Conservative pundits and personalities have been a rich source of material for satire and mockery. However, there are times when their glassy-eyed incoherence inspires more sympathy than ridicule. And this may be one of them.
Noel Sheppard, the Associate Editor of the uber-rightist media monitor NewsBusters, posted an item yesterday that was virtually ecstatic over a new commercial for Volkswagon. He notes that it “has put a smile on a lot of conservative faces.” In the ad an envious man (Gary) discusses his intention of getting a new Passat just like the one his neighbor (Brian) owns. Then Brian tells Gary that he bought the last one, but Gary isn’t falling for it and cites a Passat ad in the newspaper as proof. Whereupon Brian says “You can’t believe the lamestream media, Gary.”
What has delighted Sheppard so much is his view that Volkswagon has validated the disparaging dig at the press that Sarah Palin popularized. He is giddy with satisfaction that the word “lamestream” was uttered in the ad. He calls it “delicious” and says it “will surely put a smile on Palin’s face.”
Perhaps so, but that is indicative of the larger problem. This ad is more ridicule than reverence, but Sheppard can’t see past his glee to notice. The clear message in the ad is that Brian’s attempt to discredit the media was an obvious ruse. The ad portrays Brian as the fool for trying to deceive his neighbor by falsely impugning the press. After all, Gary’s newspaper was correct, there are more Passats available. So, if anything, this ad illustrates how dimwitted Palin’s criticisms are.
Just like Brian, Palin’s attempts to discredit the media are an obvious ruse and few people outside of her congregation of teabaggers are fooled. Yet somehow Sheppard regards this as complimentary and evidence of the nation’s adoption of Palin’s reproach, rather than a dramatization of how silly it is. He simply doesn’t get that the joke is on him and his comrades on the right. And it’s so glaringly obvious that it’s a little sad to see him so befuddled.