Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Searing Satire of the National Review's "Jay Nordlinger"

Sometimes, I leave my little Tommy Friedman cocoon and go explore the world beyond the NYT. It's amazing what you'll find. Today, for instance, thanks to the power of hyperlinks, I ended up at"The Corner," which claims to be blog of something called the National Review. National Revue is more like it! What perfectly delicious satire. Remember the first time you watched The Simpsons or read the The Onion? I've got that same giddy feeling right now!

If you've never been there, here's the hilarious premise: A bunch of privileged white people sitting around ostensibly discussing current events but really just whining about how persecuted they are. Hmmm. Maybe that doesn't sound so funny. But it's all about the execution. A typical post will start from a position that could almost seem reasonable and then slowly, almost imperceptibly, through a series of beautiful played riffs, end up at an absurdly paranoid conclusion, thus exposing the inanities of our cultural debates!

Performance Artist
Jay Nordlinger
And what a cast of characters. There's the WASP who aspires to Serious Punditry but keeps tripping over his erotic Sarah Palin fantasies. The former prosecutor who throws off his law school shackles so he can kick some serious Muslim ass. And the mousy lady who turns into a superhero to defend The Institution of Marriage from the evil Gay Agenda. But right now I think my favorite character (I'm pretty sure they're all played by the same guy!) is Jay Nordlinger. Nordlinger! Just that name gives me the giggles. Here's "Nordlinger" knocking the Helen Thomas hysteria out of the park in a post titled A Few Basic Thoughts . . .:
A Few Basic Thoughts . . . occasioned by the Helen Thomas outburst. We owe something to her: She said out loud, in her specially nasty way, what other people think.
Damn that's good. Whining about be victimized by an 89-year-old woman is too ludicrous. That's how "Glen Beck" or one of those other hit-you-over-the-head comedians would have played it. But this isn't just comedy. It's jazz. Or jazzmedy, if you will. So bam. Nordlie flips Thomas from being the oppressor to the messenger for some darkly ominous "other people." And voila - victimhood! And now Nordlinger can embark on a whirlwind send-up of conservatives whiniest hits.

The left is just like the terrorists:
People like Helen Thomas are way to the “left,” if that’s the term, of the official position of the PLO. They are in line with Hamas and Hezbollah — and their patron in Iran.
No, you didn't Nordlinger. You did not use the H-words and the I-word! What's next?
The PLO-niksSaeb Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi — are now the Uncle Toms of the anti-Israel community. Helen Thomas and the flotilla people are in the cool, fashionable forefront.
This is why I love this Nordlie. He takes the conservative meme that the left is full of vapid, vainglorious celebrities, and by implication, the right is full of principled outsiders, and blows it up by taking it to its logical -- and absurd -- conclusion: Helen Thomas is cool and fashionable.

And she's not only super-cool, she's super-powerful:
They have never resigned themselves to Israel’s existence; they have never resigned themselves to co-existence. People like Helen Thomas make it easier for them not to resign themselves. People like Thomas give them hope — making them think, “Ah, maybe we can actually get rid of them. Not just extract a better deal, but get rid of them altogether!”
Yes! Hamas surely would have recognized Israel's right to exist by now if they hadn't seen Helen Thomas on YouTube. Someone just got Nordlingered and I'm so glad it wasn't me.
It would be helpful to peace in the Middle East if Israel’s enemies could be absolutely sure that Israel is not going anywhere: that it is here to stay. Remember the old gay slogan? “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it”? Israel’s enemies need to know something like that about Israel.
He loses character a bit there, but I don't care because his "Israel is the gay of the Middle East" routine is so good. I want that on a t-shirt, with "Stop Israeli Marriage" on the back.
But as long as they have the feeling that the world — you know: “the world,” as in the New York Times, the U.N., and Bono — is not really committed to the existence of Israel, they will push for Israel’s destruction.
Back in character. You can't skewer conservatives without mocking the paranoia. And Nordlinger has perfectly captured the I-know-the-New-York-Times-is-out-to-get-me-even-though-I-don't-read-it mentality.
With the very right of Israel to exist under assault, now might be a good time to move America’s embassy to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. I remember something George Shultz said a few years ago: that having our embassy in Tel Aviv makes it seem that we are just “camping out.” A move to Jerusalem would signal: As far as we’re concerned, this state is permanent. It ain’t goin’ anywhere, get used to it.

Hang on, let me find the full Shultz quote. Okay, got it — from June 2003: "Why not move our embassy to West Jerusalem and be done with it? People should do things that say Israel is there to stay."
I absolutely love this. Of course, Nordlinger doesn't need the actual Shultz quote after he described it. But he knows we're in hysterics from his joke about U.S. not demonstrating a long-term commitment to Israel and he's waiting for the laughter to die down. That's right - Nordlinger's comedic timing is so good that he's pausing ("Hang on, let me find the full Shultz quote") in a fuckin' blog post!

There's so much more that's pitch-perfect: Potshots at the Europeans; a riff on how anti-Israel sentiment really equals anti-Semitism; and a last-minute, hilariously gratuitous homage to Ronald Reagan. But he saves the best for last when he brings back Helen Thomas to eviscerate another myth: the conservative blogger/pundit as fearless warrior:

Events large and small — Iran’s nuclear drive, the Helen Thomas outburst — have led me to think about the unthinkable: the loss of Israel. They won’t go without a fight, I feel sure. And I know which side I’m on.
That's right, Israel. If you ever get attacked by an 89-year-old woman, don't worry: Jay Nordlinger has got your back! And, if you're lucky, maybe he'll bring his band of merry pranksters from the National Review with him. You look like you could use the laughs.

No comments:

Post a Comment