, i’d rather help at least some people than not any people at all. Its a total bullshit argument but it isn’t designed to convince people. It is designed to justify other people’s opposition to a very basic decency. See a lot of Republicans oppose the refugees just out of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and want to mask it, but at lot more actually would like to take in the refugees but hesitate because…well the liberals want that, and we wouldn’t want to agree with them would we? So this little message is a great way for them to believe in something they kinda know is wrong, because opposing the left matters more to them than enforcing their own ideals. I mean its the internet, we have all seen people take a position on something in order to win an argument when you know full well they don’t believe that.
“I Give people the Truth, unfiltered by Rational Argument”
Or to use another example, remember back in the golden days of 2015, people had a very negative view of the electoral college, Donald Trump himself famously called for it to be abolished. But then…Donald Trump won the election despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes and suddenly a lot of Trump supporters started to get edgy. Because most of them know in their hearts that the Electoral Colledge is total bullshit….but they also really want to win. So how do they reconcile that? Well that is where you get that whole “Electoral College Protects the little states” meme on Fox News that we have seen 8 million times. It doesn’t make any actual sense unless you are telling me that Florida is a small state now or Vermont is a big state. But its point isn’t to make sense, its point is to help Republican viewers not have to think critically about their own previously held beliefs, and help them adapt a position they actually disagree with because it is useful to them. They don’t want to engage in an actual argument with facts because well
“Reality has a well known Liberal Bias”
And this isn’t just a right wing thing, they just do it better.
This also helps them work out their internal contradictions, I mean the Republican party isn’t really an ideology, its a bunch of competing contradictory ideologies. After all how can you be against the goverment getting into your personal life and then want it to outlaw abortion and gay marriage? How can you want to balance the budget but increase military spending while reducing taxation for the wealthy? How can you oppose Assad or ISIS while hating the very people they are killing? That is the poitn of the pundit, to explain away these contradiction and tell their audience “shhhh, its ok, you don’t have to think
And of course, this isn’t exclusive to fox news, we see this sort of rationalization on the internet
Thanks to @randomshoes for this amazing image.
It is really telling that the crazy batshit response to Feminist Frequency came not in response to any videos she produced, but in response to a kickstarter video where she said she was going to produce a series, before she actually said anything (sounds familiar?) Because they didn’t want to engage in any arguments, they wanted an excuse to not have the discussion at all, and when the strategy of “Scream incoherent rape and death threats en mass” didn’t work, they start saying “She is a con women” “She hasn’t played games” “She is trying to censor Games” all of which can be extremely easily disproven but they aren’t actual arguments, they are excuses not to have an argument in the first place. The Irony is that there are a lot of reasonable criticism you can have of Anita Sarkeesians, I have a list of them myself, but in order to make those, you need to engage in what she is saying rather than what Thunderf00t or Sargon of Akkad are telling you that they are saying. I mean, Gamergate as a movement started to really fall apart after this clip here
It is worth noting when I searched this video on youtube series, I found two videos by Thunderf00t on rebutting it, one called “Stephen Colbert losses his balls, because a lot of Gaters really liked Stephen Colbert, and when faced with “Engage with the argument” and “Let the exact type of people who Colbert is mocking tell them what to think they….well you know what happened.
Also because I mentioned Anita, I am going to get so much more shit for this post than I have for the much more critical posts I made on works they haven’t actually seen.
Pundits tell people what to think but more importantly tell them what not to think about, they don’t so much say ‘mindlessly listen to what i have to say” as they go “this argument isn’t worth enaging with, and if you think about it remotely critical, you are giving the abstract imaginary enemy of “The left” a victory, but in mindlessly regurgitating my propaganda points, you can score a victory against them”. And that is what Colbert perfectly embodies.
plus he is fucking funny.
Also I heard that some people haven’t seen this so….fucking watch this even if you watch nothing else by this man