These days the genre has become the weapon of choice for comics who are determined to punish anyone who questions or contradicts the progressive ideology. It's called snark. Sadly, their assaults have all but destroyed civil discourse in politics. Sure, snark is thrown from every side in politics - left, right, and center - but the preponderance seems to come from the left where so many pseudo-intellectuals have come to roost in the entertainment community.
I pine for another time when satirists pointed their barbs at the rich, the famous, and the powerful regardless of their ideology or politics. Anyone in the ascendancy knew that they would be targets as soon as they rose above their opponents. They took it like gentlepersons or were swept away in a tidal wave of laughter.
Last week I spoke of Will Rogers. He was a Democrat. It didn't matter. He pointed his barbs at any politician who "got too big for his britches." That seems to be the folly of members of every party once they get elected.
Satire wasn't reserved for personal attacks. Any group or cause that dominated the political landscape could feel its sting. One master of the craft was Tom Lehrer, a lecturer in mathematics at Harvard, who could play the piano and compose merry minuets of mayhem. Take for example this lampoon that he aimed at the folk song army that had risen in popularity during the late 1950s.
More importantly, his song strikes out against the hubris that assures progressives that they are, in the words of Thomas Sowell, author of Intellectuals and Society, “on the side of angels,” and that anyone who opposes them obviously “doesn't care” about the things they care about like “peace, justice, and brotherhood.”
I was reminded of this the other day when a “friend” posted the following image on FaceBook.
Does this mean that I don't care about “peace, justice, and brotherhood?” You may think so. She thinks I'm a Neanderthal. The truth is that I simply believe that progressive methods of attaining these things are counterproductive. Unfortunately, progressives ignore the lessons of history. Just as Harold McMillan appeased Herr Hitler to promote “peace in our time” thereby encouraging the Germans to enslave and massacre millions, today's progressives bow and scrape before the sponsors of terrorism attempting to appease them with similar results.
Meanwhile, comics and comedians who should be helping us see the folly of these efforts, are insulting those who oppose them. They depict opponents of the progressive ideology as racists, xenophobes, and (gasp!) right-wingers, and fabricate evidence proving their assertions. They are, in effect, propagandists for progressivism.
The only ones laughing are the progressives themselves.