Stephen Colbert is still excellent

With the nonsense going down in American politics, it makes me feel better to know that Stephen Colbert is around.

Left wing satire and comedy is really carrying the torch for political discourse lately. I think Jon Stewart started it, but Colbert and John Oliver are definitely keeping it going. You do notice, don’t you, that reality has a liberal slant?

I dislike conservatives in general, as I’ve said before, and partly I think it’s due to conservative comedy just… not being all that funny. At least, such humor is not funny to me. I find many comedians labelled conservative, or right-wing, commit the worst of comedy sins by “punching down”; they make fun of the vulnerable, the weak, the powerless.

Punching down is most often done in a way that hurts people who can’t take the hurt.

For example: making jokes about trans women being men in drag hurts trans women. It denies their identity, their humanity. It contributes to the social climate that results in trans women being murdered or committing suicide at phenomenal rates. And for what? For the sake of a few laughs? As the US population leans more and more to the left, you don’t really have to wonder why this kind of mean-spirited comedy isn’t as popular.

Colbert and Oliver, and Stewart when he was on the Daily Show, are almost constantly punching up. They make fun of the powerful, poke holes in their carefully constructed PR spin. They’re excellent satirists who use comedy as a tool of political enlightenment.

Alison Dagnes posited that there are few conservative satirists because conservatism is focused on maintaining the status quo and supporting those in power, whereas the best comedy is that which reveals the absurdity of the status quo and the powerful. I think she’s right.

//shay

This is still a thing

I’m always confused by the tropes I see in popular erotica. Apparently the whole ‘billionaire meets middle class woman, sweeps her off her feet’ thing is still (a) a thing and (b) still so goddamn silly that it makes me want to facepalm my way back into the Stone Age.

I had a conversation with my esteemed friend about this exact thing. “It’s so tacky,” I said. “I thought that it would end once Fifty Shades burnt itself out, along with bad BDSM porn.”

“Honestly, Shay,” she replied, “It’s very simple. It’s all about escapism.”

“Well yes, I understand that. But escapism should have some element of realism in it, and these books are clearly so far beyond the horizon of silly that they might as well be in Narnia.”

She laughed at me. “But that’s why they’re so popular! Women read these because they’re completely unrealistic. A good escapist fantasy does have elements of realism in it, but when you’ve already got a job and a husband and too many children, you don’t want any reminder of what is real. Bad escapism is better than good escapism that holds elements of a life that dissatisfies you.”

I had to give that to her. It does make a lot of sense, when you think about it. Go to Amazon.com, search for ‘billionaire’ in Kindle Books, and you’ll get thousands of hits, many of which are best sellers published this year. It’s rather depressing when you think about it.

I mean, I understand, really I do, why they’re so popular. But I can’t write those books, and not only because I just don’t know anything about the billionaire lifestyle. I want to write about normal people doing fun things in real relationships, not aloof assholes being brought down to earth (or something) by generic girl next door, with added sex. And this means I will probably never write a bestseller.

I guess all I can do is hope that comedy porn becomes popular. That or start publishing some really kinky shit and hoping I get sales off the shock factor.

Authors! If you have an opinion on this, talk to me in the comments. I want to know if you’ve tried this and what’s worked for you.

//shay