I laughed till I cried …

by Chris Bertram on June 15, 2006

A link to Harry Hutton , who writes one of the funniest sites on the interwebs, and has been hilariously misidentified by Daily Kos as a Republican eliminationist stormtrooper. (Daily Kos also has Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies down as a follower of Ann Coulter!)

{ 3 trackbacks }

MobiusTesseract » Schism Part 5: The Blind Strike Back
06.15.06 at 11:21 pm
Crooked Timber » » Sanchez on humour
06.16.06 at 9:59 am
CMoore.com » Who’s the assclown, now, D-Day?
06.16.06 at 7:08 pm

{ 87 comments }

1

abb1 06.15.06 at 5:17 am

Humorless earnestness may be occasionally annoying, but I prefer it to try-hard cynicism.

Nah. Try-hard cynicism may be occasionally annoying. Humorless earnestness is pompous and boring.

2

Jimmy Doyle 06.15.06 at 5:32 am

The comments to the original Harry post are also amusing, especially once the Kos-ites start piling in. Harry responds with some typically opaque babbling about how he ripped off his prose style from “Sir Jeremy Clarkson.”

3

Kevin Donoghue 06.15.06 at 5:53 am

Well, Harry isn’t helping matters by describing d-squared as English and a writer for the Guardian. Still, anything that adds to the confusion is good.

4

Cian 06.15.06 at 7:30 am

Eh? DD is from Wales, that makes him English right…

5

Cryptic Ned 06.15.06 at 7:56 am

Eh? DD is from Wales, that makes him English right…

No, being from England would make him English. Being from Wales makes him Welsh.

Similarly, being from Scotland would make him Scottish, or possibly Scots.

And being from Ireland would make him Irish.

6

RickD 06.15.06 at 8:13 am

I’m not quite seeing any humor here. Let’s see…

First a Kossite posts a story about how a car crashed into his home while he was at Yearly Kos.

Harry writes a post making fun of this guy. (Curious choice of humor, but whatever.) dsquared makes a comment in that post that smacks of right-wing hostility:

“2. That Daily Kos type is gonna feel pretty fucking stupid when the guy who missed him first time comes back for the second attempt.”

And so somebody misidentifies him as a right-winger. Ha ha! Somebody acting like an asshole was mistaken for actually being an asshole. Ha ha! But I guess because he’s Welsh and writing for the Guardian means he’s above criticism?

Satire can be a tricky thing sometimes.

Perhaps the initial decision to make fun of somebody who had a car drive into his house wasn’t the best way to go if looking for humor.

7

Barry 06.15.06 at 8:23 am

But isn’t that all England? (says the American)

8

Cian O'Connor 06.15.06 at 8:26 am

“And being from Ireland would make him Irish.”

That’s just crazy talk. Next you’ll be saying that Normandy is part of France, which is just wrong.

9

Captain Wacky 06.15.06 at 8:45 am

For Christ’s sake Rick D, he suffered a small amount of damage to his house. Nobody got hurt, much less killed. To say that it’s in poor taste to joke about this is beyond stupid.

10

Cian O'Connor 06.15.06 at 8:59 am

“I make jokes continually, so I’m pretty up on my joke construction.”
Indeed.

11

Adam Kotsko 06.15.06 at 9:00 am

This was a helpful exercise, as far as reminding me why I don’t read the comments at Daily Kos or at any other “big” liberal blog.

12

Chris Williams 06.15.06 at 9:11 am

That sense-of-humour failure reminds me of the one that the US right came out with recently against Charlie Brooker’s marvellous call to shoot GWB (and, to be fair, the entire human race). Is it that them thick Yanks just don’t get it, or is it something about the lack of available context on blogs? If all you ever read online is political hate-sites, then everything you see will be interpreted in the context of a hate-site. Rather than the work of the world’s #1 comedy genius.

This “Never mind what else it says, is it for us or against us?” question isn’t just one that only afflicts the US blogosphere, of course. It’s the main reason why 95% of arts criticism in UK Trotskysist publications is crap, to name but one example.

On the other other hand, anyone who decides that Hutton is an eliminationist Bushite without bothering even to spend 15 minutes checking out the rest of his output is probably some kind of liberal kneejerk eedjit.

13

Miracle Max 06.15.06 at 9:25 am

Give one million Kossites one million keyboards and eventually they will retype the entirety of Das Kapital.

14

Sharon 06.15.06 at 9:31 am

And in the midst of all the self-righteousness, we get the commenter with the apparently unironic byline: “…People voting Republican, Give them a boot to the head!” What was that about ‘eliminationist language’ again?

15

Cryptic Ned 06.15.06 at 9:43 am

I wouldn’t call that byline “unironic”, I think it’s a reference to an old novelty song.

16

Barry Freed 06.15.06 at 9:53 am

Humorless earnestness is pompous and boring.

True, that; I find there is nothing to do with the earnest but send them on a very long errand.

17

Delicious Pundit 06.15.06 at 9:54 am

And Matt Stoller, straining with the exertion of living up to his stereotype, thinks that Jon Stewart has turned into a fucking hack:

http://mydd.com/story/2006/6/14/75428/0639

18

Adam Kotsko 06.15.06 at 10:24 am

Miracle Max, English or German? Given the way that American keyboards are set up, getting the full text of the latter is highly improbable — they’d have to input the ASCII codes for the umlauted letters, and the odds of getting a sufficient volume of them are virtually nonexistent. Of course, you didn’t give a specific timeframe, so you could just say that producing the German text would take longer than the English — and are you saying all three volumes here? Any particular edition or translation? All of them?

19

Christmas 06.15.06 at 10:56 am

17: To be frank, Delicious, I had much the same thought when I saw that bit on the Daily Show. Either Stewart is genuinely ignorant of the facts on Guantanamo, or he took the easiest, least-offensive line because he got scared of the subject (“they’re foreigners, the military calls them enemy combatants, some portion of them actually are terrorists, so I’d better ditch satire and go with the cheapest laugh possible”). Generally on topics like terrorists and Iran, Colbert has been a lot sharper, while Stewart has been prone to make a lot more “what’s with these ka-razy Muslims!” jokes.

20

Cian O'Connor 06.15.06 at 11:16 am

Stewart tends to take a very pro-Israel line I’ve noticed, so maybe that explains the Muslim thing?

21

rm 06.15.06 at 11:27 am

Be fair, now (cries the humorless, earnest American). This illustrates the importance of

*distance*
in making dark events funny. “That joke isn’t funny anymore; it’s too close to home and it’s too near the bone.” Self-mocking satire or earnest sentiment?

To the Kos folks, this event seemed like no joking matter, as it would seem to you if a car pinned your child’s crib to the wall, or if that happened to someone close. But to H-squared and D-squared, it was happening Far Away to Earnest Americans, and the target wasn’t the car crash, but the Seriousness with which they Take Themselves. An illustration of that seriousness is that the thread self-corrected, but the participants still found it in bad taste. As do I.

But then all British humour is brutal and unfunny. What is wrong with all You People anyway? I mean that.

22

abb1 06.15.06 at 12:26 pm

the target wasn’t the car crash, but the Seriousness with which they Take Themselves

I though the target was the clumsy and absurd attempt at ass-kissing.

23

Chris Williams 06.15.06 at 12:38 pm

What’s wrong with us? Well, we can’t play football, for one.

24

Chris Williams 06.15.06 at 12:42 pm

cancel that.

25

Morat20 06.15.06 at 1:06 pm

For Christ’s sake Rick D, he suffered a small amount of damage to his house. Nobody got hurt, much less killed. To say that it’s in poor taste to joke about this is beyond stupid

Actually, if I remember correctly the “small damage” his house suffered was the obliteration of his office and his infant’s room, at an hour when he was normally in his office and his baby was normall asleep in it’s crib (Midnight-ish).

They found the crib in the yard, and the truck was occupying the office. In short, had he been following his normal schedule (rather than being out of town) he and his infant would most certainly have died.

Calling an incident that would have ordinarily killed a man and his infant child as “a small amount of damage” is rather remarkably wrong. And given the circumstances, and having a child myself, I’d be a little incapable of getting the joke had it happened to me.

26

Rob G 06.15.06 at 1:19 pm

I remember reading, years ago, about Amazon natives who consider close brushes with death hilarious. One chap who nearly slipped while walking across the top of a waterfall was in stitches when he got to the other side (maybe he was thinking of chickens).

No translating or explaining humour, I’m afraid. I’m sure none of the Boris Johnsons are laughing either.

27

Adam Kotsko 06.15.06 at 1:34 pm

Au contraire! Humor is the only thing that is properly translatable, because it is the only thing that finally demands translation.

28

k 06.15.06 at 1:40 pm

abb1: I though the target was the clumsy and absurd attempt at ass-kissing.

Yes, but I think that is a misinterpretation of the original Daily Kos post. The phrase “I just got a call that someone ‘crashed my gate'” and “Thank you for everything” were clearly intended to be mildly humorous and not taken literally. But I guess Mr. Hutton just assumes that all Americans are literal-minded jackasses. No doubt the second Daily Kos post was an overreaction, but the Hutton’s original post was more like Bush razzing a sight-impaired journalist for wearing sunglasses than a piece of trenchant wit.

29

hsquared 06.15.06 at 1:47 pm

Morat, a car crashed into an empty house thousands of miles away. How much sorrow do you think would be appropriate on my part? If I burst into tears every time there was a traffic accident they’d lock me up.

30

Sean 06.15.06 at 2:03 pm

Really, from reading all of this stuff, the only conclusion I can come to is that this Hutton guy is a jerk. I mean, seriously, the car was _in_ the guy’s house. That’s going to involve a tremendous amount of expense to repair, and it’s apparently only a matter of luck that he himself wasn’t in harm’s way. I mean, really–is some stupid, warmed-over Blackadder pastiche on the subject really necessary?

I think rob g is correct, that this is a matter of imperfect intercultural understanding–more specifically, most Americans don’t understand that 90% of English people are just congenital assholes, and that among the English, laughing at other people’s genuine hardship and misery isn’t just acceptable, it’s not even really seen as problematic. I spent the longest two years of my life living in England, and was just astounded every day by the fact that almost every English person I met (Note that I exempt the Scots and the Welsh; they were mostly okay) was basically unpleasant and horrible. To this day, if I hear an English accent anywhere, I cringe. The side of this exchange represented by Hutton, Davies, and Bertram (and, most especially, by the truly odious commenters on Hutton’s site)has been cringe-inducing for me in the same way.

31

abb1 06.15.06 at 2:07 pm

…clearly intended to be mildly humorous…

I don’t know about clearly, but if it indeed was, then Hutton’s joke shouldn’t have provoked the reaction it did.

32

Captain Wacky 06.15.06 at 2:11 pm

All right Morat20, a large amount of damage to his house. My point still stands.

33

Rich Puchalsky 06.15.06 at 2:17 pm

What’s this “misidentified by Daily Kos” bit? The post appears to be a diary by somebody going by “dday”. In other words, the equivalent of what would be a blog comment on a site with less traffic. There is no Daily Kos Organization that approves of them, and it isn’t even by a front-page poster.

34

Rob G 06.15.06 at 2:29 pm

“Humor is the only thing that is properly translatable, because it is the only thing that finally demands translation.”

If the universe worked this way, we would all be either happily married or happily single.

Sean #30, I really don’t mind being called a congenital asshole, but “…Scots…mostly okay”. You’ve obviously never played Association Football with Scotsmen.

35

k 06.15.06 at 2:41 pm

I don’t know about clearly, but if it indeed was, then Hutton’s joke shouldn’t have provoked the reaction it did.

I am not quite sure how that follows. The reaction was exactly what you would expect if you walked into the middle of conversion among a group of people who were friends with each other but unknown to you and started making fun of what one them said without understanding the context.

Hutton’s poking fun of the post turns on a clumsy, literalist reading of it. That has the effect of making him seem like he is saying it just to be mean (though I don’t believe that is necessarily the case). That is what the reaction is about, though I think it too is a mistake. When someone yells insults at you from across the street the best thing is to just keep walking and not respond.

36

Backword Dave 06.15.06 at 3:00 pm

Rich Puchalsky, it seems to me that not only did “dday” misinterpret Harry, so did the majority of the commenters. When so many members are of one mind, it seems appropriate to say “Daily Kos” rather than “dday”.

Sean, you’re a prat. I’m Scottish and I live in Wales and I like to rag the English, but your comment is almost as stupid as dday’s. You can stuff your exemption.

37

abb1 06.15.06 at 3:05 pm

Fair enough, K.

Otoh, maybe the next best option after no reaction at all would’ve been to say something like: hey, look – some stupid Brit over there took humorous “you saved my life” for real; what an idiot.

38

Lakema 06.15.06 at 3:11 pm

You see it’s funny because a drunk driver behind the wheel of speeding truck crashed into this guys house. It obliterated his office and smashed his infants crib to bits. It’s even funnier because almost any other night he would have been sitting in his office and his infant would have been asleep in the now shattered crib. And it’s downright hilarious because the guy audaciously and dramatically claims that he and his daughter would likely be dead if he hadn’t gone to YearlyKos. Those silly thick sculled Americans have no sense of humor.

39

k 06.15.06 at 3:13 pm

I find it a little unsettling that some on both sides of this dispute resort so quickly to disparaging whole nationalities. As an American, I can attest that there are plenty of folks here who like to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. As Mel Brooks observed, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall down a sewer and die.”

40

J 06.15.06 at 3:26 pm

Lakema, your version of the joke doesn’t work for me as well as Hutton’s: it never really gets me to a chuckle, whereas his had me laughing. I think you’re a little too wordy and lay on the adjectives a bit heavily. Try tightening it up a bit! Also, you use a straight explanatory style, which is infamously hard to pull off.

Finally, it’s hard to be funny and sanctimonious. Perhaps you might consider straight sanctimony — you seem to have some real talent in that direction.

41

brooksfoe 06.15.06 at 3:34 pm

There is a lot going on here, resistant to easy interpretation. The only thing I feel confident in saying was that HH’s post was funny, because I laughed. And no one was holding an assegai to my head and forcing me to.

As one contributing strain to the irritation HH may have been feeling at the ct posts: there is something slightly blond-girl-missing-in-Aruba about all the attention that suddenly gets directed on the blogosphere to the personal problems of a guy who happens to be the tech dude for a ginormously popular liberal fan site. When the appeal for help is couched in “what-about-the-baby” language that to any median-cruel comedian’s ear almost begs to be mocked… It’s not that this ct fellow doesn’t deserve the help or that anyone wouldn’t have had the same horrified reaction if a pickup plowed through their kid’s room. It’s just that there is something more than slightly absurd about the way the whole spectacle plays out in the pages of political blogdom. And that’s ripe enough territory for comedy that it’s hardly surprising it would tickle hh’s fancy.

42

Rich Puchalsky 06.15.06 at 3:44 pm

“When so many members are of one mind” […]

OK, you’ve got maybe a hundred out of the 500,000 people who visit per day. So many?

43

J 06.15.06 at 3:46 pm

Lakema:

Good try, but somehow you come across more strident and sanctimonious than funny. Have a look at Hutton’s original and see if you can’t learn a thing or two to improve your own comic timing.

Or maybe you should eschew humor and just stick to sanctimony? You see to have a better grip on the principles of that form.

44

Lakema 06.15.06 at 3:52 pm

#36 it seems appropriate to say “Daily Kos”

It’s just like that time “Usenet” offered to sleep with me or that time “AOL” threatened to kill me.

45

dsquared 06.15.06 at 3:55 pm

Calling an incident that would have ordinarily killed a man and his infant child as “a small amount of damage” is rather remarkably wrong

What makes it even more wrong is that he also didn’t die of AIDS, wasn’t falsely convicted of being a paedophile and his family weren’t massacred in Rwanda. When you think of all the horrible things that might have happened to this guy but didn’t, it’s amazing that any of us are still alive, let alone able to see the funny side.

46

Backword Dave 06.15.06 at 4:40 pm

#41,#42. I may be wrong here, but to post a comment on DK, you have to be a member. I’m not confusing the editorial line with half a million visitors; I’m talking about those registered. So, no, it’s not at all ‘like that time “AOL” threatened to kill me’. As I said, only two that I noticed attempted to gainsay dday; and silence is consent in my book. Even so, of those who had accounts with DK and who expressed an opinion, the vast majority were of one mind.

I’m usually irritatingly pedantic about not attributing intentions to collectives (such as national groups), but Kos seems to me to be a group of like-minded people far more than, say, the NYT is. If debate had been even closer to one-third to two-thirds, I’d go along with you.

Kos’s comments are giving Mickey Kaus credibility. And that really is unforgiveable.

47

k 06.15.06 at 4:50 pm

brooksfoe: “It’s just that there is something more than slightly absurd about the way the whole spectacle plays out in the pages of political blogdom.”

That goes the various reactions/counter-reactions, too.

I think the root of this whole tempest-in-a-teapot is that the Web is both a public and private space at the same time. The Daily Kos folks saw this as a personal communication, particularly since they were just finishing a yearly conference that would reinforce the sense that the blog is a shared community of a sort. Others outside of that see it as a public space and react to the post as if they had just seen it on their television set.

48

Doctor Slack 06.15.06 at 7:37 pm

46: I may be wrong here, but to post a comment on DK, you have to be a member.

Well, you have to register. Many of us are no doubt “members” of any number of online collectives in this sense, but I daresay most of us don’t feel moved to take time out of the day and condemn every silly or wrongheaded thing that’s posted in them.

49

TheDeadlyShoe 06.15.06 at 8:34 pm

Yeah, this is lame. A Dkos diary doesn’t count as “Daily Kos” any more than a letter to the editor counts as “The London Times”. At best, you could say ON Daily Kos. Not BY Daily Kos. There’s at least tens of thousands of members so that argument doesn’t fly.

Hutton’s joke was tasteless and badly timed and clearly the targets did not find it humorous at all and given the nature of the incident the responsibility is his. It also smacks of what Freepers and like minded assholes do say in stories like this, it’s not like this has happened before. It should not be surprising that such accusations occur.

What was that about ‘eliminationist language’ again?
Eliminationst language would be, say, someone almost getting killed and another person saying ‘I wish you did get killed’. Ahem.

When you think of all the horrible things that might have happened to this guy but didn’t, it’s amazing that any of us are still alive, let alone able to see the funny side.
Except he was almost hit by a car. You can make jokes about it if you want but honestly don’t be surprised at the reaction you get when the target hears about them.

50

snuh 06.15.06 at 8:43 pm

“the only conclusion I can come to is that this Hutton guy is a jerk.”

i think that’s kind of the point. a lot of the time his shtick is that he’s a pompous, slightly eccentric, jerk. it’s very amusing.

also, “hsquared”. genius.

51

WhatARudePerson 06.15.06 at 9:05 pm

Feckin’ egotists. The joke was neither tasteless nor ill-timed. Hutton took a mildly silly Kossack remark about being saved by the Vegas Con and used it to launch into a typically absurdist bit about Zulus and Boris Johnson. That tosser of a diarist didn’t get the gag? Tough.

I notice defenders of the diarist are focussing on whether the joke was “funny” or not. More interesting to me is the bumptious insularity demonstrated by the bloke’s assumption that Hutton is a) American and b) a Republican – much more revealing than the chap’s extraordinary humourlessness. So who should I be stereotyping here – Yanqs in general, or the DPUSA drones that swarm at DKos? Which ever group tends to orient themselves in any situation by picking someone to have a fight with, I suppose.

Feckin’ Deaniacs. Twits wouldn’t recognise a real leftist if one of them drove a car through their house.

52

blah 06.15.06 at 9:28 pm

To each his own, I guess. But it really wasn’t funny. To say that there are even more tasteless jokes out there is not much of a defense.

53

k 06.15.06 at 10:18 pm

To summarize: the original post was of little interest to anyone outside of Daily Kos, the joke was tasteless, the counter to it overblown and uninformed, and this gave everyone in the various comments sections a chance to engage in the real point of the internet, mindless invective. How edifying.

54

blah 06.15.06 at 10:20 pm

Mocking the near death of a man and his infant mere days after it happened is clearly tasteless and ill-timed.

If you Brits must be tasteless and boorish, so be it. I don’t see why you keep denying it though.

55

blah 06.15.06 at 10:23 pm

At least most Americans have good sense to admit when they are being tasteless. The Brits for some reason seem to think it’s the other guy’s fault for not joining their clownishness.

56

Patrick Nielsen Hayden 06.15.06 at 10:40 pm

Jesus, Chris Bertram, what is wrong with you?

57

WhatARudePerson 06.15.06 at 11:15 pm

Mocking the near death of a man and his infant mere days after it happened is clearly tasteless and ill-timed.

Yeah, and attempting to conflate the point of a joke with matters incidental is a heck of a way to make Henri Bergson spin in his grave.

“So they lead the condemned man out onto the gallows and ask him if he has any last words. And he says – ‘yeah, I don’t think this thing is safe.'”

What a evil man that Groucho Marx was, mocking a dying man’s last moments like that.

58

Nabakov 06.15.06 at 11:23 pm

I too found Harry’s post in poor taste. A great great great uncle of mine was stabbed in the arse by an assegai at Eshowe and had to sleep on his front for several weeks. And now Mr Hutton mocks what his sacrifice embodies for the sake of a cheap gag.

59

Captain Wacky 06.15.06 at 11:48 pm

Start again, Blah. Nobody died. And the only thing Hutton mocked was Kos’s tediousness, which has been confirmed in spades.

60

RedDan 06.16.06 at 12:03 am

Oh who the fuck cares?

HH made a stupid fucking joke about something that was not particularly funny. He ripped the joke from Monty Python, which is just about on high-school sophomore humor level..complete with zits and pussy jokes.

Some folks at Kos over-reacted, misidentified and flew off the handle, and made themselves look a bit foolish in the process.

And the lesson of all of this is?

I don’t really know…nor do I particularly give a flying fuck.

ct got a big chunk of change to help recoup and recover, he DIDN’T get killed or lose his daughter.

Oh, and as for humorless nancies?

At least we’re fucking well trying to make a difference, and hopefully we’ll be doing better and better.

And when we DO make a difference, the first ones to get slated for gulag work camps?? Yes, tovarischi, that would be you!

61

Kevin K 06.16.06 at 12:17 am

Pettiness all around.

62

blah 06.16.06 at 12:18 am

Captain wacky: no need to start again, since I never said anybody died.

God knows there are plenty of tedious things to mock about Daily Kos – but a man expressing his thanks that he and his infant were not killed hardly ranks high on the list of tediousness.

63

WhatARudePerson 06.16.06 at 12:22 am

Pettiness all around.

Yeah, rise above it, dude. Otherwise we’ll never learn.

64

Mike S 06.16.06 at 1:43 am

Interesting reaction here. The joke was missed for a reason. It sounded a bit too much like too many on the right. Think Malkin, Coulter, the idiots at Redstate…or the kids that TBogg highlighted saying they were going to YearlyKos with baseball bats. The diarist didn’t know the name from anywhere and assumed it was real. No one in the thread knew his name so it was never corrected.

So in this thread there are basically two reactions.

1) “Those dKos people are too full of themselves. They take themselves too seriously. Everyone knows that (incert blog or poster’s name here) is way better than dKos because we are just so much cooler.”

2) “Harry’s a dick. And anyone who defends him is a dick. You’re a dick. Only a dick would find the joke funny which shows that I am way better than anyone who found the joke funny.”

Isn’t there a middle ground where it’s possible that if you know Harry’s style the joke is funny but if you don’t it’s not.

Or is the entire blogasphere really a sandbox where the cool kids have to be better than the cool kids so they snipe at each other like the little kids they are?

65

Daniel 06.16.06 at 1:57 am

Mocking the near death of a man and his infant

in the sense that I “nearly” won the lottery last night; someone two streets away did.

66

WhatARudePerson 06.16.06 at 2:49 am

Isn’t there a middle ground where it’s possible that if you know Harry’s style the joke is funny but if you don’t it’s not.

Sure. And from where you can also recognise bumptious insularity when you see it.

In any case, what are you building bridges for? Isn’t arguing about what’s funny or not way more entertaining? See, Chris’ post wasn’t about how Harry’s post was funny. It was about how the Kossack’s garbled reaction was funny. Very funny.

67

nick s 06.16.06 at 2:59 am

to post a comment on DK, you have to be a member.

Oh, that’s a bit harsh. Although, admittedly, it helps if you’re a bit of a tool.

68

goatchowder 06.16.06 at 4:28 am

What I’m finding funny is the tiff between CT and dKos.

I think it’s because the new dKos “diary rescue” is muscling in on the territory of CT: thoughtful, wonky, nerdy posts on sometimes arcane topics.

And it’s also a class issue, not a nationality issue. dKos are the unwashed masses, who aren’t blessed with nearly as many years of higher education on average as CT posters/commenters. Therefore, they suck.

Well, sometimes they do suck. It’s certainly a less polished world than CT. But the tiffs and trolls and spats are just as petty there as here, just not as well-worded or informed by many decades of experience with academic bickering. Nonetheless, the quality of dKos diaries is improving dramatically, and some are beginning to approach the CT-level. Of course I’d expect their outrageous pretention to be met with the requisite level of ridicule and disdain.

69

abb1 06.16.06 at 4:31 am

The old Soviet saying goes: winter’s gone, summer’s here – thanks to our beloved communist party!

70

Captain Wacky 06.16.06 at 5:33 am

I wouldn’t get carried away about the erudition of CT commenters, Goatchowder, at least as far as those who have sided against Hutton on this thread are concerned. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for instance, is apparently so stupid that he can’t articulate any point at all.

71

dms 06.16.06 at 6:32 am

Well, this sure has been fun.

All this dumb, unwashed, earnest, and santmonious (killer combo) American can say is, I’m glad I got to learn a new word:

assagai (variant of assegai).

Thanks.

Now, where’s my Pimms?

72

Tortoise 06.16.06 at 6:59 am

I can’t believe what I am reading here. It was a joke, people, i.e., not serious.

Here’s a clue: I don’t know where Hutton presently resides, but last time I looked it was Colombia, certainly not South Africa. And I seriously doubt that there are too many Zulus wandering around Medellin, save perhaps for the occasional cultural delegation.

So, its not very likely that an assegai really came flying though his window is it?

Now assuming you have the wisdom or plain good fortune to spot this first discrepancy, here’s the next tip: with judicious application of a method such as “extension” or “extrapolation” (please try to bear with me here, even though it may seem difficult for less technically-minded readers, or US citizens) one may readily discern the fact that Hutton may not have been completely serious about the first part of his post either.

At which point, anyone with even a residuum of voluntary cerebral function (not, apparently, a defining characteristic of most readers of Kos or of this blog) should either begin to appreciate the joke, teasing out the multiple layers of references it contains, or at least realize that a wider context should be considered before prematurely launching into their frothing rabid wingnut-style attack.

I have fought f**king Bush and the rethugs with everything I could summo for six years, at considerable personal cost for my job, family and financial situation. And now, with this sorry incident, comes the awful realization that nothing at all will ever really change, despite everything I have worked for and paid for over the past six years. (Most recently, copies of Kos’s damn book for the roots project.)

For any people who haven’t passed this particular threshold yet – it’s quite a shock to be forced to recognize one’s own naivete and foolishness so harshly and abruptly. That whatever BS they try to feed you, the entire game is about nothing more than a different name, different gang, tribe, color, in-crowd, whatever. Right or left, is nothing but egos and imbeciles. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss, and we’re always going to be fooled again.

And the ironic part, (i.e., “funny”, for US readers): I used to think I was such a hardboiled cynic. My own foolishness, of course, but what a terrible waste of my time and money. DDay (you ignorant humorless MORON), Daily Kos, left, right, you people are all the same. If it all burns down tomorrow, I’m not going to try to stop it anymore. F**k it. F**k you. Take me off the list. You lost me. I burned out today. I’m gone.

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rm 06.16.06 at 7:17 am

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for instance, is apparently so stupid that he can’t articulate any point at all.

Captain Wacky, be careful what you wish for.

If you need me, I will be in the storm cellar.

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rm 06.16.06 at 7:37 am

Okay, I was lying about the storm cellar.

tortoise,

I hope a garden-variety, momentary internet flame-up isn’t really enough to make you give up all your principles and commitments, and that your cry of disillusion is either another work of irony or venting. (It can be hard to tell sincerity from irony on the screen, which is the cause of all the trouble here anyway).

And “ironic” and “funny” are not always the same thing, you know. For instance, it is highly ironic but only mildly funny that Captain Wacky mistook PNH in exactly the same way that the Kos poster mistook D-squared.

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whatarudeperson 06.16.06 at 8:51 am

Yes, well, I’ve certainly ceased to find this argument amusing. Although I am slightly amused by the contrast between this thread and the sweet and cheerful one at firedoglake.

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Luis Enrique 06.16.06 at 9:23 am

Reddan, you are a thing of beauty. Let’s see that again:

“At least we’re fucking well trying to make a difference, and hopefully we’ll be doing better and better.

And when we DO make a difference, the first ones to get slated for gulag work camps?? Yes, tovarischi, that would be you!”

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Rob G 06.16.06 at 9:34 am

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

Then go order a pizza and ask them to make you one with everything.

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Simstim 06.16.06 at 10:20 am

That Firedoglake post definitely gets Harry, but the comments thread doesn’t half wander off the topic.

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Captain Wacky 06.16.06 at 10:21 am

Fair call, RM. I get it now.

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Doug 06.16.06 at 10:23 am

So leasons learned:

1. Don’t react/comment on a website until you’ve read many entries and have gotten a feel for what the writer is trying to do – a leason that anyone who’s read Jesus’ General should have a pretty strong understanding.

2. The English are condescending gits.

3. Americans often have trouble with complex forms of humor (satire, sarcasm, irony, etc.)

4. Insulting people’s national identity is just plain mean.

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RickD 06.16.06 at 10:30 am

hey, captain wacky

“beyond stupid” is claiming that I said the post was “in poor taste” when that’s not something I said. I just said that it’s really not the best place to go looking for humor. Clearly Hutton got the kind of response a jokester would not ordinarily be looking for. Aside from Andy Kaufman, most people who are trying to be funny aren’t trying to simply piss off a lot of people.

Personally I didn’t think the Hutton post was in poor taste. I just thought it was bizarre to go from somebody talking about a car crashing into his house into some kind of hallucination about being attacked by Zulus. I did think dsquared’s comment was in bad taste, though. That kind of veiled threat is fairly standard operating procedure on right-wing blogs. If it was supposed to be ironic or humorous or something other than thuggish, it failed.

My peeve here is not so much whether the original post was funny or not. Some people thought it was, some didn’t. I get annoyed at the people who decide to play the humor police and start insulting others who don’t think the same things are funny.

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Daniel 06.16.06 at 11:07 am

I do quite fancy Ann Coulter though.

btw, am i really going to have to explain this joke? OK then.

The comic conceit was that the Kos commenter believed his life to have been saved by going to their conference. However, this would only be true if the car crash was an accident. If it was a sign that someone was attempting to murder him in a bizarre manner, his life would still be in danger. This was an incongrous possibility, and therefore funny. I also tried to suggest that to assume that the Kos poster was being arrogant by assuming that he was so universally popular that nobody would try to murder him. This is funny because it is such an outlandish response to the concept. So in other words, the comic conceit was to pretend that an alternative assumption (murder) was the more natural interpretation of the events (accident) than what was clearly the natural assumption.

Deep in my heart, sir, I know I’m funny.

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Kieran Healy 06.16.06 at 11:25 am

Readers Digest is considering two of my humorous anecdotes.

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Peter Briffa 06.16.06 at 12:25 pm

I bet Chris Bertram can’t believe what he started here.

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Tom Doyle 06.16.06 at 3:08 pm

“For Christ’s sake Rick D, he suffered a small amount of damage to his house. Nobody got hurt, much less killed”

As best as I can determine, there was a lot of damage. The house isn’t habitable, (it’s a rental, their landlord put them in another house, so they’re not homeless.) Much personal property in the house was destroyed/damaged, including a huge tropical fish tank, and all their fish. The newspaper ran a picture of the scene (link below). It looks bad enough. I’d be pretty freaked out if it happened to me.

THE OLYMPIAN

PICKUP SLAMS INTO DIVISION STREET HOME’S BEDROOM

A Ford F150 that police say was traveling 60-70 mph eastbound on Conger Avenue crashed into a home on Division Street just after midnight Sunday.

When the pickup finally stopped, it was all the way inside the house’s bedroom. Police arrested a man in his 20s at Jefferson Middle School, two blocks back up Conger Avenue.

Neighbors told police they believed the family in the home, a young couple with an infant, were on vacation at the time. No injuries have been reported in the crash. ..

Check out the Photo

link to article
.

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Phil 06.16.06 at 6:29 pm

Well, what happened to this guy’s house was awful, and he did indeed have a lucky escape.

But the post Harry reacted to still struck him (and me) as ridiculous, in its earnestness, its self-importance and its overtones of revivalist group-hugginess. (Even if it was meant as a joke, it came across as an earnest, self-important and group-huggy joke.)

Daniel’s comment essentially took the earnestness and self-importance seriously – why would you post something like that unless you actually thought somebody was trying to kill you? but if somebody was trying to kill you…

It seems a lot of people can’t tell the difference between “this person’s allusions to his own death are ridiculous” and “I relish the idea of this person being killed”. Shame.

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RedDan 06.17.06 at 2:39 am

Thanks luis…

The only difference between a humorless twit and a genocidal dictator is a massive security apparatus and iron control over a gargantuan military, brutal secret police force, and a crushing bureaucracy!

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