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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

European Humor?
Sadly, Nein.


The Europeans have finally discovered humor. Does that include the French?

WHAT NO ONE WILL SAY. Gosh. We were so excited when we got dissed a week or so ago by a site that "won the European 'Satin Pajama Award' for Best Humorous Blog in 2004." Wow. As far as we knew, there hasn't ever been any humor in Europe. But we have it from the proprietors of Sadly, No! that they are definitely funny:

Sadly, No! is a liberal/progressive humor site based in Germany, originally as a project of founder Seb, but since 2004 operating as a group blog, currently with American contributors...

In December, 2005, the site won a Weblog Award in the ‘Best of the Top 251-500 Blogs’ category. In December, 2006, the site won the Weblog Award for Best Humor Blog.

The site’s main running joke is in finding embarrassing slips or untrue statements by conservatives and linking to a refutation, saying, “Sadly, No!” Other running gags include posting pictures of conservative columnists on Internet dating sites, battling with a “singing troll” who sends homemade songs deriding the site’s contributors and commenters, and doing line-by-line putdowns of columns by Christian evangelists and other right-wingers. Sadly, No! also occasionally publishes phony columns at right-wing sites, and engages in other pranks.

I'd like to go on record right now as saying that I think it's great. Europeans actually trying to do humor. Cool. That's a kind of affirmative action we can get behind. It's heartening is what it is. Personally, I didn't know they were even trying. It's like badminton players storming Wimbledon. I do remember having been a management consultant for an American conglomerate in Europe a decade or so ago, and whenever any kind of joint -- i.e., pan-European -- project was initiated, the various European representatives would all take me aside and solemnly explain that the project couldn't succeed without an American at the helm. Because Italians couldn't work for Germans, Germans couldn't work for the French, Scandinavians couldn't take charge but would only smile and defer to the Germans and French, the Austrians would spend all their time tiresomely denying they were Germans to everyone who would listen, the Spaniards were too moody to work with anyone, the Belgians were all just bastards, and while everyone else was squabbling the Swiss would be stealing everybody's money.

Then, when the Americans reluctantly agreed to run things, again, the Euros all breathed a sigh of relief and told the same joke, the only one they ever had. It was all about heaven and hell. In heaven, for example, the French were the cooks, the Brits were the police, and the Germans were all locked up and castrated or something. In hell, the Brits were the cooks, the Germans were the police, and the Brits were running all over the world telling salacious stories about their tedious royal family. Or something like that. I don't remember the details. When you hear the same stupid joke from a dozen different incompetent assholes, you stop paying attention eventually. But you do get the punchline They all hate each other. Forever.

Which is precisely why it's so cool that they have finally developed a sense of humor. One does wonder where it came from, though. Italians have never figured out that Fiats are funny. They've never even figured out that being the disorganized heirs of the Romans was funny -- sad but way-deep-down funny. The Spaniards have never figured out that their macho bullfight bullshit was funny. The Sandinavians have never figured out that if the people who live the longest and age the most gracefully write the most depressing plays and commit suicide at the drop of the hat, they're being exceptionally goddamn funny. The French are harder to figure. They had Voltaire, who was satirical. They had Moliere, who was witty. But when they tried to make the big leap to funny they fell bang on their ass somewhere in the gap between Fernandel and Jerry Lewis.

Of course, we live now in the days of the so-called European Union, which is as funny as the old Holy Roman Empire, for much the same reason, absent any kind of belief whatsoever, paperwork excluded. But not as funny as the French Revolution, which was kind of an ultimate in European rationalism-cum-Worthington Steel. (Sorry. My joke. Worthington steel comes from Ohio.) But the U.K. was never part of the Holy Roman Empire, and maybe that's where the funny comes from. The Brits were funny once. And even twice. Briefly. But they gave it up in order to join the European Union, where absolutely nothing is ever funny because smart people are in charge of making sure everyone has a very specific office to complain to.

And then there are Germans. Who in their whole history had only one single citizen who was ever funny. Him they hounded into insanity and then posthumously misunderstood into a rationale for extermination of the one people on earth who really did know best what funny was.

But okay. I'm willing to accept that Europeans have learned how to be "humorous." I can even agree that they have been. A year or two ago, "Sadly, Nein" focused its potent humorous energies on a blog called Protein Wisdom. They did their Teutonic best to destroy him with their newfound talent for mirth. I have to admit it. I laughed my ass off. Their entry was indeed hilarious. Falling down funny. Roll over and laugh till you cried and almost died funny. Why? Because they decided to make fun of the most long-winded blogger on earth by deriding his incompetently endless prose with even longer prose delivered in the usual deadpan German style. Not that they got their own joke. No, they gloried in their own infinite specificity, itemizing every single instance of the 410,846 times Jeff Goldstein ( the uppity Jew) employed jokes about cocksucking as the punchline of his political arguments. The Sadlyneinvolk made the usual German assumption that adding numbers up to totals constituted satire and that denouncing those totals amounted to humor.

Dang those Krauts is a hoot, ain't they?

More recently, Sadly, Nein has determined that InstaPunk is worthy of another German attempt at humor. (Perhaps because they've enlisted the aid of the most notoriously humorous Americans yet born, spoiled narcissistic liberals who know the labels for everything and the meaning of nothing. Yeah, they're the stand-ups who've been turning comedy clubs into political snoozefests all across the continent.) But here's the joke. They, meaning Germans and their closest associates in humor, decided that InstaPunk was racist. And the joke they made to drive home the point to the rest of us was selectively quoting from the piece they disdained -- in their infinite European tolerance for all peoples who are not Belgian or swarthy -- and commenting on the selected quote by pronouncing it racist.

HA. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. It's just so damned humorous. Inspired really. Europeans lecturing someone -- anyone -- else about racism.

So funny that Nietzsche is probably laughing in his grave.

Which will make them feel wonderful. And infinitely superior. As usual.

Because they never understood Nietzsche. Who was always making fun of them. As they deserved to be made fun of. Except that they never understood the terrible tragedy of Nietzsche. Which was that he was the only one of their own who made fun of them in the way they deserved. He knew they were dangerous swine. He thought we'd get it if he alluded to it obviously enough. It was the biggest thing he was wrong about. To this day the Germans still haven't figured out that they're swine. Spoiled, arrogant, dangerous, humorless, whining, worthless swine.

Come to think of it, that's why we racist Americans had to troop over to Europe a couple of times in the twentieth century and pry their bad teeth off each other's necks to keep them from destroying the world with their pitifully racist tempers.

Unless that's not true. I'm sure the Europeans have come up with a new explanation that will enable them to say, "Sadly, No." After all, when you have only one joke, every question leads to the same punchline.

Are we intimidated by the post-modern zeitgeist? Sadly, nein.







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