Friday, December 30, 2005


I got a copy of Al Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" for Christmas. It's a funny and interesting book - there is something train-wreck-like about the right in America that I can always stand to hear more about. Fox News is available on Prime after midnight, and apparently it's pretty addictive.

I didn't know that much about Al Franken, I was vaguely aware that he was a liberal comedian. But what surprised me was how very partisan he was; he's a shill for the Democrats. Kind of like Jordan Carter, only funny. I find it odd that I didn't know this. I know a scary amount about American politics. How could I have missed the fact that Al Franken was part of the opposition?

And he really is, he supported the war on Iraq, he supports Israel (and argues that the reasons Neo-Cons support Israel is becaues they're Jewish and because Israel is a democracy - uh huh), he thinks that Clinton was the best invention since the Candle Snuffer (welfare reform? What welfare reform), and that Kosovo was a great war, in fact all wars are great wars as long as they happen during a Democrat Presidency. On top of that he is horribly sexist; he describes one of his students as: "Emmy Berning, an ultra-feminist with a stunny resume - and a figure to match".

I'm really curious, because I read blogs by Americans who seem reasonably intelligent and who I wouldn't insult by calling them liberal. It seems that there is a left of sorts in America, do they really let guys like Al Franken in? Do they let the Democrat party in? Naomi Klein wrote a great article on this where she argued that she became an Anyone But Bush person because of a Bush in the Box that her brother gave my Dad:

Yet Bush in a Box filled me with despair. It's not that the President is dumb, which I already knew, it's that he makes us dumb. Don't get me wrong: My brother is an exceptionally bright guy; he heads a think tank that publishes weighty policy papers on the failings of export-oriented resource extraction and the false savings of cuts to welfare. Whenever I have a question involving interest rates or currency boards, he's my first call. But Bush in a Box pretty much summarizes the level of analysis coming from the left these days. You know the line: The White House has been hijacked by a shady gang of zealots who are either insane or stupid or both. Vote Kerry and return the country to sanity.


  1. Al Franken was out here (US Army bases in Kuwait) just before Christmas to do some routines for the troops, and came into my library a few times to get on the net. I didn't catch his show, but apparently he does a pretty good Saddam Hussein. Seems safe to assume he does support the war. That's unremarkable in any reasonably liberal American - they seem to be generally further to the right than us. As for his horrible sexism - well, it ought to be axiomatic for a leftist that the fact that we find other people different from us and some of their ways of thinking strike us as foolish or unpleasant, doesn't automatically make them a bad or inferior person. If Al Franken starts complaining that his ultra-feminist students won't put out for grades or do their boyfriends' cooking, maybe we'll agree he's horribly sexist - but from the example you give, he just looks like a guy to me.

    I feel like I'm being a prick and picking a fight by piling this next bit onto the last bit, but it does seem surprising to me that you quote Naomi Klein on the simplistic hatred that liberals in America display for Bush, and then come up with a Bush-bashing very next post.

  2. That was supposed to be the point of my post Psycho Milt, but since I didn't say that - it wasn't clear.

    I've edited it now.

  3. Duh-uh, I get it now. Sorry.