Daily Archives: October 22, 2010

TGIF: “1/2 Hour News Hour”


The ill-fated “conservative” “comedy” show, The 1/2 Hour News Hour.  Even though the show had the inexhaustable resources of Fox News working for it (as well as a vast, angry and ill-informed audience), it was only good for fourteen episodes before being cancelled.

Is this really comedy or is it just hack work, an astonishingly unfunny rip-off  of SNL’s classic Weekend Update, not to mention The Daily Show and The Colbert Report?  Is it possible that it is unfunny because it was running an ideological agenda first and attempting comedy second?  And could it be that the witless surliness of it derives from the fact that its targets  — unlike SNL, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report, which take on all comers — were exclusively on what it assumed to be the “wrong” side of the political divide?

We report.  You decide.

Videos of the Day: Plus ça change


William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal during the 1968 Democratic convention: “Now listen you queer, stop calling me a crypto-nazi, or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face.”

In a recent post, Andrew Sullivan produced this quote and made this observation:

“Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too,” – Kelly Khuri, founder, Clark County Tea Party Patriots. And William F Buckley rolls in his grave.

But does he really?  Buckley had a notorious reputation for nastiness (just a couple of examples here and here) that seems to be pretty consistent with what now passes for mainstream “conservatism,” as the infamous exchange above demonstrates.  What was shocking back then is just business as usual today.

To wit:


Jean-Paul Sartre


A Sartre and de Beauvoir screener from the 1950s.

On this date in 1964 Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he refused.

Frye in notebook 12 offers a qualified estimation of Sartre as the last of the “great thinkers” (elsewhere he calls him “an intellectual juvenile delinquent”):

I had the usual childish fantasies, when very young, of wanting to be a “great man” — fantasies that in our day only Churchill had realized.  But Churchill’s greatness was archaic: his funeral really buried that whole conception of greatness as a goal of ambition.  Then I had fantasies of wanting to be a great composer & a great novelist–both obsolete conceptions today.  The novel is breaking up into other forms & is no longer central as it was in the 19th c: the great composers ended with Bartok, and Boulez & Varese & Cage are not “great composers,” they’re something else.  When I settled into my real line I naturally wanted to be “great” there too: but maybe greatness is obsolete.  In the 19th century one wants to read Hegel & Marx & Kierkegaard & Nietzsche; are there really any 20th c. equivalents of that kind of “great thinker”?  Maybe Sartre.  But something about greatness ended around 1940.  We’re doing different things now.  Marshall McLuhan is a typical example: a reputation as a great thinker that doesn’t think at all.  (CW 9, 146)