by Patrice Greanville, January 15, 2019, via Greanville Post
Cheap jokes as vectors for a nuclear Armageddon (or how I learned to laugh myself into an early eternity)
Colbert doing his routine on 1.14.19. The whole shtick was about Trump, his putative treason, and the Russian menace. He has done this countless times. The more seductive a comic is, the more powerful, and when he’s telling lies the more dangerous. (TGP screengrab)
The resident idiots at CBS This Morning included a clip with Stephen Colbert that I found particularly irritating. (1) In the clip Colbert is supposed to serve merely as a presenting expedient for a truly stunning gymnastic performance by the terrifically charming Katelyn Ohashi, who seems made of rubber, but it turns out the whole deal is a ruse to allow Colbert to remind the program’s audience (for the nth time) of Trump’s treason—that’s right, treason—and Russian perfidy, neither of which, by the unhinged liberaloid standards operating at CBS and sister networks, requires any proof.
Before examining Colbert’s participation in these charades more closely, let us recall that this is par for the course at CBS, an abject corporate entity which, along with its sister networks and the nation’s leading newspapers, from the CIA-owned WaPo to the NYTimes, are fiercely pursuing a campaign to silence alternative media. CBS is in fact documented to be in bed with the sinister NewsGuard initiative, a newly-minted rightwing organisation created expressly to tighten the noose around the neck of dissident websites, thereby terminating effective free speech. (See here, and here and also here). All of this is done, of course, behind the usual barrage of lies and revolting hypocrisy that rule all liberaloid stratagems, the trademark of the current global system.
The underhanded campaign to kill free speech—a requisite for a veritable, airtight regime of fascism à l’américaine—issues and is inseparable from the current Russiagate hysteria, a hoax almost entirely authored and executed by the Democrats, in demonstrable complicity with the FBI, CIA and other sordid agencies of the American security state, with the enthusiastic assist of the mainstream media. None of this filth is democratic in the remotest way, which says something about the state of affairs in this nation, and the integrity —not of our politicians, for whom integrity or personal morality of any sort is a career killer and an alien concept—but of our supposedly more astute cultural tastemakers, among which lavishly paid prime time comedians —sycophantic court jesters is their accurate name—enjoy a place of disproportionate and highly toxic influence.
This is the framework, then, to judge this little monologue by Stephen Colbert. Please watch it in the sidebar below and answer me this question: Is this what you would really call honest comedy?
Watch this Late Show clip (on 1.14.19) with Stephen Colbert, the celebrity court jester who once cultivated an iconoclastic anti-establishment image, injecting the Russiagate venom under cover of a bad joke, just accusing Trump, again of, yea, let’s mention this in passing here… high treason, while supposedly celebrating the stunning accomplishment of Katelyn Ohashi. That this is typical Colbert these days confirms his status as a toxic media worm.
OK, so now you may see why we are so piqued this morning.
Perhaps you’ll agree with me at this point that what Colbert and others in his profession are doing is reprehensible in the extreme. For this guy is helping to fan the flames of an obnoxious propaganda conspiracy. (3) And he does it under the guise of innocent jokes, thereby normalising heinous falsehoods while his clueless public is completely unaware that they are actually absorbing a political advertisement, normalised brainwash, for the most dangerous and criminal product around, open ended wars fuelled by neoliberalism in the age of nuclear superpowers. In this, Colbert and his ilk are simply weaponising humour. And that’s not all. As a collateral casualty, as Chris Hedges has noted, Colbert is also destroying satire, historically the ultimate refuge for truly iconoclastic minds:
Satire becomes destroyed in essence in the hands of figures like Colbert, Jon Stewart and others. They will attack the foibles of the system, but they are never going to expose the system, because they are all millionaires, they are commercially supported.
We have castigated Colbert in our pages before. In fact, do a search of our archives and you’ll find quite a few pieces devoted to this topic, including one by Steve Almond. Long recognised as a mordant social critic, Almond, surely one of the most lucid voices working in this field, probably filed the definitive piece on the subject: The Joke’s On You. Are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Lulling Americans Into Submission? (2012)
Steve opened his withering attack with this fusillade:
Among the hacks who staff our factories of conventional wisdom, evidence abounds that we are living in a golden age of political comedy. The New York Times nominates Jon Stewart, beloved host of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, as the “most trusted man in America.” His protégé, Stephen Colbert, enjoys the sort of slavish media coverage reserved for philanthropic rock stars. Bill Maher does double duty as HBO’s resident provocateur and a regular on the cable news circuit. The Onion, once a satirical broadsheet published by starving college students, is now a mini-empire with its own news channel. Stewart and Colbert, in particular, have assumed the role of secular saints whose nightly shtick restores sanity to a world gone mad.
If you read the piece, and I do hope you do, you’ll see why Steve deserves all the praise he can get. Still, what Almond says—that Stewart and Colbert have now assumed the role of secular saints— is disturbing because Colbert and his pals,(2) in deviously bolstering the system’s agenda, represent the maximum evil, combining criminal motives with arrogant imbecility, albeit a brand of imbecility satanically seductive, wrapped as it is in what appears to be unusual, “fun” cleverness. I’d say it does not get much worse or insidious than that.
Pushing the system’s agenda is itself a crime
No intelligent or decent person can support the global ruling class agenda, a blueprint chiefly spawned and implemented by the US section, the leading, most hyperactive and arguably reckless subset of this plutocratic pestilence. Why? You know the answer. Because it means death. Fuelled by an insatiable thirst for hegemony, indifferent to the level of sociopathy necessary to implement its designs, and invariably fixated on miserable, short-term objectives that only preoccupy the 0.00001%, of the human race, the neocon agenda is driving the US and the rest of the world to a very real age of de facto fascism, rapid ecocide, and endless wars, including the Big One, which will terminate the trajectory of our sorry species once and for all, leaving the planet a vast radioactive graveyard.
Even Reagan, the hidebound reactionary who had no love for the Russkies or communism, saw the wisdom of preserving some form of peace between the superpowers. This he did in typical American fashion, badly and misleadingly (his Star Wars initiative, a betrayal of detente, was a prime example of Washington’s ineluctable search for nuclear strategic supremacy to secure the path to a disabling first strike), but at least in those days the world, including the prostituted imbeciles populating the media, seemed to have a clear understanding that playing with nuclear matches is beyond stupid, it’s suicidal. All of that is gone, however, including an anti-war movement immolated on the altar of liberaloid charlatanry. Yes, that was a very imperfect and dangerous world, but one which had not yet acquired truly, 100%, Orwellian DNA.
The fact that the liberals who control so much of the major media in the anglophone world and the so-called “West” are unrelenting—nonstop, downright tedious—in their effort to keep afloat the leaden Russiagate psyop, (4) which so far has yet to show a single thread of supportable evidence, is a sign that we are in the hands of a monstrous ruling clique whose minuscule sanity is only matched by its legitimacy.
Of course, it’s been said before, evidence does not matter to these journos, courtiers and politicians: what matters most is to keep the arms race going, the empire encroaching across the globe, as usual, and American exceptionalism triumphant and unchallenged. At any cost.
Reading the above you may have guessed I find this type of propaganda not simply intrusive, which is bad enough, but nauseating. Colbert, you abominable bastard, damn it, leave Katelyn alone! Get yourself a different shtick. Something a little bit more honest. Of course, I know I am wasting my time. To clamor for decency from an avatar of a system built on gross indecency is idiotic. So let’s say I’m doing this for the record. For time will come to settle the accounts and people will need to recall who was doing what in humanity’s hour of greatest need.
Am I being singularly hard on Colbert? Perhaps. Perhaps not. As we know, there are plenty of drooling, equally opportunistic would-be replacements. That said, the popularity of low-lifes does not excuse their individual guilt. Many think—like Colbert, no doubt— that skewering Trump for fame, money and glory is not just awfully easy—given the gargantuan target—but virtually irresistible, a great way to sail into the sunset—with a hefty bank account. (5) But for now I single out Colbert because he’s singularly vile, and because I dislike turncoats: not too long ago Colbert strutted around as a man willing to speak truth to power. Now the power of money speaks to him, and the dialog never really started. Also, and this is not inconsequential, he plays to larger audiences than even Bill Maher and John Oliver, two comedians who, behind a veneer of defiant truth-telling, also carry a lot of the same systemic disease. (5)
We know by now that faux rebel satirists like Colbert are really smooth and stealth warmongering disinformers, having perfected the craft of seamlessly injecting imperial messages into their streams of “harmless” jokes. I don’t find that funny at all. Further, strictly on comedic terms, Colbert does not deserve the pantheon because his routine is not based on truth, the essence of which allows comedy to acquire genuine greatness. George Carlin and other observational comics got great laughs by doing the opposite of Colbert and his ilk, that is, by piercing the lies of a supremely mendacious system to get at the ugly but indispensable truths. For while Carlin dug up the truth, Colbert buries it. It’s mendacity elevated to self-preening egotism—very well paid egotism.
Incidentally this same fetid choir is pretty agitated of late because Trump—again—has been making noises about exiting NATO. Trump being Trump, he may be doing this for all the wrong reasons, but, if this came to pass it would be a boon for humanity, removing a huge threat and irritant to peace, not to mention an unconscionable waste of money and energy. Reflexively, the response from the liberal camp has been, as was the case with the excellent idea of withdrawing the empire’s forces from Syria, a chorus of Jeremiads. Yes, once again these bastards pretend not to see the obvious good in this, preferring instead to shout from the rooftops about a danger which does not exist, and of course yet another reason to bash Trump—illegitimately, from the right.
In view of the preceding, can anyone with half a brain doubt that such a toxic script, an inversion of truth and good sense of alarming proportions, yet so eagerly distributed by media sycophants like Colbert, and countless hacks in the Democrat party, is being directed by the boys in Langley and the Pentagon at the behest of the global plutocracy?
(1) Click HERE to watch the CBS This Morning clip containing the Stephen Colbert segment.
(2) I exclude Jon Stewart now from this fulmination because although he gave us the treachery of Iago Colbert, he has now wisely retired to a life of good deeds defending some of the most terribly tyrannized animals.
(3) Using Trump as a convenient foil, the alliance of the liberal class with the empire’s agencies of repression is the subject of commentary by Patrick Martin, in The FBI’s police state operation against Trump. Noting the subversive (in a bad way) aspect of this tacit combination, Martin warns that the liberals are, in effect, hatching a coup against the president, hand in glove with the spooks and military (italics mine):
By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Gestapo.
The agency also investigated four of Trump’s campaign aides over possible ties to Russia, and even made use of the notorious Steele dossier, consisting of anti-Trump gossip collated from Russian sources by a former British intelligence agent on the payroll of the Democratic Party.
After Trump fired Comey, according to the Times, “law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests…(sic) Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. (sic) Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”
The operations of the FBI, encouraged, aided and abetted by the Times, recall the paranoid rantings of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right group formed in the 1950s, whose founder, Robert Welch, notoriously claimed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former World War II commander of Allied forces in Europe, was a “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”
Claims that once were the province of an extremist group, on the fringes of American politics, are now embraced by the military-intelligence apparatus, appear on the front page of the most influential American daily newspaper, and dominate the network and cable television news.
While there is no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Moscow, the Times report itself is evidence of a conspiracy involving the intelligence agencies and the corporate media to overturn the 2016 presidential election—which Trump won, albeit within the undemocratic framework of the Electoral College—and install a government that would differ from Trump’s chiefly in being more committed to military confrontation with Russia in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
A secret security investigation by a powerful police agency directed against an elected president or prime minister can be described as nothing other than the antechamber to a coup by the military or intelligence services.
(4) In other countries, who lack a Trumpenstein figure as a focal point to despise and to pelt around the clock, the local ruling classes have been forced to use plain old Russophobia as their bogeyman, and the charge (without evidence or with fabricated evidence) that Moscow is “meddling in their affairs.” Britain leads the parade in this regard, at times surpassing the Yanks in sheer inventiveness, hypocrisy, and malice (witness their Skripal hoax, for example, and their crucial participation in the MH17 psyops, among other disinformation campaigns.).
(5) Trump’s unorthodox presidency has been a boon for the satire industry: Many late-night hosts are reaping more jokes and greater cultural authority by continuing the Shakespearean tradition of the jester speaking truth to power. But the rewards haven’t been spread evenly. Liberal Stephen Colbert, lauded by fans for his skewering of the president, has added viewers, bucking a trend of declining audiences, to push “The Late Show” to No. 1 in late night (3.8 million viewers, up 19% over last year).
(USA Today, Comedy Scorecard)
Ohashi’s floor exercise routine, without the mendacious mental pollution. The way it should have been presented.
Media critic and former economist Patrice Greanville is funding editor of The Greanville Post.