The wrong kind of right

Culture | Culture

Issue: "Darwin's meltdown," April 3, 2004

This Just In is billed as an adult cartoon show for conservatives. The new series on the cable channel Spike TV (&quotthe first network for men") lampoons liberals in a vicious, South Park kind of way, but it doesn't really get conservatism.

In the show's debut, Teddy Kennedy on a toilet is so heavy that he breaks through the fuselage of his plane, crashing into the bar, where the hero, Brian Newport-a right-wing columnist-is complaining about how the vote of the ignorant waitress counts as much as his. He goes on Hannity & Colmes to promote his new crusade to encourage fewer people to vote. Later, Sen. Kennedy gives him a ride. They drive over a bridge, whereupon they go into the water.

In the next episode, Brian decides to start a &quotRepublicans for Nader" group, to help elect President Bush, resolving to play the role by not showering and by driving one of those wimpy hybrid cars. In the meantime, Tom Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security storm into the bar and arrest the Cuban owner for having brown skin and a mustache.

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As the plots unfold, the TV in the bar is always on, so we see spoofs of Spike's fellow cable channels-all those women's networks, Al-Jazeera, Fox News (whose attractive news readers are rendered as strippers).

There is a cynical kind of conservatism-the kind of Ayn Rand, edgy, virtue-of-selfishness brand of right-wing posturing-that is quite compatible with the hard-drinking, sex-obsessed, aggressively insensitive characters that make up this cartoon show.

This Just In portrays Hollywood's idea of what conservatives are. Namely, mean. Hollywood folks can respect these mean conservatives, and, given their own business and personal proclivities, sort of like them. What they can't conceive of are conservatives who have the gentler emotions-those associated with family, patriotism, and faith-including compassion for the victims of liberalism.

This Just In is mockery, not satire, there being no moral core against which its targets are judged. It is ridicule for ridicule's sake. Which, while sometimes grimly amusing, is mainly just unpleasant.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith


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