Monday, January 28

And Boy Are My Arms Tired

I COULDN'T resist taping "The National Review Conference Highlights"--yes, all 2-1/2 hours of highlights--on CSPAN. My efforts were rewarded with incontrovertible proof that CSPAN and I do not agree on the definition of "highlight".

Theirs includes "speeches by Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz"--which did, at least, purport to show that they aren't the same person--while mine doesn't.

Instead here's my Highlights of the Highlights of The National Review Conference, from the nation's Toastmaster General, the Guy Who Brings the Yucks to the Big Bucks, Rich Lowry, introducing Ryan:
When Congressman Ryan was picked as Mitt Romney's running mates [sic] last year he became a subject of fascination [sic], everything about him, extending even to his work-out routine.

Well, actually only his work-out routine, but do go on.
P90X blah blah blah... Actually his most innovative workout
Oh-oh! Comedy warning light!
has been caught on tape and broadcast very broadly--I'm sure you've seen it--
"Conservative" women must be in constant danger of being driven mad with foreplay.
involves running through woods pushing old ladies in wheelchairs
off of cliffs.
Don't get me wrong; that's not the highlight. It's where Lowry took it:
And if you think about it this is just a tremendous work out
because as you're pushing the wheelchair it's a lot of effort, it gets the legs really good
[titter, or dropped cocktail tray]
and you're running so the cardio is there.
[throat clearing]
and then, this is the key thing, depending on your technique of pushing the wheelchair off the cliff
[self-satisfied smirk, utter silence]
it can involve the tris, too.
[points to elbow]
So you get the arms there
as well.
Talk about a Rocket Room....

Now the beautiful thing about "conservative" humor is that analysis can't kill it, as it does real humor, because it's already deader than their memories of George W. Bush. So Rich, if you're out there, and we know you are….

First, y'know, I've spent a lot of time in the hospital lately, and a lot of the people visiting my dad are his fellow churchgoing types, and it's remarkable that the only possible way to relate to any of them is on their own terms. I've been reminded over and over of the Lawrence Welk Conundrum, which is that the Welk show, which was almost wholly inexplicable in its day, still plays every week on PBS to audiences which may now be old and infirm, but certainly weren't then. My dad's 92. He used to watch Welk, but how much of the audience is made up of nonagenarians? Sixty and seventy year-olds today were in the prime of youth when that dreck was aimed at the nation the first time. Th' fuck do they watch it now? People who were actual fans of the Big Bands despised Welk as a schlock merchant (and, difficult to believe, but he apparently dialed down the schmaltz for teevee). Is there some sort of Aging Ray out there I've somehow managed to duck so far? It's like somebody said about Harry Connick, Jr.: "It's one thing to revere Sinatra, or Ella Fitzgerald. It's another to pretend Bob Dylan never existed."

Anyway, Lowry apparently grew up having never seen anything funny. And as he went on, and on, and ononandon, despite the fact that the One Big Yuck came from people who'd caught the drift immediately, as one would, I could only think that this was what a dance recital would look like if the kid in question learned everything he knew watching that overripe Mouseketeer on Welk replays over the last fifteen years.


Gretchen said...

I'm sixtyish, and I remember my folks watching Welk, which I thought was horrid schlock and wanted to change the channel to Ed Sullivan. But maybe folks my age are transported back to being happy children, safe at home with their parents? That's the only explanation I can come up with.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

What about pod people, Gretchen?

Fearguth said...

Ononandonism: is that a cause or effect of mental illness?

grouchomarxist said...

Hee. One of my favorite Lenny Bruce routines is the one where Welk interviews a 50s-style hipster musician for his band:

"I need a little bread up front."

"You hungry? You vant a sandvich?"

"I gotta cop to myself: I got a monkey on my back."

"Dat's alright, ve like animals on the road ..."

I remember Welk being on the tv once in a while in our household when I was a kid back in the 60s, but even then it was something I associated more with my grandparents and their friends, than my parents. Maybe it's a sort of Teletubbies for Seniors: Bright, colorful and non-threatening.

Li'l Innocent said...

You never know about individual responses. I'm in the same general age group as groucho and Gretchen, and we used to have LW on to please my stepdad's mom, who often stayed with us at that point. But even when she wasn't there, my stepfather, who had cultivated taste in music (including jazz) and art, would turn on the ol' bubble-wafter (oh, how those Lovely Lennon Sisters used to grate every nerve ending I had). According to my dad, there was a certain musical value in the LW approach, the arrangements, the proficiency of the orchestra.

My dad also had a bizarre taste for televangelists. He'd sit there in the late pm, a lifelong atheist and freethinker, and a professional scientist to boot, and watch Swaggart or Bakker with an air of combined objective analysis and bemusement.

My point being, it's not always easy to know why people watch things or listen to things. Music plays different roles in different lives, is probably a safe assumption.

lawguy said...

Still Gale and Dale performing "One Toke Over the Line" on Welk never gets old.

Xjmueller said...

I saw that recently while channel surfing. WOW! They were so squeeky clean looking. Makes ya wonder if LW himself knew what was going on. My folks watch this show regularly. They were born before WWI, which might explain their fandom.

For watching odd stuff, I like to catch the Sikh hour here in NOVA. There's something mesmerizing about the hand organs, drums and chanting...

Anonymous said...

Right-wing "humor" frequently seems to be about inflicting pain on people less powerful than you - pushing grannies off cliffs, tormenting homeless people, hunting illegal immigrants for sport, calling a law student a slut and prostitute on a national radio show. Maybe this stuff is amusing if you're a sadist. I find it about as funny as the Ebola virus.