Lewis Black is among my favorite comedians. Most likely because his commentary suggests that his politics are similar to my own. Or at least his commentary frequently sounds an awful lot like the thoughts in my own head on most any given subject.
Take his take down of those who opposed gay marriage during the Bush administration. His central thesis was “who is it going to harm?”, while riffing on the so-called “gay agenda” that the woo-woo faction had been from hiding under the covers. Here’s his routine:
“We’ve got an educational system that’s in the shitter, we’ve got a war going on, there’s one thing after another and what did out President (Bush 2) think was important?
“That’s whats important! And somehow, if we can keep the gays from getting married, everything else would turn out just fine!
“Everything would change! There’d be solar energy. The Sunnis and Shiites would lay down their arms. ‘He stopped the queers! I love you too!’
“I believe the reason it is difficult for the gay community to be integrated into society at large the way they should be, is because there are no champions for them in Congress or the White House. And that is the way that every group of people has basically been integrated into the society. That’s the way it works.
“Instead, you have people like Rick Santorum, a Senator from Pennsylvania, who says things that he should think, and then shut his fucking mouth. You can go ahead and think it, that’s fine, but you don’t say aloud that homosexuality is a threat to the American family because that’s prejudice. That’s complete and utter prejudice and ignorance on a level that is staggering at this point in time.
“It’s very similar to the prejudice that the Jews faced when it was thought that during the first night of Passover, that they’d go into the Christian community and kidnap the first born of Christian families and kill it. And that, for those of you who don’t realize, is bullshit. We would kidnap the child and make them work for us, and that’s a big difference.
“Homosexuality is a threat to the American family? Are you kidding me? How? No one ever explains it. How? It’s not like there’s a Jehovah’s Witnesses of gaydom. ‘Hi! We’re here and we’re queer! We’re here and we’re queer! I brought swatches, I brought swatches!’
“But maybe I’m wrong! Maybe there are a group of gay bandidos who get into a van every day and wander from village to dell, and, as night begins to fall, they go back into a suburban neighborhood, to that cul-de-sac where only one house stands. And in the window, the young american family, just sitting down for their first meal.
“And these queers, these queers, don their black cloaks and hoods and matching pumps, very tasteful, and they charcoal up their faces and they sneak up to that house and open the door and start fucking each other in the ass!
“…and another American family is destroyed!”
Of course a textual account does not convey Lewis’ emotion nor detail his physical expression of these comments (you can see this bit here), but I think it does illustrate how taking a political argument to extremes can sometimes highlight the absurdity of that argument.
That is, if you bother to actually think about that absurdist argument and all that it implies.
Here’s another one of his bits, this time on the subject of religiously based logic:
“I should have known earlier about President Bush, but I gave his some rope, a lot of rope…and then he hung all of us with it.
“I should have known it when I heard him say ‘when it comes to evolution, the jury is still out.
“What jury, where?
“The Scopes trial is over.
“I never thought that during the course of my life, a President would be elected who didn’t believe in evolution, or at least kind of in the ballpark, thought maybe its got some merit!
“But no! He believes that the Earth was created in seven days.
“Whoo! Takes my breath away.
“And why does he believe that? Because he read it in the Old Testament, which is the book of my people, the Jewish people.
“And that book wasn’t good enough for you Christians…
“;We’ve got a better book with a better character! You’re going to love him!
“And you called your book new and said ours was old.
“And yet every Sunday, I turn on the television set and there’s a priest or a pastor, reading from my book. And interpreting it. And their interpretations, I have to tell you, are usually wrong.
“It’s not their fault, because it’s not their book.
“You never see a rabbi on TV interpreting the New Testament, do you?
“If you want to truly understand the Old Testament, if there’s something you don’t quite get, there are Jews who walk among you, and they – I promise you this – will take time out of their very Jewy, Jewy day and interpret for you anything you’re having trouble understanding. And we will do that if, of course, the price is right.
“Was the Earth created in seven days?
“For those of you who believe it was, for you Christians, let me tell you, that you do not understand the Jewish people. We Jews understand that it did not take place in seven days and that’s because we understand what we’re good at. And what we’re really good at is bullshit.
“This was a wonderful story that was told to people in the desert to distract them from the fact that they did not have air conditioning.
“I would love to have the faith to believe that it took place in seven days, but…I have thoughts.
“But that can really fuck up the faith thing, just ask any Catholic priest.
“And then there are fossils. Whenever anybody tries to tell me that they believe it took place in seven days, I reach for a fossil and go ‘Fossil’, and if they keep talking, I throw it just over their head.
“There are people who believe that dinosaurs and men lived together. That they roamed the Earth at the same time. There are museums that children go to in which they build dioramas to show them this. What this is, plain and simply, is a clinical psychotic reaction. They are crazy. They are stone, cold, fuck nuts!
“I can’t be kind about this. Because these people are watching the Flinstones as if it were a documentary.” (here)
It’s kind of staggering to realize how much these arguments could be talking about the – I’ll use the word ‘debate’ advisedly – regarding fandom and the alt-right attack it has been undergoing since, what, 2013?
(Side note: I’m not referring to them as “puppies” anymore because it has become quite clear that fandom’s attackers are not just a group of disaffected fans and authors. They are, in fact, the alt-right faction that has chosen to focus on Fandom, like other factions focus on a town, or a politician, a university or politician. The tactics are the same, the rhetoric is the same, the attitudes and narcissistic personalities are the same.)
Try substituting a few words here and there in Black’s monologue to see what I mean:
“I never thought that during the course of my life, a fan would say they didn’t believe in the Hugo Awards, or at least kind of in the ballpark, thought maybe its had some merit!
“But no! They believe that the Hugo Awards are controlled by a cabal.
“Whoo! Takes my breath away.
“And why do they believe that? Because they read it on a blog.
“;We’ve got a better Award with better voting! You’re going to love it!
“And you called your award new and said ours was old.
“And yet every day, I turn on the computer and there’s fan or a writer, attacking my fandom. And interpreting it. And their interpretations, I have to tell you, are usually wrong.
“It’s not their fault, because it’s not their fandom.
“You never read a Trufan on the PC interpreting their fandom, do you?
“If you want to truly understand our fandom, if there’s something you don’t quite get, there are fans who walk among you, and they – I promise you this – will take time out of their very fannish, fannish day and interpret for you anything you’re having trouble understanding. And we will do that if, of course, if you will only listen.
“Is there a cabal?
As a current member of Worldcon 76, I fully approve of the committee’s decision to ban the author “JDA” from attending the convention. I will caution the committee that the absence of the author’s physical presence is no guarantee that he will not be able to cause disruption to the event; it has already been demonstrated that he has “followers” who are more than willing to take action at his behest. Unless and until they reveal themselves, little can be done to prevent them from attending also. Worldcon 76 appears to have its act together. I hope this extends to being ready and able to remove anyone from the convention should it be necessary to do so.
Further, as an affiliate member of SFWA, I urge the membership committee to deny membership to JDA in that organization. His own words have clearly demonstrated that he does not see any value in the organization and his only stated reasons for joining are to cause disruption. His attacks on various individuals associated with that organization are more than enough evidence of his intentions.
Neither organization is a “public” one and neither is under any obligation to admit individuals who’s concept of “joining” is to bully and threaten first and then demand membership.