Colbert, who will soon be filling David Letterman’s vacant chair, has a shtick. His shtick is that he’s a conservative, so his humor ostensibly attacks conservatives at their own game.
What makes Colbert’s shtick fundamentally unfunny, though, is that he has no understanding of conservative ideas or, indeed, of anything at all. His starting point is a parody image of conservatives — hate women, hate minorities, love the evil rich, want to kill everybody with guns. That’s not funny. It’s just crude.
Then, his alleged humor attempts to build on this parody, looking at headlines through the stained, warped filter of his politic animus. The result is something without any intrinsic humor. It only makes people laugh if they’re inclined to laugh at any insult directed to their political opponents, no wit or insight required.
My premise for this post, therefore, is that it’s not funny when ill-informed people try to parody something that they’ve already reduced to a parody. Working off this premise, I want to introduce you to a video and, even better, its rebuttal.
The video came about when Funny or Die partnered with Kristen Bell (who is the voice for the redhead in Frozen) does a Mary Poppins parody supporting a hugely increased minimum wage. The video’s production values are wonderful. Kristen Bell has a lovely voice to begin with and does a very good Julie Andrews imitation. The melody is a nice, subtle homage of “Spoonful of Sugar,” without simply being a retread. Really, the whole thing is great, except….
Except that the premise is insanely stupid. It accepts blindly that, if the government forces employers to pay people above market rate, everyone (except the evil, abusive employers, of course) will have more money.
The video makes no effort whatsoever to rebut the fact that the iron laws of economics work no matter what DemProgs desire. If the government forces employers to pay their employees more than the market will bear, employers will just hire fewer people. The result will be that a few people will have more money, although they’ll be expected to do more work for that money. Many small businesses may stagnate, rather than grow, shrinking further the employment pool. Ultimately, instead of having lots of people employed for low wages, you’ll just have lots of unemployed.
You know why the video makes no effort to work through these problems, of course. It doesn’t try because it can’t. In a battle between the iron laws economics and witless Progressivism, the former always wins. That leaves the latter with nothing more than superficial cuteness (a parody) justifying its simplistic economic demands (the parody piled on the parody).
The problem for conservatives, of course, is that their ideas, while inevitable, require some intelligence to explain and understand. And, because they’re complex, they require a little time and space. A short rebuttal to a well-produced video is hard to do. Reason’s Remy, though, has taken a stab at simplifying the rebuttal, and he’s done a pretty fine job:
So, if your Facebook friends start touting Bell’s Poppins, feel free to tag them with Remy’s Bert.