February 19, 2017

Why aren't there some great anti-Trump humor books?

I was curious about the continuing sales of Milo Yiannopoulos's book (which isn't out until June 13th*). Looking around, I stumbled into Amazon's Best Sellers in Political Humor:



I'm not surprised to see 3 versions of Milo's book hogging the top row. What shocks me is that there's nothing really happening in what I would have thought was the rich field of anti-Trump humor. There are 2 books. One is just a compilation of Doonesbury strips from the past 30 years, and it came out last July, before the "pussy" recording, before the winning of the election. Essence of old and out of date. The other one is also from last July, "A Child's First Book of Trump." Cute enough...



... but where's anything even slightly up-to-date? Where's something that deals with Trump's success, something that takes him on without assuming he's a such an easy target that the laughs are already implicitly there? Two of the next 4 books on the list are about historical figures like George Washington. The one about "The Daily Show" is a history of a humor show, not new humor at all. And the Bill Bryson book came out in 1996 (and is about traveling through England).

If you go to the link and keep scrolling, you'll have to go to #21 to find another Trump book (and it's a trifle, "The Trump Coloring Book," from December 2015, probably intended as a joke gift, with Trump in a Superman costume on the cover).  Keep scrolling, and you'll find the next Trump item at #30, "2017 Donald Trump Out of Office Countdown Wall Calendar" (which isn't a book). Then there's something like "Trump Memes" around 40, and at #66 "Not My F*cking President" (and it's another fucking coloring book).

What's up, hilarious Trump haters? Where are the books?!
_________________________

* That's one day before Donald Trump's birthday, as I learned from Trump's speech at the rally yesterday. Maybe I'd heard about his birthday before, but I don't remember, and it made us perk up with what felt like new information: His birthday is on Flag Day. Interesting that he's never made a thing out of Born on Flag Day (which is close to the old brag "born on the 4th of July").

Some people think Donald Trump is a compulsive braggart, but the absence of bragging is hard to see, so I'm pointing it out. Now, there's good reason not to brag about the date of your birth: Show me the unborn child who even knows the date and I will humor your fantasy that this naive entity may have a plan to resist expulsion from the maternal enclosure or burst forth early to claim a desirable day for his birthday.

And it's not effective to say you're more of a patriot because of your birthday when your message is let's all be very patriotic together. Here, from the transcript, is how Trump dropped the reference to his Flag Day birthday:
The dishonest media... have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” “Truth itself,” he said, “becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,” that was June 14, my birthday, 1807. 
But maybe he was subtly nudging us to think that patriotic holiday birthday means something. He'd just highlighted Thomas Jefferson, the person most famous for being born dying on an American patriotic holiday. But Jefferson didn't call attention to the fact himself. He wrote: "The only birthday I ever commemorate is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July."

67 comments:

Sydney said...

Maybe their comedic creativity is stymied by their hate.

Comanche Voter said...

I'd hypothesize that progressives really have no sense of humor. You either agree with them entirely, or you're deplorable. If you can't laugh at your own silly self (and they can't, and I at least occasionally can) you can't write a humorous book. But that's just my opinion, and I've been known to be wrong.

Michael K said...

Jefferson and Adams, his old rival, died the same day, July 4, 1826.

My wife and I were talking about Sally Hemmings yesterday. She (my wife) is a font of information on sometimes odd subjects (like What is that tree? She always knows). She was telling me the whole story of Jefferson and Sally Hemmings (who was half sister to Jefferson's wife.).

Jefferson did not free her at his death. Washington freed all his slaves at his death but Jefferson was a spendthrift and was heavily in debt. Or may he was just a jerk.

Michael K said...

"I'd hypothesize that progressives really have no sense of humor."

I agree.

You can see it in our resident trolls.

Saint Croix said...

Show me the unborn child who even knows the date and I will humor your fantasy that this naive entity may have a plan to resist expulsion from the maternal enclosure or burst forth early to claim a desirable day for his birthday.

I've read that book! It's called Nutshell. And it's awesome!

robinintn said...

Why? "That's not funneeeeee!!!"

Oso Negro said...

Maybe they can make fun of Melania again. But after watching her turn on stage in Florida, I think it is a losing effort.

rhhardin said...

No humor without truth.

Jim Nelson said...

Thomas Jefferson, born April 13, 1743

David said...

"THAT'S NOT FUNNY!'

MountainMan said...

Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Why aren't there some great anti-Trump humor books?"

Why is great Trump humor in general so rare?

A lot of successful humor implies that we are not that unlike the target -- that there is a humanity underneath the bite that the humor exposes.

Humor that stems from traits we all share, no matter how embarrassing, allows us to laugh at ourselves while also saying "Thank God I'm not as bad as THAT."

Most Trump humor denies Trump any humanity, so it only works on the basic 'My Team or Your Team' level, akin to a Sports Thread with people simply insulting the rival fans and players.

I would argue that there wasn't a lot of 'great' Obama humor, either: too polarizing for a general shared laugh. It was either fawning or fatiguing, because the same basic surface notes were played over and over again.

Mean Humor has a place, but it rarely transcends the 'Home Team'.

A way of looking at this would be to look back at Nixon humor. Much of what worked focused on a perceived sadness and awkwardness (Dan Ackroyd as Nixon, say); THAT would be homework for a modern comedian to study...

I am Laslo.







Laslo Spatula said...

Sorry foe the extra space. Clumsy, not intentionally;.

I am Laslo.

Yellow Kitty said...

... what Sydney said.

Bob Ellison said...

The best Trump humor I've seen is Conan O'Brien's Trump's phone calls to Obama.

Started well before inauguration, and still going. Mostly portrays Trump as a douchebag and Obama as a thoughtful elder, but even if you love Trump and hate Obama, you gotta appreciate the humor. Trump repeatedly calls Obama "Bar".

Wilbur said...

I looked at the sample page of "A Child's First Look at Trump".

Yeah man, nothing I like better than "Trump's excretions are appalling" humor. Very witty stuff.

GWash said...

the reason there aren't any good books YET... the reality is funnier and evolving faster than the book and be written and published...
he's already got the clown hair and the little clown hands just needs the red ball on his nose for the complete picture...
watch your wallets, it's beginning... it's going to take all we have to hold on to our republic..

Laslo Spatula said...

I looked up 'Great Nixon Humor' and clicked on "Humorous Quotes About Richard Nixon". None were particularly funny, unless you just wanted basic insults.

And, out of seventeen quotes, eight were by the humor columnist Dave Barry. Not funny either. Representative example:

"I believe that Nixon provided some of the greatest pure entertainment this nation has ever seen. When he was president, if you could disregard the fact that he was (a) the most powerful man in the world and (b) clinically insane, you could really enjoy watching him look into the TV camera, trying SO hard to appear to be a sincere, humanoid life-form. ~ Dave Barry (Dave Barry Turns Fifty)"

'Othering' does not make much true humor.

My change from two cents.

I am Laslo.

Humperdink said...

When I think of leftie humor, I think of Bill Maher. Snide and sarcasm rolled into one unfunny guy. And of course, a hero to the all things liberal.

Visited and toured President Buchanan house a few years ago. Spouse and I (plus 2 other tourists) were greeted at the door by the guide. After the brief welcome, he said: "I am here to convince you that President Buchanan was not the worst president ever". Now that was funny.

Laslo Spatula said...

"GWash said...
"...he's already got the clown hair and the little clown hands just needs the red ball on his nose for the complete picture..."

Ignore what I previously wrote.

THAT is the True Funny.

I stand corrected.

I am Laslo.

Big Mike said...

It seems to me that if humorists had made fun of the more foolish actions of Barack Obama, and if the media and the lefty columnists had pushed back harder and more often, they'd have made him a better president. They're partly to blame for the sad reality that Obama competes with Carter for the title of worst president since Buchanan.

As for Garry Trudeau, I haven't laughed any of his strips in years.

tcrosse said...

This calls for Muggeridge's Law : "We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known."

Hagar said...

It is not funny when your whole weltanschauung is being successfully attacked and undermined.

Bob Boyd said...

There aren't any funny books about Trump for the same reason there aren't any funny books about infidels.

Ken B said...

Humor requires perspective and detachment.

Big Mike said...

But Jefferson didn't call attention to the fact himself. He wrote: "The only birthday I ever commemorate is that of our Independence, the Fourth of July."

It was, famously, the date of his death. He and his political enemy John Adams -- toward the end of their lives they reconciled -- died on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Big Mike said...

@Michael K, sorry, somehow I overlooked your post.

EDH said...

"Why aren't there some great anti-Trump humor books?"

Humor would interfere with the whole 'Hitler' narrative?

wild chicken said...

Is anyone working on an unbiased Making of the President 2016? The whole thing was so fantastic that the thing could write itself.

Competent humor is too much to expect.

mockturtle said...

Several commenters have the answers.
Comanche Voter:I'd hypothesize that progressives really have no sense of humor. You either agree with them entirely, or you're deplorable. If you can't laugh at your own silly self (and they can't, and I at least occasionally can) you can't write a humorous book. But that's just my opinion, and I've been known to be wrong.

Hagar: It is not funny when your whole weltanschauung is being successfully attacked and undermined.

Ken B:Humor requires perspective and detachment.

This election has thoroughly traumatized a group of people whose emotions and intellects are so fragile that reason is impossible and humor, unthinkable.

Laslo Spatula said...

Hack Comic Mic Nite...

"Trump, man... what fucking mess we got into, right..? First of all: what is with the orange hair, right? I mean, oranges aren't even that orange. That orange doesn't come from a hair dye, it comes from a box of Trix...

And we all know about the small fingers, right? We are looking at the first President with a Napoleon Complex about his fucking hands... I mean, fingers that short, how can you 'grab a pussy' with that? It'd be like an infant trying to open a clam...

He was a TV star, I get that. But what's next America, a President from Duck Dynasty? Now we can't change the channel for four fucking years, am I right...?

And the dude has Bad Taste. Well -- not in women, if you like the Euro-Skank look, maybe -- but the way he decorates his hotels? If he was in charge of painting the Sistine Chapel he'd fire Michelangelo for not using enough gold paint... And what's with that ceiling anyway? It's wayyyyy too small -- that ceiling needs to be YUGE...

And what's with all the wives? I get liking hot women, but a Slovenian mail-order bride is the best you can do...? i'm teasing, of course: I LIKE having a First Lady I can finally jerk off to...

But don't get me wrong: he isn't totally horrible. I mean, anyone who's sperm can help make a hot-ass chick like Ivanka can't be ALL bad -- am I right? Am I right...?

You've been a great audience, thank you for laughing...

I am Laslo.

Fernandinande said...

In Trump's America, books laugh at you.

Michael K said...

Is anyone working on an unbiased Making of the President 2016? The whole thing was so fantastic that the thing could write itself.

I do, too, but wonder if there is anyone with Teddy White's willingness to look at nuts and bolts.

Fernandinande said...

a compilation of Doonesbury strips from the past 30 years

I thought that strip ended about 30 years ago.

But apparently not; doesn't make a lick o' sense, though. ("Previous" comics -> 1998, which only seems like 30 years ago).

Hagar said...

But Jefferson's surviving daughter from his first marriage, Polly, did free her Aunt Sally. Of his four surviving children with Sally Hemings, who were freed by his testament, two stayed in the area and two "went north," passed for "white," and disappeared from history.

exiledonmainstreet said...

The great masters of political humor were the Soviets, who came up with many excellent jokes. Their humor grew out of despair and hopelessness - they were so completely screwed that all they could do is come up with jokes about the endless lines they had to stand in to obtain the most basic necessities and their own powerlessness. Their jokes were not LOL funny but wry little acknowledgements of how messed up their world was.

Reagan, Thatcher and Gorbachev get to ask God a question. Reagan says, "My Lord, there are many serious problems facing the United States. When will these problems be solved?"

God says, "The problems facing the US will be solved in 20 years."

Reagan starts to cry. "I won't be president then. I won't be able to take credit for solving America's problems."

Thatcher asks when the problems facing the UK will be solved. God says, "All will be solved in 50 years."

Thatcher starts to cry. "I'll be dead then. I won't be able to see the UK with all its' problems solved."

Gorbachev says, "The USSR faces many serious problems also. When will its' problems be solved?"

God starts to cry.

Sebastian said...

"What shocks me is that there's nothing really happening in what I would have thought was the rich field of anti-Trump humor." Faux shock, right? I mean, has any anti-Trumper ever said anything funny about DJT? They don't do humor -- they are past that.

Humor depends on being able to play with shared expectations, suspending them while also confirming them. The left doesn't think it has anything in common with Trump and the deplorables, views playing with shared expectations as normalizing white supremacy, and wants to destroy rather than confirm anything associated with Trump. Good humor has a reflexive quality: a good joke is aways also on you. That is the last thing the grim, self-satsified, warrior left wants.

EDH said...

Wild Chicken said...
Is anyone working on an unbiased Making of the President 2016? The whole thing was so fantastic that the thing could write itself.

Michael K said...
I do, too, but wonder if there is anyone with Teddy White's willingness to look at nuts and bolts.


The Showtime series "The Circus" had a final episode. While we see Halperin, Heilemann and others swallow some well deserved crow, the usual look-behind-the-scenes motif was seriously curtailed election day on the Clinton side, so we didn't get to whether or not Hillary descended into a violent, drunken rage while her supporters wept under that "Glass Ceiling" monstrosity overhanging the cavernous Javits Center.

Bay Area Guy said...

Think of Caddyshack (1980). Rodney Dangerfield is funny. He is undermining the golf establishment, the status quo. We all lovd him. He is the Donald Trump character.

And who is the establishment? The uptight, highly strung Judge Smails (the hilarious Ted Baxter). He is the rich Republican.

It was damn funny at the time - and their were no liberals or leftists. They have no sense of humor, sorry.

Could there even be a LeftWing Laslo? I think not and rest my case.

khesanh0802 said...

Proving once again that the Trump haters, and Liberals in general, do not have a much of a sense of humor. Sarcasm and snark maybe, but not humor.

Bruce Hayden said...

Laslo's second post is, I think,right on. There is plenty mockable about Trump. He has long been a bigger than life character, and now he is our President. Once we catch up to him, late night comics are going to have great fun. Right now though, he and his nascent Administration are running circles around his opponents, who aren't sure of how to take him on. One day, the official narrative is that he is sexist, racist, homophobic. Now it is the chaos, which is essentially an admission that he is running rings around them. He has that long orange hair, small mouth, beautiful wives, and very distinctive mannerisms and way of speaking. He routinely repeats his big points, and invents words, though not as well as GW Bush did. Plenty to play with.

What is interesting to me is that there was so little Obama humor. He was just as mockable. Every third word in his speeches was "I", he needed a TelePrompTer to keep on topic, was obsessed by celebrities, bad at sports, his life was run by women, which is probably why he was always sneaking off or cigarettes. Beta male in an alpha male position. Mommy jeans. Plenty of comedic material, but off limits.

As, no doubt, Crooked Hillary would mostly have been. Imagine her being carried up to the podium to speak by her SS detail, with wads of me money sticking out everywhere. Or everyone she met stuffing wads of cash In her pockets, etc. then, at the end of the speech, them carrying her to her vehicle, where she is throw in, and they take off. Maybe even using a dolly. Screaming and breaking expensive things when thwarted. Her Mao outfits. A wayward husband. Her larcenous brothers. Vapid, ugly daughter. Her cookies. Muslim girlfriend/chief aide, whose family is tied closely to the Muslim Brotherhood (and, therefore, terrorism), and husband got repeatedly caught sexting as Carlos Danger. Rush, and a couple others would have a great time (as he has long had with Bubba Clinton), but overall, she would have been off limits.

Gahrie said...

What's up, hilarious Trump haters? Where are the books?!

SJWers and the radical Left don't read...they watch late night comedy shows for their intellectual needs.

tcrosse said...

I could see Trump as Bart Simpson to Hillary's Lucy van Pelt. You'd need both of them for it to work. Also, you'd have to accept Hillary as the stuck-up mean girl, rather than the smart, loving, wonderful person some people accept in spite of all evidence to the contrary. No problem accepting DJT as a trickster.

rehajm said...

Amazon: Often purchased together- Trump coloring book + Crayola crayons, box of 8 (orange only)

HA!

Michael K said...

But Jefferson's surviving daughter from his first marriage, Polly, did free her Aunt Sally.

Yes but it doesn't say much for Jefferson.

I would call him a "limousine liberal" except there were no limousines then and the political left is not liberal.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Humor requires perspective and detachment."

So comedians are required to watch their Johnson being chopped off?

That explains the bitterness.

Roy Lofquist said...

Laslo,

About that extra space - we don't believe you, you thread hog you.

Achilles said...

The left is not allowed to be funny. Look at what happened to Bill Maher for having a reasonable conversation with Milo. He is getting absolutely hammered by the leftist thugs. It is not a majority of the left but it is a significant number that if you even associate or talk to someone who disagrees they attack you viciously.

They do not engage in reason or good faith. They are scorched earth. Progressivism has turned into a religion and they aren't even self aware to notice they are more like the Spanish inquisition than a political movement.

Yancey Ward said...

Sheesh,

Laslo knocks it out of the park even when he isn't writing tongue in cheek.

Yancey Ward said...

Sabastian wrote:

"Good humor has a reflexive quality: a good joke is always also on you. That is the last thing the grim, self-satisfied, warrior left wants." (typos fixed by Y.W.)

Many made this point correctly, but that boils it down to the basics.

buwaya said...

Laslo is right of course.

Trump isnt within the tribe anymore, though he was at one time actually an insider, an eccentric one. He was at one time inherently funny but unthreatening. He was an entertainer, a man playing a character. Before 2015 he was easy enough to make fun of, in the understanding that on some level he himself invited the mockery. This is safe.

But he is threatening now because his supporters are an alien horde. Trump has picked up their alien cooties. This is part of the great polarization ongoing since the 1960s. Its not that Trump himself is scary, it is that the national split is scary.

mockturtle said...

Yancey Ward observes: Laslo knocks it out of the park even when he isn't writing tongue in cheek.

Indeed he does. One of the most perceptive writers I've ever encountered.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"SJWers and the radical Left don't read...they watch late night comedy shows for their intellectual needs"

Very true of the younger ones. When your entire worldview is informed by Michael Moore documentaries and your Facebook feed, it's a safe bet that your ignorance is high and your critical thinking nonexistent. God Bless them, though. They're dragging the Boomer Left over a cliff.

rcocean said...

Most Left-wing humor is just "I hate that guy" or "Boy, that republican sure is stupid" "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot" is a perfect example.

The "Republicans sure are stupid" meme is often the fodder for unintentional humor, since ignorant/dumb liberals often get the facts wrong or show themselves to be dumbasses as they laugh at the Republicans.

If you're the kind of person who thinks Bill Maher or Al Francken is "wicked smart" you're probably a dumbass liberal.

Michael K said...

Its not that Trump himself is scary, it is that the national split is scary.

Richard Fernandez has been writing about this for a while.

Now he is getting more worried.

Leftists have become fond of saying that Trump shouldn’t be 'normalized.' That concern should now go both ways. Every American should be equally concerned at the potential 'normalization' of the tactics used by unnamed government officials to do Flynn in. ...
This is the ultimate Pandora’s box. It makes a public mockery of the presumption of innocence that is the hallmark of our legal system. Such a thing is only acceptable, even morally, if you believe that the Trump White House represents such an unprecedented threat to everything that a higher law must govern your actions.

But dangerous or not, the game is afoot. A fight is on between what Kristol called the "deep state" and "the Trump state". It marks an escalation between the incoming Trump crew and the coalition consisting of establishment Republicans, Democrats, media and intelligence bureaucrats.


It will get worse. Maybe a spanking in the 2018 election will bring Democrats to their senses but I wonder.

Andrew Klaven has decided to join the side of the good guys.

The Deep State is that collection of influential people in the bureaucracies and intelligence agencies who largely remain in place no matter who wins an election. The power of these people lies, for the most part, in regulation, obstruction and the control of government secrets. A law is passed in Congress by elected officials using constitutional means so that we the people have some say in its contents. But the enforcement of that law through regulation is wholly beyond our reach. If an irresponsible and power-hungry president should decide, say, that a law against sex-based discrimination can suddenly be interpreted to cover people who think they're the sex that they're not, it would give the federal government control even over who uses bathrooms in your child's school. I know that's an extreme example of something that could never happen in real life, but the point remains.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Calvin Coolidge was born on the 4th of July. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe died on it, the first two on the 50th anniversary, many many miles apart.

James Madison died almost a week earlier (June 28. 1835)

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Telling that Melanie Trump didn't recite the Presbyterian version, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," and instead went with "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Is that a message to the dreamers, that they won't be deported? Or to Putin, in the same vein as "You think our country is so innocent?"

buwaya said...

The "trespasses" version is from the King James Bible, which has long been the model for English language Bibles, even Catholic ones - I learned it as "trespasses" myself in Catholic schools. It is by far the most recognizable text.

It would be quite odd to use a Presbyterian text.

buwaya said...

Richard Fernandez (kababayan ko 'yan - but he went to Harvard)
is always worth listening to.
I have been concerned about US factionalism for years, since just before the Iraq war. Every day it seems there are fewer mutual interests and more is becoming zero-sum.

traditionalguy said...

The Constantine's Christian Roman Empire died out in Rome by ca 450 AD. It went full tilt in Christian Byzantium another thousand years after the Germanic tribes had sacked Rome over and over. Slavs were new comers into Byzantine Christianity when Cyrillbrought it to Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia.

SeanF said...

Althouse: Show me the unborn child who even knows the date and I will humor your fantasy that this naive entity may have a plan to resist expulsion from the maternal enclosure or burst forth early to claim a desirable day for his birthday.

My brother was born just before midnight on April 1st. The medical staff supposedly assured my mother that he would not come until after midnight, and she was rather annoyed when he was born on the 1st instead of the 2nd.

My brother, for his part, insists that he was trying to hold on, but she just kept pushing and pushing...

I was just happy to have something so simple and convenient to tease him about. :)

rehajm said...

If you're the kind of person who thinks Bill Maher or Al Francken is "wicked smart" you're probably a dumbass liberal.

...from Eastern Massachusetts.

mockturtle said...

Wicked, maybe...

Sammy Finkelman said...

Q. Why aren't there any great anti-Trump humor books?

A. Most of the anti-Trump humor is very topical.

Rod Gonzalez said...

Check this out. It has illustrations! Yes, Trump himself might be able to finish this 32 page book!

Go to: https://www.facebook.com/theamazingmrplump/

And... https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+amazing+mr.+plump+and+his+wonderful+wall

Rod Gonzalez said...

After reading (some) of the comments it occurs to me that some of you have gone WAY off topic.

The question was Why aren't there (some) great anti-Trump humor books.

I'd suggest you check out "The Amazing Mr. Plump and his Wonderful Wall". It's a relatively quick read, so for those of you (Like Trump) that disdain the written word, you won't have to spend too much time deciphering those squiggly lines because there are also pictures!

It's also written at (about) a sixth grade reading level, so no one will be taxed with trying to figure out any really big words.

Check out the Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/theamazingmrplump/

P.S. It's a parable, so Plump=Trump. Don't want any haters out there saying I got the name wrong.

f said...

Well, there's this one... "Twitter & wisdom" https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1542614139/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=