November 17, 2017

Liberal websites absorb/process the Al Franken news, part 2: The New Yorker.

The New Yorker, Disappointment....



(Click to enlarge.)

The New Yorker front page has an especially minimal look right now, and the headline on Franken — "Al Franken, Disappointment/The Democratic senator’s straight shooting contained other, darker secrets" — is accompanied by a harshly lit black and white photo (showing a tragic man so different from the smiling, breast-groping Franken we saw everywhere else). The key word is "disappointment." We had such hopes for you, Al, the New Yorker says.

The Roy Moore story is allowed to drop to the second row, paired with a story about a comedian who isn't Al Franken. And you have to go down to the third row — not pictured — to get the first mention of Trump, and that's in a story about the new cafĂ© in the Tiffany store on 5th Avenue that's hard to access because it's next to Trump Tower.

Let's read "Al Franken, Disappointment." It's by Eric Lach, who's written about Al Franken in The New Yorker before, in "Can Al Franken Be a Funny Senator?" — a question that must have been intriguing last June, when it was published. That piece also contains obsolete material like:
Franken notes... how, during the Presidential campaign, Trump’s words—unfunny, offensive, untrue—didn’t hurt him with voters the way they would have hurt most politicians. It’s not a new observation, but the book begs the reader to consider that, while Trump was elected President even after the release of a recording in which he talked about grabbing women “by the pussy,” Franken’s own Senate campaign worried about whether an old “Saturday Night Live” joke about Anne Frank—“I think a bad Hanukkah gift for Anne Frank would have been a drum set”—might be a real issue with voters.
The new article, which went up yesterday, is quite short. From the title, we expect it to express love for Al Franken, because you need a foundation of love before you can experience disappointment. "Disappointment" is the feeling a parent cites when giving a child a talking-to. Eric Lach begins with a discussion of Franken's penchant for "eviscerating"* witnesses at Senate hearing, then wonders how Franken would attack an apology as lame as the one Franken put out yesterday.

Franken, the comedian, had joked about his human flaws...
... “I only did cocaine so I could stay up late enough to make sure nobody else did too much cocaine,” Franken joked in his book—but if we acknowledge those flaws, and accept them, can’t we then go about the business of being good to one another? And yet for Franken, like Louis C.K. before him, it turns out that the public confessional routine was incomplete....
And that smile — which had seemed so "generous, winning, and wry" — became so "different" when he was mocking his easy access to the sleeping Leeann Tweeden.**

Lach moves on to Franken's second apology, the apology that "seemed to be trying to make amends*** for the first." It was too late to avert the "damage," Lach informs us, even as he nudges us to appreciate the second-apology junk about the need for a "national conversation":
“There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.” In the “national conversation” about gender and power, the art of the male apology is still being perfected.
Did Franken say "national conversation" or are those scare quotes? I'd have to leave the New Yorker website to find out. That's pretty annoying. (And I've long been annoyed by the word "conversation" in political speech.)
_______________________

* "Eviscerating" is Franken's word, and in its nonfigurative original meaning, it is a violent intrusion on the body of another person — the tearing out of the internal organs. "I can’t help it,” Franken wrote. "I love getting these guys." Aggression, loved, enjoyed. I doubt if Franken was ever much good at physical fights with other men, but with the power of his elected office, he had the ability to "get these guys" and he exults in the pleasure. I mistrust everyone who seeks political power because I suspect they might have a psyche like that, but Franken delights in it — like a man smiling for the camera as he gropes for an incapacitated woman's breasts, something most men would only do furtively or not at all. The New Yorker author, in the first paragraph of the article, pats Franken on the back for his "show-business charisma and his passion for straight talk." (I wonder if Lach thought about how you could say the same thing about Trump's "grab them by the pussy" remark.)

** I was tempted to write "sleeping beauty," and it made me think of a New Yorker humor piece last week, by Blythe Roberson, "Disney Princes Reimagined as Feminist Allies." What about that prince that kisses Sleeping Beauty? She cannot consent. Here's how the humor was done just days before Franken's enjoyment of his access to a sleeping beauty:
Prince Phillip would never touch a woman without her consent. He knows that a woman in a magically induced coma cannot consent, even if she was flirting with him in the woods earlier, and even if they have been betrothed since birth. (He feels weird about the betrothed-since-birth thing, but doesn’t want to confront his conservative family about it, because it makes him uncomfortable.) Prince Phillip is horrified to hear that there are men in the kingdom who do not wait for a woman’s consent, and he issues a proclamation asking women to relive their traumas on social media, for the sake of “awareness.” He doesn’t talk to any of his bros about it because he knows that they are good dudes.
*** "Amends" sent me looking for Franken's old Stuart Smalley routines, and the one that popped up — "Um... I'd like to start the show... by making an amends" — had that other Al who got into sexual trouble, Al Gore. Speaking about disappointment, Stuart helps Gore talk about the disappointment of the 2000 election:

54 comments:

Fabi said...

Disappointment that he ruined the narrative.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

One thing glares at me. The GOP has no idea how to do opposition research. Where was all this information back when we needed to defeat this clown?

Sebastian said...

What's happening to Franken is funnier than anythng he ever said.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

The Giant Dick of the Senate.


(move over swamp creatures.)

DanTheMan said...

Can somebody explain how the Anne Frank drum set joke is supposed to be offensive? I think it's funny in a Deep Thoughts sort of way...

Gabriel said...

Oh, Franken expresses physical aggression, usually while the victim's back is to him.

“I got down low and took his legs out,” said Franken afterwards... Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.

“I was a wrestler so I used a wrestling move,” Franken said.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can somebody explain how the Anne Frank drum set joke is supposed to be offensive?"

Look at the trouble Larry David got into recently for a monologue bit about concentration camps, which was nothing more than the idea that he would be interested in getting to have a sexual relationship with a woman even if he were in a concentration camp. The mere failure to be 100% somber about the Holocaust, apparently.

Birkel said...

Franken was apparently a pretty decent wrestler. That might mean he was, at some point, able to do well in physical altercations with people his own size.

Feranindianide said...

"(Click to enlarge.)"

Tattooed on a scary penis?

Nah, just magic marker.

Mrs. X said...

I'm continually grateful that you read these things so I don't have to.

Laslo Spatula said...

Ted Kennedy's Ghost, the Stand-Up Comic...

Good evening everyone -- great crowd, great crowd...

It's tough being a Kennedy, it's tough. Tough, ah, being the brother of John and Bobby. John and Bobby: my brothers. For instance: Johnny, he fucked Marilyn Monroe. He did: he fucked Marilyn. And Bobby: he fucked Marilyn, too. Bobby fucked Marilyn Monroe. Me, ah, I didn't get to fuck Marilyn. No Marilyn for Teddy: tough, I tell you...

I miss them: I miss my brothers. Both of them got shot; I didn't get shot. So they fucked Marilyn, and they got shot. Neither of which, ah, happened to me. Win some, lose some, my father used to say. When he wasn't fucking whores, he said that...

But I've had my share of girls, oh yes. Girls: I've had many. Ah, it reminds me of a joke me and my brothers used to tell; here, I'll, ah, tell it to you...

"How many Kennedys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"

"Ah, it depends on how many girls are in the lightbulb."

Yeah, we'd laugh over that one...

But I was a big supporter of Feminism in the day, I'm, ah, proud of that. Society needs to be equal, and something had to be done for the girls who weren't that pretty...

My dry cleaner, he'd say to me: "Mr. Kennedy, I've been doing your laundry for years. And you have so many shirts and ties, but not many pants." And I'd tell him "I don't, ah, have as much need for pants." Because I often walked around without wearing, ah, pants...

Tough to be a politician, today. It seems like everybody is, ah, upset about sex. In my day, the women were discreet. For instance, Mary Jo Kopechne, she, ah, never said a word...

Yeah: poor Mary Jo. Ah, today, she'd probably be tweeting from her phone inside the car, under the water. Hashtag I'm Drowning, Hashtag Drunk Teddie Can't Drive, Hashtag This Water Is Cold: things like, ah, that, I suspect. When all she would need to do was Google "How to get out of an underwater car..."

Maybe this sounds like I don't take the whole, ah, the whole thing seriously. I do take it seriously, seriously indeed. Oh, I prayed after Mary Jo, I prayed. I prayed that, after that day, all the bridges I would have to drive over, ah, had guardrails...

But it seems tough to be a man in politics today. Women are touchy about being touched. Ha, that's funny: touchy, touched. That's the fabled Kennedy Wit, right there. In my day, if a woman didn't want you to touch her, she would just leave. Then the Secret Service guys, they'd bring her right back -- it was fun back then...

You've been great, thank you...

I am Laslo.

Fritz said...

Franken bragged about "taking down" a heckler at a Howard Dean rally in 2004

Pretty clearly assault by his own admission.

Professional lady said...

I've always thought the Stuart Smalley thing was creepy.

D said...

That is very true, Ms Althouse. It makes me immediately think of the issue of timing and comedy. What is funny today is not funny, maybe, tomorrow.

Which is why comedy is never open in an oppressive society.
"Mr X - you are guilty of todays law Y"
"But but but I made that joke years ago!"
"You did not read 1984. He who controls the past..."

On a completely different riff off your original point, but still about timing, it is interesting to note where horrible historical events may (italics) become funny at a certain point. I cannot think that a monty python skit about the ridiculousness of ww1 (the one with the tea set) would work at all in 1926. I may be incorrect.

I personally find many events of the French Rev to have been appalling, but no one would re consider jokes using those human beings in 2017. Times inevitably change.

jwl said...

I am a Canadian who wonders what skeletons in closet my Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has because he been selling himself as a feminist or very female friendly. And I can't help but notice over the years that these types of male are kinda skeevy.

William Chadwick said...

Speaking of Teddy Kennedy . . . Franken's "Giant of the Senate" reminds me of that gag about Teddy (attributed to Jim Treacher among others): "He was the Lion of the Senate. He mated without limit and killed without remorse."

When "liberal" State-f**let's are disappointed, freedom gets a break. Let's keep them disappointed, forever!

traditionalguy said...

Frankenstein revealed he believes women
are jokes. That is a reaction to fear of women rejecting him.

His asking for sympathy for his weakness is not working because he has been Mr Judgemental about everybody else.

And Judge Moore will win to say FU to the Alabama haters like Minnesotans.

DanTheMan said...

First they came for the Anne Frank jokes, but I did not speak out because I wasn't a Jew hiding from the Naxis....

Patrick said...

The GOP has no idea how to do opposition research. Where was all this information back when we needed to defeat this clown?

You may be (provably are) correct about GOP opposition research, but I very much doubt it would work. Franken will still win the next election, probably won't be that close. They will overlook anything if the guy has the correct opinion.

Bonus: auto correct changed "correct" to "curvy."


11/17/17, 8:40 AM

Tim Gilliland said...

I really didn't think he was funny on SNL -and I saw it first run back in the 70's. The only bit I remember was his announcement of the "Al Franken Decade" A joke that kind of went nowhere and petered out after a few minutes.
Compared to Belushi, Ackroyd, Chase or Murray, he was second-rate.
That said, the photo is really more of a frat boy prank, in my opinion rather than a serious attempt at sex assault or harassment. The tongue thing was to me a far worse infraction. But, career ending? No it should not be. If he has a proven track record of pressing himself on women ala Joe Biden, then perhaps.
I feel like the hysterics need a remedial course in the facts of life or something. Men are sexual agressors in most cases. Not monsters, hunters. No one faults the lion for taking down a zebra. If they have any home training worth a damn they are socialized to control their impulses and behave in relations to women, but it is a learned behavior.


DanTheMan said...

As to Ted, the saying in our house for dealing with future problems is: "We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it"

jwl said...

The Atlantic - Power Causes Brain Damage:

But that’s not far from where Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, ended up after years of lab and field experiments. Subjects under the influence of power, he found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury—becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/power-causes-brain-damage/528711/

Kate said...

He's confessed and apologized, absolution is in process, and he'll be sin free by next week.

roesch/voltaire said...

If the Me Too movement asks us to consider a forced kiss or an on camera pretend grope of a women supposedly asleep and rape or trolling for teens as egregious sexual aggression, and they are, then it must also ask us to determine the degree of aggression, the correct consequences and the veracity of the accusation with the understanding that all women are not liars or the cause of original sin, although some may weaponize victimhood to their advantage-- other wise it risks diluting this important historical moment into a sex panic or a footnote before the status quo of male authority reemerges.

Darrell said...

the release of a recording in which he talked about grabbing women “by the pussy,”

Yeah, he "talked" about it--about unnamed hypothetical "stars" that are allowed by women to grab their pussy. He never said he did it himself. Just as honest as saying that William F. Buckley talked about killing nearly twenty million people in Russia. When he was talking about Stalin.

rhhardin said...

Franken’s own Senate campaign worried about whether an old “Saturday Night Live” joke about Anne Frank—“I think a bad Hanukkah gift for Anne Frank would have been a drum set”—might be a real issue with voters.

That's a great joke. Who are these voters.

Darrell said...

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the writer who wrote about the Soviet gulag system from personal experience, claimed the true number of Stalin’s victims might have been as high as 60 million.

rhhardin said...

national conversation

The point will always be that the debate is already over, a debate which never happened, supporting, as DBQ put it, woman worship, as the political force of the day.

The women can handle their own problems on an interpersonal level side doesn't come up.

Everything that doesn't involve force might be business as usual, beneficial dealmaking, or courtship for that matter. It varies all over the place.

Force is a crime. Deal with everything else.

See Kliest's Marquise of O for an interesting case.

LincolnTf said...

Solzhenitsyn managed to work a lot of black humor into his work. "One Day In The Life Ivan Denisovich" has a few almost-laugh-out-loud riffs.

Michael said...

"Conversation" is political-speak for "Lecture."

Darrell said...

Franken liked the rape jokes. You all know the Leslie Stalh routine, but he wrote another skit where Carl Reiner would rape his young son Rob when he had famous houseguests over during the Dick Van Dyke era. SNL never went with that. Surprisingly.

Tank said...

Sebastian said...

What's happening to Franken is funnier than anythng he ever said.


This !

Bill Peschel said...

Thought experiment: Would she have felt violated if it was George Clooney who felt her up?

As for using Franken's SNL skits against him, I'm sure nobody would have cared. After all, look at what they said about Reagan's career.

DanTheMan said...

Conversation is political speech for "Your confession"

Tim Gilliland said...

Franken's forte was frat-boy humor. It increasingly looked lame the older he got. Really, who want to laugh at a 40 year old frat boy? Pathetic.

Drago said...

Darrell: "Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the writer who wrote about the Soviet gulag system from personal experience, claimed the true number of Stalin’s victims might have been as high as 60 million"

That's the kind of information that drives a good lefty like ARM into a prolonged and intense discussion about next weeks weather possibilities and why people in the midwest should stop using Amazon.

Curious George said...

"Bill Peschel said...
Thought experiment: Would she have felt violated if it was George Clooney who felt her up?"

Would your wife? Mother? Daughter? Sister?

Birches said...

After championing Ronan Farrow, The NYer really couldn't ignore this story.

William said...

Richard Dreyfus presented the Platonic ideal of a PC apology. He commended the woman for her courage in coming forward. He denied the criminal part of the woman's allegations. He admitted to being an asshole in his dealings with her and other women. Pitch perfect....It took Franken two tries to nail the landing on his apology. That's unacceptable for an elected official. They should get it right on the first attempt. Franken should issue a third apology and express contrition for the ineptitude of his first apology........Franken is both an entertainer and a politician. Someone with his background should have far more skill at being a phony.

rcocean said...

Weirdly, for a short guy who looks like a toad, Franken is very combative and proudly macho. Of course, he's very careful as to who he gets "combative" with.

He challenged wimpy Rich Lowery or maybe it was fellow "girly man" Jonah Goldberg to a fist-fight. However, he stayed clear of O'Reilly - going so far to ask Pat Shroeder to protect him - when it looked like Billy O was going to give him a beat down.

Again, only a clown state like Minnesota would elect him. Its seems you can take the dumb Swede out of Sweden, but you can never...etc.

tcrosse said...

Again, only a clown state like Minnesota would elect him.

It's arguable that in 2008 we didn't. BTW, the main ethnic groups in Minnesota are Irish and German.

DanTheMan said...

Funny that a crude gesture is seen as enough to remove him from office but his admission of dozens if not hundreds felonies over many years isn't....

Yancey Ward said...

“I think a bad Hanukkah gift for Anne Frank would have been a drum set”

That is roll-on-floor-laughing-your-ass-off funny.

tcrosse said...

Franken's apology doesn't go far enough. He should Kiss It and Make It Better.

Yancey Ward said...

I have written it before, and will do so again- it is funny watching progressives forced to smell their own shit.

Biotrekker said...

Unlike Louis CK, Al Franken was never that funny as a comedian in front of the camera (maybe his comedy writing was better).

Molly said...

Anne Frank jokes -- no. Helen Keller jokes-- okay??

Unknown said...

Until Trumpists and rightists call for the resignation of Moore and Trump along with Franken they have no moral high ground upon which to stand. Trump admits to sexually assaulting women, a picture exists of Franken doing so and there are multiple allegations against Moore (as there are against Trump).

Hey Skipper said...

Have we observed peak Laslo?

(Seriously, that is pure genius.)

Curious George said...

"Unknown said...
Until Trumpists and rightists call for the resignation of Moore and Trump along with Franken they have no moral high ground upon which to stand. Trump admits to sexually assaulting women, a picture exists of Franken doing so and there are multiple allegations against Moore (as there are against Trump)."

Show me the photos, blue dress, or confessions. Or just keep howling at the moon.

Fabi said...

"Trump admits to sexually assaulting women..."

Source?

Laslo Spatula said...

Hey Skipper said...
"Have we observed peak Laslo?"

All downhill from here, baby!

I am Laslo.

rcocean said...

"BTW, the main ethnic groups in Minnesota are Irish and German."

Yeah, the Irish. That's a good joke.

Here's my joke: The main ethnic group in Minnesota are Russian Jews: Look at their Senators since 1990.

Rob McLean said...

“I think a bad Hanukkah gift for Anne Frank would have been a drum set”

You see, if Anne Frank had a drum set, she'd be playing them, which would cause the Nazis to find her and her family that much quicker. Uh-huh.