Sometimes Humor is Just Humor (Malkin and NPR Edition)
Michelle Malkin is unhappy about being part of joke on Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me.
This weekend, on the NPR comedy news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! there was a bit that poked a little fun at Michelle Malkin. Malkin is not amused: Hey, NPR: Fund your own lame liberal humor — and leave my family alone.
I get the feeling, however, that Malkin is utterly unfamiliar with the show. The segment in question is a weekly one in which one news story is told alongside two fake news stories and the caller has to pick which one is true. The conceit of the gag is the all of the stories, including the real one, sound so ridiculous that they can’t possibly be true (and yet, one is). All three stories are presented in a somewhat over-the-top fashion. The only commonality is that there is a shared theme. This week’s theme was “stories about people uncovering a secret about their identity” and in the fictional story about Malkin, the alleged discovery was that her grandfather was a closet Muslim. The real story ended up being about a guy finding out that Ted Nugent was his father. The transcript (and a link to the audio) can be found here.
The notion that it might be funny if Malkin’s grandpa might be as secret Muslim is, actually, fairly funny. Further, when taken in the context of three outrageous stories, it is, to my mind, less of a big deal because, again, the point of the gag is that all the stories are absurd. Although I will grant, humor is a very subjective thing.
I actually enjoyed the following, although it is hardly the stuff of high comedy (Jobrani was the one reading the story):
Mr. JOBRANI: Yes, Grandpa Malkin, who is from the Philippines but lives with Michelle’s parents, had not told the family about his religion for fear of being ostracized and thrown out. “Do you know how hard it is to pray five times a day when your family doesn’t know?”
Mr. JOBRANI: “I had to excuse myself to the bathroom every time I wanted to pray.”
Mr. JOBRANI: “And the ham dinners, don’t get me started on the ham dinners.”
Beyond whether it was funny or not, I would note that a) Malkin is a public figure who, b) does have strong opinions, and c) has made a big deal about the threat of Muslims (her concern about Rachael Ray’s scarf in a Dunkin’ Donuts ad comes to mind as a particularly silly example). As such, she is fair game and really, rather than complaining about a fairly innocuous riff (it hardly constitutes an attack on her family), it would probably have been better to take the high road and laugh it off.
Side note: I will confess, in the interest of full disclosure, that I was once the subject of a question on Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on July 15, 2006, so perhaps I am predisposed to liking it. Getting mentioned was cool, although it would have been infinitely cooler had I been a regular listener to the show at the time. They quoted this post from PoliBlog as part of the news quiz (i.e, who said…?). You can hear it at about the 3:40 march:
To be fair to Michelle, this may have been in bad taste considering that her family is still searching for a cousin who has been missing in the Seattle area for the past two eeks.
Actually that’s much better than being the subject Steven, they liked your joke, and riffed on it.
(Looking at the full transcript, I’d say the joke is only very mildly funny, and in mildly bad taste. So the payoff for the bad taste wasn’t so great.)
@Doug: Fair enough, although ultimately she remains a public figure. It isn’t like she stopped blogging or going on TV because of the situation with her cousin. I could see the point if the joke was about her cousin being a secret muslim.
@JP: I wasn’t actually comparing the two situations.
My point would be, even if it was mild bad taste/mild humor: why get all upset about it?
Second is that the way she presents it on here site is as if they simply read the one fake story about her and that was the totality of the joke (which is why I wrote the post in the first place).
“why get all upset about it?”
To quote Steve Martin in The Jerk – “It’s a profit deal!”
It’s like Limbaugh prefacing the hours he spends talking about himself by saying “I hate to talk about myself.” Malkin wants everybody to know she’s a big enough deal to be mocked like this, but her only operative mode is rage. So she has to pretend this is the most offensive thing in the world in order to call attention to it.
My guess is that she is concerned jokes like this will harm her journalistic credibility…er…wait…um…never mind.
As the wingnuts come out in force to condemn the fascist, terrorist NPR for their awful
terrorist bombingjoke, they reveal, once again, that they have no idea what they’re talking about. The two fake headlines are actually written by the panelists, who tend to be comedians (it is a comedy show). Sometimes they discuss who wrote which fake story, but it doesn’t seem like they did this time (the person reading the fake story is not necessarily the writer, a mistaken assumption Michelle makes). So despite the claims of various wingnuts I see on Memeorandum, NPR did not write this joke, and it has absolutely nothing to do with their news reporting. They get all sorts of other things wrong as well. This, from Malkin’s post:
It leans heavily on laugh tracks
Actually, it’s recorded live before an audience here in Chicago.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that many wingnut bloggers are presenting this as if the show attacked Malkin because her cousin is missing or joked about that fact. Or the fact that Malkin, while defending herself from the claim implicit in the joke that she is anti-Muslim, takes the time to attack one of the comedian panelists for being a Muslim.
I’ve been a big fan of “Wait Wait!” for years, and I gotta confess my first thought upon hearing this was “it’s BS; as several of her detractors like to point out, ‘Malkin’ is her married name. She was born Michelle Michelle Maglalang, and her grandparents would not be named ‘Malkin.'”
My second thought was “oh, great. She’s in the middle of a major family emergency, and they choose this time to mock her and her family? That’s really crappy timing.”
I won’t say it was malicious, but it was incredibly insensitive. People forget that all of us — even Michelle Malkin — are human beings first, political animals second, and there is a time and place to say “you know, this is funny, but let’s give it a pass.”
WWDTM should have done so. They are known for their highly intelligent humor, not “edgy” stuff. This was more in the vein of “let’s tell the woman who just had a miscarriage a bunch of dead baby jokes.”
They should apologize — and plug Malkin’s missing cousin. And I strongly suspect they will.
My latest goal in life, is ti be made fun of on “wait, wait, don’t tell me” unfortunately, I am neither famous enuf nor quotable enuf… well, at least I won’t put myself on a pedestal…
And anyone who had ever listened to the show more than once would know that…. You wanta know how many times they cracked a joke and were met with silence???? Not even I know that #…. But I can say that when a joke goes over like a lead balloon, they don’t hide that fact…
They make frun of themselves.
Gee Jay Tea — It’s nice that you think the world should be so sensitive to Ms Malkin’s feelings. Of course this is a woman who came to fame by telling her legion of fans to spy on the house of a sick kid and find out what kind of countertops his parents had to prove that poor children shouldn’t get government assistance with health care costs. A paragon of sensitivity herself — at least, when it comes to herself. When it comes to anyone she considers an enemy, she’s a vicious shrew.
My guess is that whoever wrote that joke had never heard of the famous missing cousin. Why would they? And I don’t see what a missing cousin has to do with anything.
wr, you’re absolutely right. Hell, why didn’t you toss in a ping-pong joke, too? It’s all the rage.
Michelle Malkin isn’t the victim here. Marizela Perez, 19, a college student in Seattle, who disappeared over two weeks ago, is. The fact that her cousin is a very prominent and popular (in some circles) pundit means that there is a bit more attention being paid to her case, and a bit more resources available.
But she’s still missing. A young woman who never did you, me, or any of us any wrong.
I amend my earlier statement. Yes, all of us around here are political animals. But first, we are all human beings.
You, on the other hand, are The A-Hole That Walked Like A Man.
Jay Tea — This missing cousin has absolutely nothing to do with the bit on the radio. I doubt the case has stopped Malkin from slandering anyone with a Muslim name, for instance, or screaming about how anyone who doesn’t agree with her is deliberately trying to destroy America.
Odds are, no one at Wait Wait had ever heard of a Seattle missing persons case, and there’s no reason they should have.
And I have no idea why you’re talking about ping-pong.
I do know that you are demanding a level of sensitivity around this woman that she has never afforded to any of her victims — or that can even be reasonably demanded of anyone.
I think wr hit the nail on the head. Malkin probably thought it was cool to be mentioned but of course couldn’t say that since the official position of all right wingers is to hate NPR.
So, wr, are you saying you’re glad that Malkin’s seriously stressed over her missing cousin, or just don’t care? I’m getting mixed signals here.
And go ahead, crack a ping-pong joke. I know you’re dying to.
I think I know where you’re going with that “ping-pong joke” thing, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have your racial stereotypes confused. It is the Chinese and retarded, but charming and adventurous southern shrimp fisherman who are known for ping-pong. Malkin is Phillipino. I have no idea what they’re known for except for being Internet famous, hateful bloggers who parlay the tragedy of a relative into a point-scoring opportunity against a hated enemy over a joke that had absolutely nothing with their relatives. So, if you want wr to make a joke about Malkin or Phillipinos it should be about that.
So before the show at rehearsal, the producers/writers tell the guest panelists what the topic for the “Bluff The Listener” segment is, the panelists write their fake stories within that topic, likely more than one each, and then…what? Someone should Google anyone mentioned in the fake news stories to make sure they aren’t dealing with some other, entirely unrelated family crisis? Really?
Jay Tea – I neither know nor care anything about Michelle Malkin’s stress level about this or any other subject. I only know her vile public persona. And of course it was that public persona, which she has been consciously grooming for years, that Wait Wait was making fun of.
I’ve still got no idea why you’re yapping about ping-pong. But the fact that it’s an incoherent non-sequitur actually raises it a couple of levels above your usual arguments.
Well actually, NPR could do anything they want, as soon as they stop getting any taxpayer support. Joke or not, bad taste (certainly) and apparently the clown who writes this stuff was either ignorant of Malkin’s current situation, or too much of a buffoon to stop himself. Either way it’s time to defund the bastion of liberal think/speak.
The joke was about Malkin’s Islamophobia. It wasn’t in bad taste, unless you believe that it’s in bad taste to point out the bigotry of bigots.
Regarding “laugh tracks”, the very last joke of the same episode of the show completely died. If they were going to use laugh tracks, I suspect they’d make sure to use it on the last joke to go out with a bang. Didn’t happen.
Main issue: Does anyone think that Malkin studiously researches everybody she blogs about to be sure they’re not going through an unrelated personal crisis before she attacks them? I find that unlikely.
I sincerely hope that Malkin’s cousin is safe, but that has absolutely nothing to do with this. Malkin just wants to pile on NPR because that’s what the party line is these days.
I’m mostly confused because I heard that liberals don’t have a sense of humor.
Main issue: Does anyone think that Malkin studiously researches everybody she blogs about to be sure they’re not going through an unrelated personal crisis before she attacks them?
She researches them, but to attack them. She may be lurking out your window now, looking at your countertops. If you’re a twelve year old who was injured in a terrible car accident, anyway.
yo JayTea, don’t leave us all hanging here. What on earth are you trying to allude to with your mention of ping pong jokes. I don’t know any, nor can I imagine how they are relevant here, but please share….
So we could also expect a “wait wait” segment involving a Congresswoman shot in the head and her astronaut husband?
I fear it refers to a rather ugly racial (and sexual) insult hurled at Malkin some time back (see here).
I would say that it is rather unkind and unfair for Jay to suggest that someone was contemplating making such statements.
Steven, I’ll grant “unkind,” but where wr is concerned, I reject “unfair.” And it wasn’t just “some time back” — on the few occasions she publishes some of the hate mail she gets, that’s almost always in there.
Minorities are simply not allowed to be conservative. Liberals have a deep, special, abiding hatred for those who stray off the liberal plantation and dare to think for themselves and reject liberalism. Clarence Thomas gets much the same treatment, and we’re starting to see Allen West and Herman Cain getting lined up for it, too.
Here, there is an innocent young woman in grave danger — if not dead. But all wr wants to do is indulge in his hatred of Michelle Malkin. If you don’t get the feeling that he’s saying “I’m glad she’s suffering emotionally right now,” then you’re not reading his comments very carefully at all.
Actually, Jay Tea, as an irregular reader here, it is my opinion that you are projecting. TC is right on target here, and wr is not out of line.
I think you’ve made a mistake.
It’s not that minorities aren’t allowed to be conservative.
It’s that minorities aren’t allowed to be bigots.
> My second thought was “oh, great. She’s in the middle of a major family emergency, and they choose this time to mock her and her family? That’s really crappy timing.”
Yea, you are a stand up guy Jay. When I shared about a family tragedy in here, your response was to infer I was making it up. You are pretty selective in your compassion.
> Here, there is an innocent young woman in grave danger — if not dead
Do us a favor. Stop trying to exploit this private family tragedy to score political points.
I’m an avid follower of several blogs and I had no idea Malkin’s cousin was missing. I find it amusing that Malkin has totally proved the point of the joke with her continued attacks on anything that might remotely be Muslim…
Actually, WWDTM had an absolutely brilliant bit that this overshadowed:
“First, Juan Williams got a $2 million contract from Fox News. Then, the CEO who fired him was herself fired. All of us are wondering… what is Juan’s third wish?”
anjin, you trotted out your (not crisis situation) as an attempt to argue from authority. I rejected that — crassly, I’ll admit, but I can live with that. Here, it’s an actual immediate crisis situation.
And it’s remarkable how much certain folks (OK, wr and anjin) value an opportunity to express their hatred of Michelle Malkin, and just have to jump on any such chances… it’s almost like they believe she deserves her current situation.
Again, like the ping-pong allegation, I have to cry foul: it is wrong to ascribe such ill motives to someone with no basis for it. If you think a commenter is wrong in what they say, please deal with what they say. To assert that they think that she deserves her current situation (which I presume you mean having her cousin missing) is crass at best, and again unkind and unfair.
Jay Tea : Okay the Juan joke actually caused me to crack up a bit 😛
Malkin is a vile “person” but I hope her cousin is alive and well 🙁
> (OK, wr and anjin) value an opportunity to express their hatred of Michelle Malkin,
Please show me where I even mentioned Mallkin’s name, much less said anything unkind about here. All I did was tell you to quit pimping a sensitive situation to score debating points, which is something you really should do.
Oh, and my “non crisis” situation, that I “trotted out”? Rapidly redlining. My wife was in tears again last night. But I am sure you can live with that. Prick.
For those who were not in the thread that I am referring to in my little discussion with Jay, let me clarify. This is how he is trying to paint it:
>anjin, you trotted out your (not crisis situation) as an attempt to argue from authority. I rejected that — crassly, I’ll admit, but I
That is not what happened. When I disclosed I have a close relative who is a paranoid schizophrenic in the wake of the Giffords shooting, He inferred I was lying about having this horrific tragedy in my family because (paraphrasing) I had said so many things on OTB that led him to think I can’t be taken at my word. When I challenged him to show even a single comment of mine that would lead a reasonable person to think I am a liar, he came up empty.
Now I will certainly admit that I am occasionally wrong factually, and I have been known to pop off and make comments that were not really well though out. But I don’t think I have ever said anything in here that would make someone think I am a liar. Certainly Jay was unable to back up that claim. He was pretty much saying I was lying about a devestating tragedy in my family because he does not like my politics.
And now he is lying about what happened, which is no surprise to me at all. He did not say my family problem was not relevant because it was not a crisis. He did not say I did not have sufficient “authority” to comment. He said I was making it up.
Malkin is using her blog and reports to help find her missing cousin up here in Seattle. The MSM here has given remarkably little coverage of the missing girl.
Why you sick motherf**kers would riff off this terrible situation is beyond belief.
Not quite, anjin. You cited your relative in the context of an appeal to authority. I responded in a manner that I freely admit was tasteless, but germane to the conversation — and you got quite angry. Understandably so. I also then said I didn’t feel particularly inclined to take your declaration at face value — it was quite convenient for the conversation at hand. I didn’t say you were lying, but I wasn’t going to simple acknowledge it as truth — just that I was not accepting you as an authority on the matter.
Not my proudest moment, I will freely admit, but not the most heinous thing ever said on the internet.
I will say that if I heard a relative of, say, Kos was missing and he was marshaling his online presence to help them, I would be inclined to give him a break for the duration of the crisis.
And I’m sticking by my prediction — WWDTM will address this in their next show. They tend to be classy that way.
john425 — The only one talking about this missing woman is Jay Tea. Everyone else was talking about a harmless joke at Michelle Malkin’s expense. Jay Tea decided to exploit this missing woman’s case to demonstrate just how extraordinarily sensitive he is to the feelings of people who hate the same people he does.
“People forget that all of us — even Michelle Malkin — are human beings first, political animals second…”
Your point might be more salient if Malkin remembered this once in a while.
I’m assuming you mean that Seattle MSM. And please realize that what you’re seeing is the way that the MSM typically treats most “missing cases.” It is a little strange as this story does have a “hook” — but the general fact is that the majority of missing persons cases rarely make the news.
Which supports the argument that that particular writer most likely didn’t know about the missing sister. The key aspect to that story is knowing that Mrs Malkin is Filipino — the perfect heritage to set up the claim in the story. Little to no research is necessary for that piece and all of it can be done without much scrolling on her Wikipedia page. And while that page mentions her missing cousin, the reference is in normal text at the bottom of the page.
Let me humbly suggest that in the case of Malkin or Thomas, it’s not so much that they are conservative, but the way in which their conservatism is performed. Basically, they’ve come to represent a sort of identity conservatism in which they actively attack the very mechanisms that assisted them and their families (immigration and race-based ‘repair-ative’ measures) with a virulence and tenacity that’s hard to describe.
BTW, similiar critiques are launched by Conservatives at those who “crossed” over to being liberal (you can’t really be a “Regan” or “Buckley” and be a liberal). Likewise the attacks on people who’ve done very well by business and then turn their backs on capitalism to become “socialists.”
I think that there’s also sometimes a disconnect between the way that some of these people’s communities have been/continue-to-be treated by the conservatives and republicans and those people’s continued allegiance to their party. For example, I do sometimes think that the “Log Cabin Republicans” and “GOProud” need to have their heads examined.
That said, more power to them and their efforts to bring change to the party.
@JayTea, we’re in agreement on this.
John425 : Over 100,000 people go missing every year in the USA…
What a vapid defense of a tasteless “humor” bit.
Everyone knows the writer of this would be outraged if you had Malkin doing the same thing about a family member of someone at NPR missing.
It simply shows how phony the Left is yet again.
It is rather difficult to take criticism seriously if one is going to fail to get the basic facts straight. The bit was not about a missing family member.
To elaborate on Steven’s last point, everyone here understands that the missing girl is Malkin’s cousin, except mattb — who has somehow transformed Mirazela Perez into Michelle Malkin’s sister.
They’re cousins, not sisters.
> I also then said I didn’t feel particularly inclined to take your declaration at face value — it was quite convenient for the conversation at hand.
Well, not quite. You said that based on my track record as a commenter, you were not inclined to take anything I say at face value, which is kind of a cowardly way of calling me a liar. I am still waiting for you to produce a comment I have made that would lead a reasonable person to conclude I am dishonest.
Look at your own use of language, which shows, as I said, that your compassion is very selective, and apparently limited to folks who wear red shirts.
>anjin, you trotted out your (not crisis situation) as an attempt to argue from authority.
I did not “trot out” anything. Talking about this situation in a public forum is painful. But I do have hard won experience and knowledge of schizophrenia that eclipses that of the average person by orders of magnitude. So if I can share some this , hopefully to make a useful contribution to a dialog that addresses this very serious issue, I am willing to do it. The fact that this draws a sneer from you tells me a lot about what you are about. I am not attempting to argue from authority, compared to the average person, I am an authority. I wish to God I was not.
> (OK, wr and anjin) value an opportunity to express their hatred of Michelle Malkin
Still waiting for you to back this up. Or is it just something else that you made up? Where have I ever expressed hatred for Malkin? Kindly put up or shut up.
Malkin has no sense of humor.
Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me is a very funny show; I find myself laughing out loud at least two or three times each show, which in my view makes the show a success. And while the show undoubtedly has a kind of liberal-side “feel” to it, in truth it pokes fun at politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Malkin asks the following important question: “How many conservative comedians (besides token P.J. O’Rourke, who panders to the Left with his attacks on Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio) get an equal opportunity to lampoon their political opponents on NPR airwaves?” The answer, Michelle, is that this is a trick question–there are no conservative comedians.
Actually @JayTea, I got it right and wrong:
I did know it was her cousin, for so reason I wrote sister the first time. Mea Culpa.
On conservative comics, the point that Malkin misses is whether or not the comic is willing to “play” the game. PJ O’Rourke becomes a CCINO (Conservative Comic in Name Only) because he critiques talk radio?! What does she want, someone who will get on the air and take up the entire show attacking the liberal-talking-jokes…?