Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dennis Miller is an idiot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Not a dangerous idiot -- he's too irrelevant and pointless to be dangerous -- just a plain old idiot.

I saw him do a show in Boston, oh, 15 years ago or something -- was it that long ago that I was in college? -- and he was pretty funny. That was back during his Perot days. You know, when he was an independent-minded comedian-commentator, the fuck-all SNL anchor. But 9/11 and whatever other forces drive his mania turned him into a right-wing shill, and he's been unfunny ever since (failed MNF experiment included). Gone is the aggressive, unabashed, in-your-face libertarianism. Gone is the independence. It's now ranting and raving of a decidedly partisan nature -- and the ranters and ravers on the right love him for it.

Consider his verbal assault -- yes, an assault, for it was neither delightful comedy nor insightful commentary -- on Harry Reid, the senatorial leader of the despised Democrats. You can watch it here -- "Random Thoughts" on Fox News, as if that should come as any surprise -- and Steve Benen discusses it here. It's such a repugnant ad hominem attack, one that focuses not on ideas, let alone in a serious (or funny) way, but on the man himself: on his appearance, on his voice, his relevance (how does Reid not "matter"?).

Steve "found over 400 conservative blogs praising the attack, characterizing it as the most devastating take-down in political monologue history". Once again: as if that should come as any surprise. The right loves this sort of thing. When all else fails -- and hasn't it all failed? -- there is nothing left for them but to strike out at their opponents in just this sort of way, and worse. Miller gets his unfunny segment on an unfunny show -- a segment, thankfully, and no longer an embarrassing show of his own -- but he is one among many, and many who are far more relevant and influential than he. The right doesn't just love this sort of thing, it can't get enough of it. Hence Rush et al. Hence anything and everything on Fox News.

We have Stewart and Colbert, two brilliant satirists, they have Miller. Yeah, I'd say we win that one.

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