Most of you have probably seen John Oliver's hit job on Jill Stein. Not funny. Not true either, but more importantly for a comedian, not funny.
I won't go into why it's not true. Read Dr. Jill herself deliver her smackdown in Rolling Stone yesterday. She's so impressive, there's few that can do her more justice than her own scythe-like intelligence.But John, dude, seriously? Another good man down. These comedians are throwing their careers under the bus just to help the trillionaires install their favorite gal. A while back, I was watching James Corden's TV show with my family, a man whose sole claim to internet fame was that he was really really nice. Millennials discovered him on the internet and pushed him into mainstream fame, and now he has his own tonight show and everything.
In his opener, he threw both Bernie Sanders and millennials under the bus in one not-funny joke.
The audience made a weird noise. It wasn't a laugh, it was more like the sound someone makes when you punch them in the stomach.
We had the same reaction at home. My son said with disappointment in his voice "Aww, man! I liked him!" and with a sigh, he turned it over to BoJack Horseman.
So many comedians lost to the other side in this election. But it's already biting them; they're already losing their funny, have you noticed?
Seriously, it is killing their ability to write jokes, and there's a neurological reason for that. A really funny joke doesn't come from the conscious thought process; a really funny joke comes from insightful thinking, which is not the same place as the voice narrating your life in your mind's ear. It's not from logical narrative thinking, but rather bubbles up from the unconsciousness as an "insight," seemingly from nowhere.
That's why it's funny. It's not from our fight/flight/freeze-based thoughts that are always trying to manipulate reality for our individual self-interest; it comes from the deep wellspring of our greater intelligence which works in the highest interest of everyone, not for the ego.
Comedy comes from that limitless pool of inspiration, which is why great comedy punches up to power. That's why it's only funny to the privileged few when it punches down on the vulnerable.
That's the healing power of comedy, and that's why comedians like Jimmy Dore have come to prominence in the progressive movement. Great comedians have honed their skills in accessing their insight powers to write great jokes, and great jokes always naturally punch up at power, which is why they make wonderful political pundits.
Which John Oliver was. Until now.
John Oliver, come here love. I've got a little warning for you. When you knowingly use your intelligence and wit to smother goodness, you are also smothering your own connection to inspiration. It's slow death to your comedy skills. You are destined to become a snarky, unlikeable shill for the one percent playing to increasingly smaller and smaller crowds as the gap between haves and have-nots spirals out of control.
The audience can feel it in your voice. We have a visceral gut reaction to these punch-down assaults, even when they're masked as jokes.
Gut reactions are an important biological mechanism. In nomadic times, it would have kept us safe from predators that we couldn't see but we could sense. Charles Barkley alluded to it yesterday in an interview with CNN. He said that something about Hillary Clinton "makes him uncomfortable."You and me both, brother. There's something off there. I can't listen to her for long. She gives me the creeps.
I mean, we could go into all the intellectual reasons for that. We don't trust her for a very good reason -- she is, by her own admission, a liar. She has a public position and a private position. And a deeper read of the emails shows that the public position is very much the sole creation of a team of media manipulators, and none of it has anything to do with her. In all the emails I've read, she never once was consulted on her actual beliefs. Hilariously, someone asked if anyone knew what she believed back in February, a full eight months into the primary campaign.
The closest thing I found was the most hilarious emails on Hillary's position on DOMA, so many back and forths, so many players, all trying to work out what to do without admitting Hillary was wrong. The email chain is called "Re: one chain on DOMA" and it's really cute. So much thinking going into how to say she was wrong about marriage equality, without saying she was wrong, without any interactions with her at all. It's the most bizarre thing; go and have a look. So much creative energy from so many people going into trying to create a narrative that paints her as a hero of the LGBT movement, while avoiding saying sorry for being terrible to them in the past.
Compare this group-think to Jill Stein, who clearly speaks with the strength of her convictions, often coming up with the most stunning off-the-cuff ripostes in the middle of an intense interview. She knows her stuff because it is her stuff. The rapid-fire tweets that fire from those quick-witted thumbs are truly a marvel to behold. She is so impressive off the cuff. Her particular brand of political medicine is inspired and inspiring, and straight from her herself.
Hillary doesn't even touch Twitter. All her tweets are laboriously massaged and painstakingly vetted by a chain of command. Oh man, it's painful to watch. I got frustrated just reading their boring conversations about how such-and-such message is going to "land" with this or that group. Just tweet it already! We're a nation on fire, just get it out there and do some real work!
But that's all they do, all day, massage her message to capture the most voters. She doesn't care what they say as long as they make sure she is never wrong, and it's never her fault.
That's the only water-tight ideological public position that her team sticks to as far as I can tell. That's the only time they mention her in person.
"I would just say we should use it as the vehicle for giving a statement that reads as a walkback, even as HRC [Hillary Clinton] will never approve a true walkback, and then we circulate the story to our LGBT friends so they see that both they humbled us with a bad story and we highlight our statement giving a win-win walkback, and we move on," says press secretary Brian Fallon about the DOMA stuff, clearly just looking at his watch (it was 9:05 p.m.) trying to get this over with so he can go home.
Check out that statement. So many layers of manipulation going on there. Yuck.
She doesn't care what she says as long as it's admitting the least amount of guilt or failure possible, and only if absolutely pressed. She leaves the rest up to the team to "test the message," and she just spews out whichever ones test best according to their metrics. It's not based on her beliefs or ideology at all. She doesn't care, as long as she is "on message."
That's why her voice sounds off. That's why our guts sound an alarm when she talks. She's not a real human, she's a composite of what a team of media-savvy people think a real human sounds like. When Bernie spoke, it sounded great because it came direct from his guts, direct from his convictions. He had been saying these things his whole life and every fiber of his being roared with approval as he spoke.
But when Hillary speaks, it has the quality of a dropped crowbar clanging in an empty room. That's because there's nothing there to resonate with; it's just words filling the space, rote-memory words that are empty of meaning for her.Compare that to the intimacy and coziness of her speech transcripts to Goldman Sachs. Her private position is who she really is. Behind closed doors, she can be the Goldwater girl with the red arrow to the right in her logo who is at home with privilege and power. Her public position is to get the voters, her private position is to get the donors, but her private speeches are much more intimate and felt. She's talking to old friends, after all. They are her people, and she says as much in many different ways.
Not surprisingly, she also completely contradicts what her team has been having her say publicly. In private, she wants total corporate control of the domestic and international governments through free trade agreements, she wants the banks to make up their own rules, she is telling people that when she says green energy, she means fracking, and she rolls her eyes at environmentalists while joshing with the hob-nobs that they need to "get a life."
Haw. Haw. Haw.
We just passed the catastrophic 400ppm carbon marker and the next anointed leader of the planet is secretly rolling her eyes at the scientists calling for drastic action to prevent the extinction of the species. Hilarious.
See John Oliver? That's where you're headed. This is a glimpse at the future quality of your comedy. Sparkling, huh. Hey, you wanna really make them laugh? Ask them why they can't drone a guy who is embarrassing you, while the whole room knows that you have that capability. That's a real thigh slapper. That really sets the room alight.
So there is plenty of evidence not to trust her words about where she wants to take us. We can only really go on her actions. Past actions are the best indicator of future behavior, and if you extrapolate her past actions you can make some fairly accurate predictions of our future.
In fact, I'm willing to put myself out there and make some predictions myself, ones that I'm happy for you to hold me too. If I'm wrong, I'll be so happy, but what I see when I zoom out and read her patterns is that she will have us at war with the Russians very soon. War with a nuclear superpower. We haven't done that before. War with potential to be on home soil is going to be a shock to everyday Americans.
While everyone is in a state of utter terror about that, she will use that fear to install a National Service program for our young people shortly thereafter. She's already been touting that on her website. That which will smooth the way for the draft by mid next year, the draft which they already quietly amended to include women in June of this year, an amendment which only needs to be signed off by the President and which Politico reported had her full and enthusiastic support.
So, yeah, a full-scale world war with conscription by mid next year. All the elements have been put in place, it just needs their chosen leader to implement it.
Hug your kids a little closer tonight America, because very soon they're going to send them to war whether you like it or not.The writing is on the wall now. You can see that all the machinations of power are methodically grooming us for this narrative. National Service is just one step away from the army, and when the nation's at war, a war on home soil, it needs its people, you know? I mean, who is going to argue when it all clicks into place? Do your patriotic duty for your country and all that. A nation shocked into the reality of war on home soil will act quite differently to the one we see now who sleepily consents to Hillary's no-fly zone without really knowing what they're consenting to. Watch their actions. All the pieces have already been put in place to manufacture consent for a world war. It's just a matter of when.
You can quote me on that, and come back to us in a year from now to tell me I'm wrong. I hope I am. I truly hope I don't get my "I told you so" moment. Come back and tell me I was wrong and I'll be the happiest wrong person in the world.
Just like Dr. Jill Stein, I am a Mom on fire, too. And there are many of us, parents on fire for our children. Chris Hedges is a Dad on fire, he has four kids who are always front and center of his mind. Bernie Sanders is doing this for his grandkids. That's who we are doing this for. We join with the millennials you mock and abuse, and our voices ring out as one. We don't want this war, and we will not send our children off to be killed for some money-hoarding suit who has a sick obsession with adding zeroes to his bank statement.
Newsflash, one percenters -- we don't care about your bank statements, we don't care if your fossil fuel investments go off a cliff, we don't care if your munitions company doesn't get their Christmas bonus this year, we're not throwing our children at a stupid war over stuff we should stop using anyway so you can keep diddling your bad investments. No. We are parents on fire and that is not happening on our watch.
And, while we're at it, we don't want our global creative energy to be pitted at the black hole of war when we need to put our energy into reversing climate change. You can cut that out too, Mr. One Percent. We are not putting your investment portfolios before our planet's immediate need. You can forget about that right now, too.
Hear us now -- We are right, you are wrong, and we will not stop fighting.
Mother earth has spoken through us. Ignore her at your peril.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]