It’s a Big Club, and Most of Us Are In It

Jon Boguth

Jon Boguth

Jon Boguth is an attorney in Troy, Michigan, and is the Chairman of the Center for Economic Accountability. You should follow him on Twitter (@jonboguth).

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50 Responses

  1. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Not sure whether Carlin was talking about billionaires, or Jews. I have a lot of trouble telling the difference between leftists and antisemites.Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    It’s actually not new for Carlin to roll on this kind of rant. He’s been doing it his whole career, pretty much. We just remember the funny-words bits because they were actually funny, not just “peer-pressure laugh” funny.Report

  3. What you’re saying about late Carlin is often how I feel about late night talk show hosts these days. They make things that sound like jokes, but they aren’t actually funny. They’re political rants with the cadence of jokes. They get sited by Vox and HuffPo as “Watch Samantha Bee DESTROY Pro-Life Activists”. But they seem to be more like rousting up a mob than generating laughter. John Stuart knew how to do find the balance; Oliver does sometimes. But more often than not I turn them off. And I remember they razzed Seth Myers because he wouldn’t go all political.Report

  4. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    The idea that there is a secretive group of elites who run things is of course mock-worthy.

    Well of course there is a group of wealthy people who do make the decisions that affect all of us, sure.
    Groups like ALEC, who gather together with jurists to write templates for states and municipalities to enact, yeah, thats just history.
    And groups like the Federalist Society, which operates a system of networking and influence peddling connections across law schools across the country.
    And the banking lobby which ordered the Senate to pass a tax cut or else face a cutoff of funds.

    And to be sure, entrance into this group is managed by a process of courtiership and networking within elite universities and corporations, nobody’s denying that.

    And yes, none of this really has anything to do with merit of hard work- that is just obvious!

    But still, the idea that they all gather together in secret is just silly.

    I mean, heck, they brag about their influence and power!Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I recall watching a Whoopi Goldbeg concert from about the same time and thinking “She’s not doing comedy: she’s preaching.” And she wasn’t getting laughs; she was getting “applause” and “right on!”

    Both of them were funny people capable of doing real comedy, of course, unlike. say, Dennis Miller. And Carlin is so brilliant with language you can appreciate that no matter what he’s talking about.

    Also, the ability to appreciate humor at one’s own side’s expense seem to be rare.

    And last, the pie is fixed in the short term, and the horrific deficits we’re running right now really do mean less for everyone who didn’t make out like a bandit from the tax cuts.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I think Preaching is a good term for much of this; I also feel that it is countered by Witnessing, such as what Henry Rollings does.

      The difference between those people and comedians is the later is skilled enough to make you laugh. Neither Goldberg nor Miller has that skill anymore.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Contrasting very early George Carlin with what George Carlin is remembered for is very interesting. During the the 1950s and early 1960s, George Carlin was a fairly conservative night club comedian. He wore a suit, he was clean shaving, and his hair was short. Sometime during the Counter Culture he realized he could either be his real true self and still make a living or decided to roll with changing times and tastes. He ditched the suit for something more Bohemain looking as a stage costume, he grew his hair long, and grew a beard. Carlin started telling subversive and political jokes. I’d be interested if this was always the real true George Carlin or whether he became his stage persona.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Schilling says:

    But you know what’s really not funny? Conservative “humor”.

    4.3/10 on Imdb.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Michael Schilling says:

      Look up Bill Burr some time.

      I like Greg Gutfeld, who isn’t actually a comedian, but does humorous commentary on Fox News. He’s an acquired taste. His old show “Red Eye” introduced me to Gavin McIinnes and Tom Shillue, both of whom have done stand-up. Then there’s the whole “shock jock”-ish crowd, Anthony Cumia, Adam Corolla, et cetera. They tend to run libertarian.

      Parker and Stone are both on the conservative side of libertarian, and have been successful with explicitly political stuff.

      I used to like Owen Benjamin; there are still some good bits of his on YouTube, but he’s gone down this ugly conspiracy path lately. Steven Crowder can be childishly funny, but I prefer his more serious stuff. And if you don’t mind going a little bit older, there’s Drew Carey and Norm MacDonald,Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    This was interesting. I wasn’t sure where you were going with it, which is a bit refreshing these days.

    I think Adams whole ‘Trump and the art of persuasion’ schtick is one of the biggest post-hoc fallacies, but I have thought for a while that Trump does have a ‘stand-up comedian’ style when he goes into his stream of consciousness off the cuff ramblings, which are were a big feature of his presidential campaign and his current rallies. (I thought I made a comment here a few years ago to that effect, but can’t find it.)

    In that, it’s not ha ha funny, but the ramblings do have connective tissue from one thought to another, like any good stand up act is able to do. And so it can be entertaining. (and was, until the punchline in November 2016)

    A podcast I listen to that discusses Saturday Night Live will refer to this phenomenon as ‘clap-ter’. You’re just setting up a positive audience reaction instead of an actual laugh line.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:

      It is often like Trump is doing a stand-up act on the theme of “That Trump, what a character – and so is everyone else!” while he is standing up there… actually being Trump.Report

  9. If I were writing my own post and not commenting on yours, my argument would be, “maybe many of us are actually the owners/the elite/the ones in power.” I probably wouldn’t say “most of us,” but I do suspect that some of us who complain about “those in control” actually have ourselves a lot of control/power over others.

    Note my hedge word “some.” I actually can speak only for myself and perhaps a few people I know who complain but have very comfortable, even commanding, circumstances that belie their (usually implicit) claim that they’re not one of the few who own/control.Report

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