Note: I didn't know Laura Ingraham was posting an excerpt from The Obama Diaries here at Huffington Post when I wrote this. I found out eight minutes ago, when I was doing a Google search to make sure I was spelling her name right. This wasn't a planned or pissy thing, and I don't want anyone to think this is how the management at this site treats a guest. She has every right to post here -- like she needs my permission -- and many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.
Ann Coulter was technically funny. She was a mean hack and a broken record, but her jokes worked on a mechanical level. Surprise was employed. Insult and disparaging comparison were among her tools. Where is she these days? Did she die or something?
Dennis Miller's jokes still work, on paper. They just aren't about anything that would amuse anyone who isn't an asshole and an old fart. He has nothing to say. He's indignant about sweet fuck all. When he's on the O'Reilly Factor, no one seems to know why he's there, least of all O'Reilly; it's like when Letterman used to book George Miller so he could keep his health insurance. But the jokes still sound like jokes.
And then there's Laura Ingraham. Laura Ingraham is a highly successful political pundit, radio host, author and public speaker, but she's never said anything funny in her life. I'm not saying that as a knock. She also hasn't free styled a rap or yodeled or done birdcalls. It's simply not part of her act. Which is to be a horribly angry hurt unpleasant person.
She radiates wounded joylessness and her voice makes animals miscarry.
But that's not the same as being funny.
So you wonder what made her decide to write a parody, The Obama Diaries, available as of this morning at bookstores everywhere.
Reading it makes you wonder if she's ever even read a parody.
I don't want to get didactic, but it's a form that generally contains jokes. While The Obama Diaries contains entries where "Obama" writes things like:
"Just got word from Rahm that the Arizona law is already having its intended effect! He tells me that many of the undocumented citizens there are already starting to self-deport back to their home countries! This is a nightmare. Plouffe says we need all the newly registered Democrat voters we can get in 2012, and that includes the 460,000 estimated to live in Arizona."
"(Rush Limbaugh's) show would be a lot better if he read conservative thinkers like Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, and Chris Buckley. These are fair-minded conservatives, people who are happy to adjust their opinions for a White House Christmas party invitation."
"Some things are more important than what Americans want to buy. Things like community and climate change and that episode of Entourage where Drama thinks he has no friends until the guys throw him a big surprise party at the end. We have to be concerned about each other and buy things that advance the common good."
If there are places to laugh in any of these passages, I can't find them. I guess I did read somewhere that Obama watches Entourage, so that's... something? But beyond that, you've got me.
They neither read like Obama (a technique satirists call pastiche) nor a comic exaggeration of Obama (a method they call parody). There's no irony or distortion or incongruity. They don't flow, or build or twist. They're not by even the kindest stretch of the definition "comic." They're just Laura Ingraham imagining someone thinking the opposite of Laura Ingraham.
That's what she thinks a parody is.
Here's Ingraham's "Michelle Obama":
"However, I made one mistake in what was otherwise a glorious week."
Actually a bad week!
"On our way beck to the San Diego airfield, I told the Secret Service agent to scan the radio dial for one of those vile right wing radio shows."
Those shows are good!
"Barack and I like to know what we're up against. Imagine my horror when I heard that nasal-voiced, bleach blonde harpy Laura Ingraham spewing hate about Yours Truly."
We like Laura Ingraham! We're reading her book! And the hair's a wig!
"She said that the garden was my personal launch pad into the policy arena. So what if it is?"
It shouldn't be!
"What's it to her?"
It's everything to her!
"Then she had the nerve to question the carbon footprint left by my Mexico trip and make fun of my international youth engagement agenda. The gall!"
It's not gall!
"I mustn't be predisposed to this unhealthy radio addiction."
Listening to the radio is good!
"How many women around the globe has Laura Ingraham inspired?"
Dozens! Well, tens!
"And no, those old biddies dressed as Betsy Ross at the Tea Parties don't count. The truth is, that woman is just jealous of what Michelle Obama represents: A gorgeous, brilliant, compassionate captivating vision for the world."
You're such an egomaniac, made-up Michelle Obama! Always comparing herself to Laura Ingraham in Laura Ingraham's imagination. You're so vain!
"And hello, have you seen the Plain Jane clothes she wears on that O'Reilly Show? Is every woman's magazine in the country and around the globe beating her door down for a cover feature?"
Hey, stop picking on Laura Ingraham's ugly boxy cheap clothes, Laura Ingraham, writing as Michelle Obama. Even if it's true, you don't have to be such an imaginary bitch about it.
Why doesn't Michelle Obama just leave Laura Ingraham alone?
In case you think I'm cruelly choosing the duds and the psychopathology, all of these quotes are featured in at least one of the ads for Obama Diaries, as "gems."
I swear: This is the good stuff.
The stuff Ingraham is talking about in the introduction when she writes:
Whatever your political bent, put your feet up, and allow our president to fulfill his campaign promise to bring us together: together in hysterical laughter!
If she does say so herself.