A much wiser person than I once asked rhetorically "How do you explain bad taste to people who haven't got ANY taste?"
I have been reminded of that question as I watch with bemusement the right-wing blogosphere getting its knickers in a twist over my column that presented a tongue-in-cheek open letter to General Peter Pace suggesting that he arrest George W. Bush for "Conduct Unbecoming". It was of course just 'a modest proposal'...
Anyone who has read "Gulliver's Travels" (even the 'Comics Illustrated' version from Regnery Publishing for the "challenged reader") is aware of a little thing called satire. Perhaps has even heard of Jonathan Swift.
But it appears that the only "Swift" that the right-wing nuts have heard of is the Swift Boat.
Swift = Smear they understand.
Swift = Satire...? Well, let's just be charitable and say that it "eludes" them.
The wing-nut world is up in arms (in some cases literally) with calls for me to be tried for sedition and treason. Some want me deported. Others are advocating hanging or shooting against a wall. Worst of all -- someone wants the FBI to open a file on me. (And I thought that the FBI was busy with important matters...)
But how do you explain satire to people who are uncontaminated by either wit or wisdom?
And of course -- as befits those who worship at the shrine of Atwater and Rove -- my satire has been twisted into headlines such as "HuffPo Calls For Military Coup In USA" Yup -- these guys are the Chubby Checkers of politics. They sure know how to twist... Again and again.
If there is even a single person left in the progressive/liberal/Democratic world who doubts how vicious and malevolent these people will be in their desperate attempt to retain the White House and regain Congress next year -- be aware now. These people will literally stop at nothing. 2000, 2004 and 2006 will seem like church picnics compared to how dirty they will fight the 2008 elections.
I'm just a minor satirist on a small soapbox -- and they came after me with all the ferocity of the Bush administration chasing Bin Laden... (Note to right-wing-nuts: That was what we elite, effete snobs -- who CAN hold a candle -- call:'litotes')
After all that they have done to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Max Cleland and many more -- I got off very lightly. I was only threatened with murder a couple of times. But what gutter smears will these people come up with to demonize Democratic candidates next year?
And will the mainstream media fulfill its obligation to the American people to stand up and denounce and debunk these Un-American Activities?
Incidentally, I reference Swift above in respect of a time-honored genre much cherished by us Brits -- and not as any claim to the caliber of writing. No one approaches the genius of Swift. However my taste for Swiftian humor is a reflection of over 34 years working as a producer, writer and performer of comedic material. And is reflected in the majority of my columns for Huffington Post and TIME.com before that.
A couple of the wing-nuts wondered who I was. Some roundly condemned me for being British (guilty as charged), accused me of hating America (quite the reverse -- I love this country -- and long for its government to be restored to decent patriots). They also wondered what other "seditious" material I had written.
You might have thought that the fact that over the past year -- one click away to anyone reading me on Huffington Post -- I have announced that: Dick Cheney had died and been replaced with a lookalike cyborg; that the Libby conviction VINDICATED George Bush; that the president was actually Austin Powers' nemesis Dr. Evil; that Dick Cheney had praised Al Gore for pardoning Bill Clinton; that George Bush had had a recent written exchange with the Founding Fathers; that Denny Hastert had been a dancing partner of Fred Astaire; and that I had also written open letters to Senator George Allen giving him tips on how to be Jewish -- and to the president's dog Barney... Not to mention re-writing Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch as the Iraqi "Dead Policy" sketch -- would have given these people a vague clue.
And as if that wasn't enough -- my HuffPo bio describes me as a humorist and references that I have worked as a producer with Monty Python, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Rowan Atkinson and Billy Connolly.
But -- like the callow charlatan they are defending to the bitter (29% approval and dropping) end -- they are literally Without A Clue.
Anyway -- for the benefit of the Hard-Of-Thinking -- I thought I would provide an easy-to-navigate selection of some of my other "seditious" posts from the past 12 months that they may wish to submit to the FBI.
A Year In The Life Of A Satirist...
(A Selection of Martin Lewis columns on Huffington Post)
• Cheney's "Iraq Flip-Flop" Explained: DICK IS DEAD! (August 18, 2007)
• Scooter Hilton! Getting Out Of Jail Free (June 7, 2007)
• Terrible Blow For Bush From Blair... (May 17, 2007)
• Mass Debate (May 3, 2007)
• Reminder: What America Lost In 1776... (March 27, 2007)
• Alberto Gonzales: You're Like A Rolling Stone... (March 20, 2007)
• Help Update Scooter Libby's Website! (March 7, 2007)
• Libby Verdict Vindicates Bush! (March 6, 2007)
• Appoint Anna Nicole Smith judge to the Supreme Court! (February 15, 2007)
• Libby & Russert: The Crutch Shots!(February 7, 2007)
• Dr. Bush: Delivering A 500 Billion Dollar Baby... (January 12, 2007)
• Cheney slams GOP - and praises Gore's pardon of Clinton! (January 2, 2007)
• WELL HUNG! Saddam Hung To Prove Bush is BETTER Hung... (Than His Dad) (December 29, 2006)
• Help Bush Drink Again... (December 15, 2006)
• Bush Finally Asks To Be Excused... (December 4, 2006)
• Shock GOP TV spot! Vote Republican or.... (October 20, 2006)
• Bush's election appeal to the Founding Fathers! (October 11, 2006)
• Denny Hastert - the GOP's Fred Astaire (October 5, 2006)
• Time for GOP to "ex-Foley-ate"... (October 4, 2006)
• Mark Foley: "My Back Pages..." (September 29, 2006)
• Desperate plea to Laura Bush (& Barney The Dog) (September 29, 2006)
• Exclusive: CIA phone tap of Armitage's "Stone Age" threat to Pakistan! (September 22, 2006)
• Mazeltov George Allen! (Letter to the newly 'circumscribed'!) (September 21, 2006)
• Exclusive! Bush Speech Mix-up! (September 20, 2006)
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