I've often said that conservative humor usually fails. And it does for these main reasons: 1) they cannot poke fun at themselves or their institutions; 2) the philosophy itself is mean; 3) the jokes are predictable and repetitive; 4) the level of sophistication rarely reaches beyond low-lying fruit; 5) gags must fight with talking points for air time; and most importantly,
6) the joke is often based on a completely false fact or stereotype.
With so much of this type of humor, you have to subscribe to ideas that aren't tied in any way to reality. I disprove a lot of liberal stereotypes just by existing, but that hasn't prevented past trolls from dissing my pot-smoking, patchouli-scented ways. That actually is hilarious.
Behold the graphic below, which has sparked an interesting discussion over at The Looking Spoon, a conservative humor website. (You might recognize one of the names.)
|And yes, I realize that this isn't a JOKE, per se. Refer to point 5 above.|
Whoever created this* feels not only that Obama is actively hostile toward the Second Amendment, but is unique enough in that hostility to make history. Not even Bill Clinton made the cut, so you know this is serious.
In the comment section, I asked why President Obama deserves inclusion with famous gun-grabbing tyrants, when his only gun-related legislation has been to allow concealed-carry in nation parks. As far as tyranny goes, that's kind of not that at all.
In response, I got numerous references to gun programs and scandals, as well as a long list of votes Obama made on weapons legislation. They made a comprehensive case for the American left as being against the Second Amendment, if that's defined as voting for or otherwise talking about any checks on any and all arms whatsoever, ever.
Still, there's really nothing pointing specifically to President Obama as a hater of firearms, let alone singularly determined to repeal the Second Amendment. And that's why this graphic, like many of its ideological brethren, fails.
If I saw one of these comparing George W. Bush to Nixon, Napoleon and Custer, I'd get it. Warmongers with fatal flaws. You wouldn't even need to spell it out. Whether or not they agreed with the premise, most people would get it right away. Hell, even a comparison of Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter makes sense, because you can debate whether they're both failed liberal presidents or underrated executives beset with circumstances beyond their administrations. Either way, these contain kernels of universal truth that serve as jumping-off points for debate.
But the idea of Obama as an iconic gun-grabber? Explainable only with lengthy rationalizations and tortured associations. Certainly no single smoking gun that would make most people look at this and go, "Aha! He belongs there."
For this to work, you have to believe the false fantasy to begin with, and care less about laughing than feeling right. Which gives me an idea for a joke book... hold on ...
*-Much of the content is pulled from Facebook and elsewhere and is uncredited.