August 7, 2012

Jerry Seinfeld almost critiques liberal thought.

At one point in this comic conversation with Ricky Gervais (the new episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"). This interchange comes after much talk about how the car Jerry's driving is a death trap, and Jerry has just quoted Gary Gilmore's last words ("Let's do it"), which made Ricky laugh and then get introspective:
I really think the death penalty is too depressing to even think about. I don't agree with it that the state can show that sort of form of violence.
Jerry advances the conversation in the conventional way:
What about abortion? Do you agree with that?
Ricky gestures at the stock response:
Yeah, but that's different. Isn't it?
And here's where Jerry almost does the critique of liberal legal analysis:
I guess you can just arrange things the way you like them... when you're rich, famous, like you.
Notice how he had to catch himself and re-orient himself liberally with that when you're rich, famous. The rich must be the problem. They think they can arrange the rules to serve all their interests.

And then the final "like you" is a lifeline to Ricky, who catches it, saying, "Yeah. Unlike you, who's just a guy with an old car going along the highway, laughing maniacally 'cause someone's fear was they're about to die. I should have said 'Let's do it' when I got in this car."

And Jerry is laughing maniacally, clutching the death-trap's steering wheel in helpless hilarity. Scene over. Moving on the the coffee portion of the show.

Side note: All you Althouse blog readers who used to live in Pelham Parkway — check out the signage at 4:37.

67 comments:

Jay said...

Yeah, but that's different. Isn't it?

Well, yeah. See, in an abortion, the one dying has not been convicted of a crime.

I love watching liberal "thought" in action.

It is so deep.

So intellectual!

ndspinelli said...

These two guys along w/ LouisCK and Chris Rock had a very good conversation on political correctness on an HBO special. You should know brave comedians are our front line against the thought and speech police, and some are not so brave. I think Lenny Bruce would be a traitor and very pc if he lived in this culture.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm not liberal, but isn't the better counter for abortion/death penalty that, you know, one is the state carrying out the act, the other is the state merely permitting it? That I think is at least an intellectual difference (which I can imagine people will accept/reject with varying intensities.) But that's at least stronger than: "They're just different!"

tim maguire said...

Abortion is a funny one. The generally liberal supporters of abortion, having (as Reagan aptly pointed out) already been born, take the position, "I've got mine, screw you!" A position they like to ascribe to conservatives.

Meanwhile, the generally conservative opponents of abortion are standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves, giving voice to the voiceless. A position liberals like to think they alone embrace.

Will said...

Jay's got it right.
The Roman Catholic position is consistent: protect life from conception to natural death.
The typical conservative position is consistent: opposed to abortion, but convicted felons may be put to death.
The hard-hearted utilitarian can also be consistent: pro-abortion and pro-death penalty.
The liberal position is inconsistent: pro-abortion and anti-death penalty.

Ralph L said...

this comic conversation
I dispute that characterization. Was there canned laughter?

wv - justrant- not as bad as Richards

Unknown said...

Matthew Sablan: But that's at least stronger than: "They're just different!"

You didn't go and confuse Ricky Gervais with a deep thinker, did you?

tim in vermont said...

Yeah the guy on death row is there because he killed a human being *after* he was born.

Before birth, you see, they are not human, so no harm, no foul.

Robert Cook said...

"I think Lenny Bruce would be a traitor and very pc if he lived in this culture."

Now how in the world can you think you have the slightest clue as to what kind of comic Lenny Bruce would be if he were alive today?
You're just typing to see yourself type, aren't you?

Robert Cook said...

"Before birth, you see, they are not human, so no harm, no foul."

Philip K. Dick takes this perspective and runs with it in his short story The Pre-Person.

Carnifex said...

Well it's nice to know that someone does recognize the cognizant dissonance.

I was raised Catholic, but lapsed. I arrived at my position of no abortion, no death penalty, by logic. That it happens to coincide with what I was taught as a child is just serendipitous.

Killing someone either by state sanctioned abortion, or execution is still killing someone. ie murder.

Carnifex said...

@RC

Zero takes that position till even after the birth. What a compassionate man.

traditionalguy said...

That made my day. Thanks for posting it.

The Austin Healy was the top of the line in 1967 college guy's car. Or it was until the Japs started selling their version of Toy cars called Toyotas and Datsuns.

That was when we figured out that the Brits were too rough rides and too unreliable compared to the Japs cars.

Thanks again.

Purvi Rajani said...

Watching this, I was struck by what a complete pussy Ricky Gervais actually is, whining about airbags and seat belts from the moment he gets in the car. He's the product of the modern, British welfare state. What happened to the great people who were once so strong and brave.

Lyle said...

Coffee doesn't really help irritable bowel syndrome.

Robert Cook said...

"Watching this, I was struck by what a complete pussy Ricky Gervais actually is, whining about airbags and seat belts from the moment he gets in the car. He's the product of the modern, British welfare state."

No, he's a typical comedian...griping about commonplace minutiae of everyday life that most people everywhere can relate to and will, therefore, hopefully...laugh at.

Paul said...

Glenn Reynolds PROPOSAL TO REPEAL THE HOLLYWOOD TAX CUTS



1. The first such proposal would be to restore the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s.

2. Limit the ability of tax-exempt organizations to escape scrutiny and hoard funds. To limit foundations' role as perpetual-employment agencies for cause-oriented Lefties (and it's mostly Lefties), Congress might require them to spend at least 10 percent of their endowment each year, with no wiggle room.

3. Limits on the charitable deduction might be worth considering: Perhaps a $50 million lifetime limit, which should surely be enough for anyone; perhaps a $1 million to $5 million annual limit. Why should fatcats like Warren Buffett be able to get millions in tax deductions that average Americans can't?

4. Limiting the pay of nonprofit leaders (including university presidents and foundation heads) to no more than the pay of a member of Congress or a Supreme Court justice might also be worthwhile. Who needs to make more money than that, especially when it's coming from tax-deductible sources? At some point, you've made enough money, as a great man once said.

5. Capping the mortgage interest deduction so that houses worth more than $250,000 are ineligible.

6. End the deductibility of state property and income taxes.


7. Eliminating the charitable deduction for all estates exceeding $500 million in gross value (Buffett, Gates)

8. Since salaries in excess of $1 million to executives are not deductible, extend this same provision to businesses paying such sums for television and motion picture acting, directing, and production. Extend the same provision to the music industry royalties, etc. (Geffen, Redstone, Spielberg, and a host of other left-coast lefties).

9. Keep the pre-Bush cut tax rates (possibly even raise them) on executives who led firms that either took TARP money in excess of $75 million or invested significant sums of money in special debt instruments or shares of firms that took TARP money, or who were paid significant bonus moneys from TARP firms during the periods immediately before they took funds from the U.S. (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GM, Citibank, JP Morgan, etc.) Make these provisions also applicable to capital gains.

10. Excise tax on all premium television transmissions in excess of 2nd tier cable or satellite packages (HBO, Showtime, etc.) Make the tax non-deductible for income taxes.

11. Extending the corporate accumulated earnings tax to all non-profits having cash, investments, and securities in excess of $500 million (Ford foundation, Pew Foundation, Harvard, Yale, etc).

Do it for the children. Do it so rich pay their 'fair share'. Do it to screw hollywood.

Robert Cook said...

"Zero takes that position till even after the birth. What a compassionate man."

Carnifex, I don't get what you mean. Can you elaborate?

deborah said...

I only watched the first minute because it wouldn't load properly. Hilarious. Love Gervais.

Ash said...

Made it two minutes.

Good Lord, Ricky. It's a car. Tell Jerry to put the top down and enjoy the ride.

What a baby.

And I'm guessing he never watched "Seinfeld" - Jerry is quite the connoisseur of cereal.

Carnifex said...

Zero was one of a few senators to vote for an abortionist to let a child die, after they screwed up the abortion, and the baby is born anyway. The case came from a nurse finding an baby that was born, after the abortion, shoved into a closet so it would die of neglect. Obama approved of that action, and as a result, I despise him for the baby murderer he wants to be.

It's worse than partial birth abortion.

Lem said...

At the end of the video, Garvais says "I'll never do this again".

Lem said...

I've never seen Jerry laugh so hard.. until this video. Genuine laughter.

DADvocate said...

I wanted one of those Austin Healy's when I was a teenager. Super cool.

Gervais is really a big scaredy cat. I'd love to give him a ride on some of the mountain roads of Tennessee I used to barrel down.

Big Mike said...

Now if only Seinfeld could join Mamet and Gelernter.

ricpic said...

Can Jerry afford a new car for each episode?

cassandra lite said...

Abortion? "Yeah, but that's different. Isn't it?

Those last two words are more telling than Seinfeld's riposte. Gervais was screaming for a lifeline, because in Celebrity Echo Chamber those questions aren't addressed with cameras rolling.

Robert Cook said...

"Zero was one of a few senators to vote for an abortionist to let a child die, after they screwed up the abortion, and the baby is born anyway. The case came from a nurse finding an baby that was born, after the abortion, shoved into a closet so it would die of neglect. Obama approved of that action, and as a result, I despise him for the baby murderer he wants to be."

If a circumstance occurred just as you describe here, that is despicable, but I wonder what might have prompted any Senator to vote in favor of such a thing. And so I must also wonder if they understood the circumstances as you have.

Amartel said...

Ricky Gervais is kind of a wuss. He has a travel show where he basically sits around a makes fun of the village idiot abroad. The idiot is sent forth to experience uncomfortable travel nightmares and Gervais snarks and giggles in the commentary.

wildswan said...

I drove around in another car from that company and it was great fun for the driver because the car holds the road very well and is very responsive and also it gets great mileage. But it is very low to the road compared to the average car - you think you might slide under big trucks or be overlooked - and it does appear to be made of tin so the passengers are less happy.
I think the abortion controversy has most in common with the abolition controversy. Everything hinges on whether a certain group of human beings has human rights. But it has a twentieth century flavor because it was introduced at the time of the "Population Bomb" scare. That was the first of the scientific scares ("Climate Change" was the next) used to introduce political and social changes.

Tim said...

"What happened to the great people who were once so strong and brave."

Socialism makes people weak, stupid and dependent. Socialists see this as a feature, not a bug.

And:

"that is despicable, but I wonder what might have prompted any Senator to vote in favor of such a thing. And so I must also wonder if they understood the circumstances as you have."

It is; they did, and did so anyway. Allowing expectant mothers to kill their unborn children is the sacrament of the Democrat Party. The fact that single women comprise the second largest cohort, percentage-wise, and the single most reliable voting bloc, again, percentage-wise, of the Democrat base explains the math.

It is nothing by pure expediency, and absolutely nothing more.

Quaestor said...

Carnifex wrote:
Killing someone either by state sanctioned abortion, or execution is still killing someone. ie murder.

So how about a soldier killing the enemy in war?

hombre said...

R Cook wrote: I must also wonder if they understood the circumstances as you have.

Obama must have understood the circumstances, since he lied repeatedly about his role in opposing the legislation to protect abortion survivors.

(See: e.g. http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/Obamacoveruponbornalive.htm
and links)

Robert Cook said...

"So how about a soldier killing the enemy in war?"

If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder.

Note: none of our current wars or recent wars or not-as-recent wars have been in self-defense.

paminwi said...

"If a circumstance occurred just as you describe here, that is despicable, but I wonder what might have prompted any Senator to vote in favor of such a thing. And so I must also wonder if they understood the circumstances as you have."

That very circumstance did happen but I guess you were just too caught up in the "Hope & Change" BS Obama was shoveling. If you did ANY research on the man besides what was shoveled at us by the media you would have learned this.

Are you saying Obama didn't "understand" the circumstances? But, but, but I thought he was the smartest President we have ever had!!!!

You people who voted for this guy are truly fools of major proportions.

Carnifex said...

That's a goos question, Q-man.

I reckon I would take the course of Sargent York. Do my duty but not enjoy it. Sometimes the righteous should defend themselves. That's why I don't get too upset if someone shoots a criminal. The good that is done outways the evil of the killing, especially in the defense of a helpless victim. And no, I am not going to go on a spree killing abortionists. While I think it is grossly wrong, I recognize that people do make choices I disagree with all the time. Makes life a lot more interesring.

As far as the story about the baby and the nurse...

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/292204/obama-s-infanticide-votes-patrick-brennan

My mistatement was that he voted to allow the babies to die, when in fact he voted to not protect the babies after the botched abortion and susequent birth.. You say potato, I say potato too.

My excuse is old age, and extreme dislike for abortion :-)

Marshal said...

Robert Cook said...

If a circumstance occurred just as you describe here, that is despicable, but I wonder what might have prompted any Senator to vote in favor of such a thing. And so I must also wonder if they understood the circumstances as you have.


Interestingly, we've finally found the line where RC throws over his "they're all the same" mantra - a Krugmanesque rhetorical dodge employed to ensure he can never be blamed for real-world policy shortcomings - and it's to defend leftist politicians from the abortionist position closest to infanticide. Revealing.

but I wonder what might have prompted any Senator to vote in favor of such a thing.

Strange, you have no problem asserting venal motives in all other circumstances. Why the sudden confusion?

In truth they simply asserted it didn't exist so they didn't have to defend it. When contrary evidence was presented they shouted "squirrel!". Here at Althouse this is known as the Garage Maneuver.

Writ Small said...

All four combinations can be internally consistent.

1) Pro Life / Anti Death Penalty – Consistently opposed to any taking of a human life.

2) Pro Choice / Anti Death Penalty – Consistently opposed to the state exerting power over the individual.

3) Pro Life / Pro Death Penalty – Consistently supportive of protecting the innocent.

4) Pro Choice / Pro Death Penalty – Consistently supportive of hard choices for the greater societal good.

Although 1 and 4 are polar opposites (as are, of course, 2 and 3), I tend to most admire those who take positions 1 or 4. It is evidence of an independent mind.

Quaestor said...

Cookie wrote:
If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder. Note: none of our current wars or recent wars or not-as-recent wars have been in self-defense.

Total bullshit, which is typical for Cookie, the man with no brain.

So a man pulls gun on you and is about to fire. A cop (who is in no immediate danger) kills the gunman. So by your lights (dim, very dim) the cop's a murderer.

So which army was full of murderers in WWI?

AprilApple said...

Liberal hearts bleed for cold blooded killers. Not so much for the unborn.

AprilApple said...

I hope more people put the
"Repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts" on their bumpers.

I prefer:
"Lefty hollywood commies should pay higher taxes and open their homes to the poor", but I doubt the libtards would get it.

traditionalguy said...

So why did we make the Emperor of Japan go on a murder all the Chinese spree and tempt him into a sneak attack on the USN fleet at dock in Pearl Harbor?

It was all that Jew Lover Roosevelt and his cowardly, mongrel Americans who caused that.

And than FDR actually believed in a strange Hungarian Jew scientist and made nuclear fission bombs before Hitler could finish making his.

I guess self defense is in the eye of the beholder.

YoungHegelian said...

Seinfeld & David, et al. built their careers on how the bi-coastal "betters" think themselves superior but really aren't.

The only problem is that the realization that one's milieu is full of poseurs doesn't really give one any insight into what to replace the fakery with.

Isn't Seinfeld's exchange with Gervais of a piece with the whole tenor of Seinfeld the series?

Robert Cook said...

"...I guess you were just too caught up in the "Hope & Change" BS Obama was shoveling. If you did ANY research on the man besides what was shoveled at us by the media you would have learned this."

Not at all. If you assume I voted for or have supported or do support Obama, you are mistaken.

Robert Cook said...

Qaestor and Traditional Guy both assume I said something I didn't.

traditionalguy said...

Sorry Cookie. But you threw us a hanging curve.

Aridog said...

Just love it when liberal celebrity deep thinkers talk about death, killing, and dying, when none of them have ever faced it, or done it, and they think it is a philosophical issue.

Scott M said...

and Jerry has just quoted Gary Gilmore's last words

Those are Gilmore's last known words. His actual last words could very well have been something like, "How do like that box cutter shoved up your ass, Ahmed?"

Bender said...

Yeah, but that's different. Isn't it?

Without seeing the clip, I don't believe that Ricky Gervais said that for one minute. That does not sound like him at all.

What he would say is something more like "Yeah, but that's different, innit?"

Carnifex said...

RC has always been adament in his dislike for Zero...Give him props for that. Now if we can just get rid of the rest of the liberal mindset we'll have a good guy to have n our side ;-)

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kansas City said...

Tim MaGuire's comment high in this threat is so good, I'm just going to repeat it:

"Abortion is a funny one. The generally liberal supporters of abortion, having (as Reagan aptly pointed out) already been born, take the position, "I've got mine, screw you!" A position they like to ascribe to conservatives.

Meanwhile, the generally conservative opponents of abortion are standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves, giving voice to the voiceless. A position liberals like to think they alone embrace."

And writ small also is pretty good in showing that there is not necessarily a contradiction is views that seem contradictory on abortion and death penalty.

Good stuff. I was suprised the Seinfeld would utter such words challenging liberal thought.

Quaestor said...

[Quaestor and Traditional Guy both assume I said something I didn't.

Having painted himself into a corner Cookie nervously searches for the exits. The inner weasel strikes!

Ha! I assumed nothing, bozo. You wrote: If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder. Note: none of our current wars or recent wars or not-as-recent wars have been in self-defense. And I shot you down in flames. The only thing I assumed is that you'd try to worm your way out of the dilemma you foolishly created for yourself. And i was right.

jr565 said...

Robert Cooke,
One could argue that a preemptive war is in fact a defensive one.

Bender said...

If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder

When Britain and France declared war on Germany in 1939, they had not been attacked themselves, they were not defending themselves. So, were Britain and France the murderers of that war? Was Germany then only defending itself when engagements with both of them did later happen?

Saint Croix said...

I was struck by what a complete pussy Ricky Gervais actually is, whining about airbags and seat belts from the moment he gets in the car.

Fear is his schtick. W.C. Fields used fear throughout his career, too.

He's the product of the modern, British welfare state.

I think his fear comes out of his atheism, actually. He doesn't believe in an afterlife. So this is it. When he dies, it's over. So he's terrified of death.

Woody Allen, that's another comic who really works fear, particularly fear of his own death.

Gervais is particularly brilliant in Ghost Town. Hilarious movie.

What's funny about this bit is Jerry Seinfeld as a sadist.

Robert Cook said...

"One could argue that a preemptive war is in fact a defensive one."

One could.

And one would be either right or wrong, depending on the particular circumstances.

In most cases, one would probably be wrong, as calling an aggressive war of choice against another nation a preemptive defensive strike is the easiest way to justify one's own aggression. Even Hitler used that excuse for invading Poland.

Robert Cook said...

Qaestor,

I said nothing about WWII. That's older than "not so recent."

I have said here on more than one occasion that our engagement in WWII was the only war in more than 100 years that we have fought in actual self-defense. In response, more than one of the Althouse reg'lars have disputed this, saying we didn't have to join in the fighting in WWII.

Okay, I'm willing to entertain arguments to that effect--and we certainly ended the war as war criminals and murderers with our firebombing and nuking of Japan--but, at the very least, it can be argued quite convincingly that our participation in WWII was necessary as a defense of ourselves and of Europe. I'll give you that one, but no others or our wars in the modern era can be said to be legitmate wars of defense.

dbp said...

Our family had a red version of this car back when I was a kid. I would sit in the middle of the back, with my older sister on one side and my older brother on the other. My mom would have the younger sister on her lap.

It had all kinds of oddball quirks: You would put oil into it from somewhere down by the drivers side floor and it had knock-off wheels--held on by a single giant nut on the hub.

Nichevo said...

Cook, don't you ever get tired of being so saintly and being stuck among all us sinners? The barbarians trying to figure out what to do with J, or as we also knew him, Jared Loughner?

The criminal murderers trying to get the Japs to surrender ASAP without murdering, or whatever is your word since we are the murderers, more millions of Asian and Allied troops and prisoners? And incidentally dying in far greater numbers themselves without the Bomb?

The murderous criminals trying to look into the future and see what was going to happen with wonderful, definitely non-murderous Uncle Joe and his tovarishches in Moscow?

It's so wearing to hear you incessantly carping at men who crap bigger than you. What have you ever done with your life? You're an old man to still have your skull full of mush. Probably you're just a troll, an improved Alex. Nobody could believe what you claim to believe! I'd love to see how your desired alternative history would read. Lay it out for us, what ought everybody to have done?

SPImmortal said...

Okay, I'm willing to entertain arguments to that effect--and we certainly ended the war as war criminals and murderers with our firebombing and nuking of Japan--but, at the very least, it can be argued quite convincingly that our participation in WWII was necessary as a defense of ourselves and of Europe. I'll give you that one, but no others or our wars in the modern era can be said to be legitmate wars of defense.

---------------

Really what's the difference between "defending Europe" and defending say, South Vietnam or South Korea or ourselves from Islamic terrorism?

EMD said...

I guess you can just arrange things the way you like them... when you're rich, famous, like you.

Not so sure he was re-orienting himself as you say.

I think he was dumping on Gervais's type of political and ethical thinkers.

Seinfeld has always struck me as quite non-political. I'm not sure he's entirely comfortable with typical H'wood left-wingers.

Quaestor said...

Robert Cook wrote:
I said nothing about WWII. That's older than "not so recent."

Neither did I. To quote myself: So which army was full of murderers in WWI? maybe I'm in error, but the abbreviation WWI refers to the 1914-1918 conflict know to its English-speaking participants as The Great War.

You said If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder. I demanded you identify the murders in WWI, a simple question still awaiting reply.

It was Traditionalguy and Bender who broached the subject of the Second World War, not I. And it was Bender who referenced the declarations of war against Germany by Great Britain and France in September 1939 (Notice mention of the United States? I didn't.) which very forcefully hoisted you on your own petard. Your simpleminded formula (If the war isn't in self-defense, it's murder, if I need to remind you) puts the British and French armies in the roles of murderers.

Quaestor said...

Robert Cookie wrote:
[We] certainly ended the war as war criminals and murderers with our firebombing and nuking of Japan--but, at the very least

More bullshit. Please read Downfall: the end of Imperial Japan by Richard B. Frank (a hopeless quest, methinks, to enlighten someone as bigoted as yourself) and you may gain a better understanding of the Pacific War and the choices open to the Allies.

Robert Cook said...

Qaestor,

Everyone involved in WWI were murderers.

Aridog said...

What a string of nonsense is this idea that if a war is not defensive, by some obtuse political standard, it is murder.

Bullshit. Period. Wars are fought by individuals, organized in formations called orders of battle, but the essence is individual and here's a frigging clue .... it is very damn "defensive" when you are in combat, your focus is extremely narrow, you know to survive that others have to die, and if you don't, you likely aren't coming home. Those who've been there, and did come home, even carry a guilt in their heart for mere survival.

So take this "murder" bullshit and shove it.

Quaestor said...

Robert Cook is a hopeless and elderly fool.

Ann won't ban him, but the more astute here should avoid any further contact. Making sport of him is cruel, and trying to enlighten him is futile.