micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Monday, August 18, 2003
Comedic bias

Via Greg Beato, I've come across The Right Stuff, a site promoting shows in southern California by conservative comedians that are said to produce "Comedy for Real Americans." They have a press release that says:

Look out, Bill Maher! Step aside, Janeane Garofalo! Run for cover, Michael Moore!

In the same vein of comedian Dennis Miller, politically conservative stand-up comics are finally coming out of the closet! No, they’re not gay — and it wouldn’t matter if they were — but they are sick and tired of having to hide their political beliefs and feelings just to fit in the liberal world of showbiz.

No more shame, no more fear: Conservative comedians are here!!

Valleyheart Productions is proud to present the premiere engagements of THE RIGHT STUFF—COMEDY FOR REAL AMERICANS, featuring comedians with a conservative political bent — yes, they really DO exist! What sets these comedy shows apart is their POLITICALLY CONSERVATIVE COMEDIANS, SUBJECT MATTER, and JOKES!

The show’s comics tap into the views and values of the many Americans who have made talk radio and cable news programs so successful — views that are seldom given equal time in the mainstream liberal media and pop culture. This provocative, wickedly funny show pokes fun at the hard left and political correctness, making for a hilarious evening of humorous venting at liberal “conventional wisdom” and the elite media establishment.

While I think it is long past time to consider "talk radio and cable news programs" to be "mainstream" because of their popularity and influence, it is worth noting that lefty comics feel their voices are left out of the mainstream of comedy. The Guardian piece on comic Dwight Slade that I noted on Saturday includes the following grafs:
Slade is aware that in Edinburgh he will play to audiences who, attracted by [Bill] Hicks's criticisms of the US, know his work more intimately than their American counterparts. Hicks was shunned by the US mainstream, and censored, famously, by The David Letterman Show.

These days, says Slade, "It's even worse. I did shows in Canada recently, and in Canada you can be virulently anti-American and people are happy to listen. But if you do the exact same material only 40 miles south, you'll get threats of physical violence."

But he is optimistic that Hicks's legacy flourishes, away from the mainstream's gaze. "His absence is keenly felt," says Slade. "But there are a lot of voices out there that Bill would be proud of - even if you'll never hear of them, because they're not marketable or mainstream."

Janeane Garofalo made a similar point in an interview with Elizabeth DiNovella that appeared in the May issue of The Progressive
Q: What's your opinion of political comedy these days?

Garofalo: I think it's fantastic.

Q: Where do you look for it? Where do you go?

Garofalo: The Lower East Side is fantastic. Austin, Texas. Boston. There's great comedy going on in L.A., but not in the comedy clubs per se. Russell Simmons and Def Poetry Jam are fantastic. The Daily Show and The Onion are doing great political comedy.

Both propositions could be true either because the mainstream of comedy doesn't particularly like comedians who are overtly coming from the left or the right and/or because expressing rightist views is a hindrance in some situations while expressing leftist views has the same effect in others. (There may indeed be restrictions on the topics that the comedians of The Right Stuff can pursue when they are on t.v. but those restrictions are certainly faced by lefty comics as well.)

The closet joke in The Right Stuff press release is humorous not because it is funny on the level the authors intended it to be but because in many ways their statement that "it wouldn't matter if they were" gay firmly places them in what I suppose could be called the socially liberal category, a placement that may be the only "political" prerequisite for making it in mainstream comedy as Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn makes clear four nights a week. (Anti-gay humor is nothing exceptional but it can't be done from a perspective of morality if a comic is to be mainstream.) If anything I would say there is more liberal comedy on the major television shows than rightist humor, but certainly more rightist material than leftist material and significantly more pro-"war on terror" humor than anti-"war on terror" humor.

None of this is to say that The Right Stuff is a bad idea. I certainly don't want censorship and if people who support the "war on terror" and other conservative ideas find that their need for humor isn't satiated by U.S. Information Minister George W. Bush, I won't prevent them from entering a comedy club in a part of the U.S. I don't live in.