Archive - Oct 3, 2007

To Suck Out New Life From Old Comedizations

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Memo to the National Review: JUDGMENT IS NIGH.

Hear ye, hear ye. Comedy Court is back in session. As you may recall, we're spending this week discussing the National Review Online's "Star Trek Weekend", an entire slew of Star Trek-themed columns by conservative political columnists. Which really makes me wish I had broader jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, believe you me. Luckily, in their fervor to fill an ENTIRE WEEKEND with Trek-themed writing, they committed a serious crime against Sweet Mother Comedy.

THE DEFENDANT: An unnamed writer or writers going by the pseudonym "The Elders Of NRO". Which means it was probably an intern fresh out of Liberty University who watched a week of Next Gen reruns in preparation for his big break.

THE JOKE: Satire, transposing current political people and tropes into a themed setting.

THE CHARGE: Unprecedented lameness, far in excess of limits laid down by Comedy Law.

THE DEFENSE: None presented.

THE VERDICT: Guilty as sin.

The Court finds that Exhibit A, the "Pelosians" joke, is so goddamned unfunny that you could tell it to a room full of neocon hyenas doped to the neocon-hyena-gills on nitrous oxide, and it still wouldn't get a laugh. We present it here for the record:

"Nancy IX, the current chair of the United Federation of Planets is a decent sort, but clearly out of her depth. Like all Pelosians, she lets her passions crowd out sound judgment. One needn’t be a Vulcan to grasp that logic does not hold much sway on Pelosi Prime... the Pelosians have developed an entire civilization based on a once obscure bit of political doggerel, 'It Takes a Village,'"

The court asks that the chirping of crickets, and the lone drunken voice shouting "YOU SUCK!", be entered into the record. I mean, seriously. Pelosians? You know, like she's not even human, but some kind of weird alien from a planet of liberals? That's your opener, Elders of the NRO? That's where you go to really hammer home your "National Review in the Federation" premise? Before you answer, remember how fast the "Half Hour News Hour" got cancelled. And do not, under any circumstances, quit your day jobs.

And if that weren't bad enough, this court cannot ignore NRO's blatant attempt to dress up a turd in a tuxedo and call it James Bond. Or, specifically, taking "We saved your butts in WW2" jingoism and making it sound like, if not political analysis, as much like political analysis as you can manage while slamming Jean-Luc Picard for being a French dude with an English accent and thus embodying the dreaded Old Europe.

"Ambassador Picard’s conviction that the 'European Hegemony' was a lasting model for intergalactic peace has led us into one calamity after another (for this analysis always leaves out of the equation the Pax Americana which made the European Hegemony possible)." Yes, yes, my erudite redneck. Now what have you done for them LATELY.

No conservative comedy checklist would be complete without the gratuitous shot at anyone who doesn't bomb first and bomb the questioners later. "Picard’s proposal, directly inspired by Christopher’s writings, to mandate that all phasers be limited to “light stun” deprived federation security officers from using deadly force and as a result untold millions died and billions more were sentenced to permanent slavery to the Borg collective." The "Christopher", by the way, is Warren Christoper, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of State.

Yes, you understand that correctly. The National Review used a bad Star Trek metaphor to make fun of Madeline Albright's lesser-known predecessor. It's a good thing I don't have the cosmic power to obliterate them after my summary judgment, because they would be, to use a strictly legal term, fucking hosed.

You would think, given the incredibly low degree of difficulty of their attempt at comedy, that they'd at least be able to keep their lame-ass premises straight throughout. But even this simple consistency is beyond them:

"Now the Picardians and Pelosians have become natural allies and would-be quislings in the burgeoning showdown with the Romulans."

OK, tribble-humper. The Romulans are a species. Your own weak joke from the start depicted the Pelosians as, if not a species, at least the occupants of a planet, "Pelosi Prime". So what the fuck is a "Picardian"? If it's not a species, then we have a clear violation of the Comedy Rule of Three, which as we all know is a capital offense. And since Picard ain't a planet, GET IN THE CHAIR. Think of it as a deterrent for future unfunny idiots.

As horrifying as this may seem, this court is forced to come to the conclusion that James Lileks is the funniest person writing for National Review Online, and that the rest of the staff are hereby prohibited from even maintaining the delusion that they're witty at cocktail parties. I urge you all to send this column to your senators and representatives, so that they're compelled to strengthen existing comedy laws and keep travesties like this from happening again.