May 12, 2004

Not funny.

I'm actually a big fan of Dennis Miller's, but the jokes he told last night about the Abu Graib photographs are just awful. In case you missed the show, here they are:
In preparation for today's hearings, senators spent this morning viewing more pictures of naked, bound Iraqi men--or, as Richard Simmons calls them, screen savers. ...

According to Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Congress will see even more cruel and sadistic photos and videos from Abu Graib prison. Here's an example. Brace yourselves. [Image on screen: a marquee reading "Abu Ghraib Prison/Now Appearing/Tonite/Carrot Top" with an image of the comedian Carrot Top.] That's how bad it's gotten. ...

By the way, am I the only one who's having recurring dreams of a short-haired woman with a cigarette hanging from her lips, holding me by a leash? [Image on screen: the famous picture of Lynndie England.]
The first two are especially bad, because they are the sort of stock jokes that rely mostly on invoking the name of celebrity whose name alone is supposed to trigger scoffing laughter. The third joke is offensive, but at least it's daring and in a distinctive style.

Later, interviewing Jim Lehrer, Miller asks "How's the PSB crowd digesting these photos from the prison? What's the word?" Lehrer reports shock and disbelief, followed by the thought that the behavior is part of human nature, given certain conditions. Miller then says:
Yeah, I had trouble digesting it at first, and then, over the weekend, as I ruminated about it, I ... am I imagining this or have things settled down a little in the Iraqi war theater? Is there less RPG fire? Is there less roadside bombings? I'm wondering if it's some odd way ... like in War of the Worlds, when they stumble onto the fact that it's our oxygen that killed the people from another planet or in Day of the Triffids when we found out it's salt water, in some weird way you could not threaten these people with death over there, but it seems to be that the one thing that might quell some of them is embarrassment. Is that an odd take on it, or could it be true? ... I'm thinking that maybe we should start sending over these guys who've hazed in fraternities. You know, you just ... this is how we deal with you: you take one of those planes we combat forest fires with, fill it with bacon grease and start dropping it on Fallujah. There you go! We gotta think outside the box.
I noticed that this Daily News column complaining about the level of humor on Air America got some play today--I saw it linked on Drudge Report--but these examples of Miller's humor (which strongly supports the Bush Administration) are much worse.

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