Just Kidding 

(Translation: I'm not kidding)

You've heard the curious item about Stephen Colbert and the conservatives. Yes, of course you have. I can always trust that my readers are the most up-to-snuff illuminati living within the reach of Boise Weekly. I accept the likelihood that, by now, I am left with little but other liberals for an audience, and that as fellow travelers, you are certainly my equals if not my superiors in staying abreast of the latest developments. So there is no question in my mind that you have already heard of the curious item about Stephen Colbert and the conservatives.

But I may not presuppose there are no conservatives reading these words along with you. I can think of several reasons one or more of Cheney's Children might have, at this moment, a copy of BW in his hands. He might be looking for a hot date, for instance, and he knows there are phone numbers galore listed among our classifieds that would put him in touch with easy companionship. Or he may have thought he'd snatched a Thrifty Nickel off the rack. Nor am I ignoring entirely the possibility that he is actually seeking out news.

I also have to consider the possibility that this person (or persons) has decided--as long as he was in the neighborhood--to drop in on what I have to say this day. Therefore, if I am going to mention the curious item about Stephen Colbert and the conservatives, it is only polite that I explain to our hypothetical conservative friend (friends) what that item is and why it is so curious. The item concerns a survey conducted recently that asked people if they considered Stephen Colbert a liberal or a conservative. And it is curious because--in spite of Colbert having a television show on which he regularly lampoons every facet of the conservative attitude--the survey indicated that conservatives still think he is one of them.

We liberals know that Colbert has made a career of pretending to be a staunch conservative and has used that persona to expose how shallow and insane most conservative positions are. Given that his modus operandi for producing humor is largely to slather on irony so thick you can hardly see the real person through the coating, I suppose it is possible that conservatives have come to think of him as a double agent--that he really is a conservative, pretending to be a liberal who's pretending to be a conservative, all so that he might say without any fear of censure all those shallow and insane things conservatives always seem to be thinking.

I prefer a more direct explanation, an Occam's Razor explanation, which would pare away all that which can't be demonstrated, leading us to the simplest conclusion. Which is, conservatives believe Stephen Colbert to be a conservative for the same reason they themselves are conservative--that reason being: the fewer of life's nuances they understand, the more content they are.

Another faith I have in my liberal readers is their ability to tell whether I'm kidding or not. I had always assumed conservative readers would have the same capacity. But in light of what the Colbert survey has revealed, I can no longer regard that as a foregone conclusion. It's entirely possible I have wasted the last 15 years, poking fun at Republicans, without them having any idea they were the butt of my poking.

Therefore, I am going to conduct a modest experiment to determine the comprehension levels of any conservatives who might be reading this. As a method, I will expand upon one of the more shallow and insane issues that has recently taken hold of the collective right-wing attention--this one sucked to the surface by Sean Hannity. In my demonstration, I will write something in an insincere, sarcastic manner, then I will translate that insincerity, clearly, in parentheses, for those who took me seriously. Let the experiment begin.

• "Can you believe this? Obama puts poupon mustard on his cheeseburgers instead of catsup! How abnormal is that? It just goes to show how out of touch this guy is with America's heartland." (Translation: I could not be more insincere about how outraged I am by Obama choosing poupon mustard. Liberals would understand this immediately, but for conservative readers, the purpose of pretending I am outraged was to demonstrate how silly and stupid one must be to actually feel outrage at the selection of one condiment over another on a cheeseburger.)

• "I'd bet when this guy goes to those fancy restaurants with his wife, he asks for arugula. Arugula! What kind of man eats arugula? Try ordering arugula in Oklahoma and see where it gets you! Hah hah!" (Translation: more insincerity, designed to show how foolish right-wingers make themselves when they portray others as elitists for their choice of salad greens. I also meant to imply that this foolishness extends far beyond their hysteria over a taste for unusual edibles.)

• "You know, I'm surprised this guy even ordered a cheeseburger. I figure him for a chicken man. Know what I mean?... one of those 'chicken breast with sea salt and lemon basil' sissies. I doubt if this so-called 'president' of ours has had a T-bone in years. Probably goes 'eeeyyyyewwww!' when he sees a slab of prime rib, right? And this is the guy who's supposed to win the war in Afghanistan? Yeah, give me a break!" (Translation: lots and lots of insincerity, meant to ridicule those who sound like Stephen Colbert, only without any hint of how ridiculous they sound.)

• "Tell you what, I don't expect the good folks who make pork rinds and Coors are going to get any money off the Obama family, do you? Somebody ought to be checking the White House garbage for empty wine bottles and brie crumbs. And ask yourself, what would that say to struggling Americans when they find out their president is getting his booze from France and his cheese from ... well, from wherever the hell brie comes from? Right? Think about it." (Translation: as much insincerity as I can pile on, referring to the anathema of wine-and-brie that conservatives have been smearing their foes with for decades, all for the purpose of showing how shallow and insane conservatives have been for decades.)

OK, experiment's over. How'd you do, conservatives? Did you get it straight up? Or did you have to read the translations to fathom what I was really saying? Let me know. If I think there are enough of you who miss the boat on a regular basis, I may have to start inserting translations into every column, so's you'll be sure to get the joke.

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