On Monday, when Trevor Noah landed the gig as Jon Stewart's replacement, Salon's headline writers assured us:
Right-Wing Rage At 'The Daily Show' Is About To Get Very, Very Ugly
That's because Trevor Noah is a mixed-race South African, and everyone knows right-wingers are ugly racists consumed with rage over miscegenation. As it turned out, there was not a peep from rage-consumed righties, perhaps because they don't watch "The Daily Show" and had never heard of Trevor Noah, or perhaps because they were preoccupied with inconsequential foot-of-page-37 news stories like the nuclearization of Iran.
So instead by Tuesday morning it was the left that was all in a lather - or as those self-same Salon headline writers put it a mere 24 hours after their previous headline:
Did Trevor Noah's Twitter History Just Kill 'The Daily Show'?
That's because the lefties were all mad about the oddly misogynist and anti-Semitic Twitter feed of Mr Noah, full of jests about porking fat chicks and running over a Jewish kid in his German car - which is certainly a strange choice of joke for a 21st century comic.
At this point, I realized that I did, after all, know who Trevor Noah is. I'd caught him on telly in Oz a couple of years ago, and in London at the Royal Variety Performance. He struck me as like a lot of chancers from around the Commonwealth, chaps who make a nice living tailoring their shtick to whichever corner of the Anglosphere they happen to be in. Yes, yes, I know, I do a bit of that meself. Anyway, passing through Britain only a few days ago, I got back after dinner and thought I'd watch ten minutes of TV before turning in. Unfortunately, it was the BBC's annual "Comic Relief" fundraiser, a long night of leaden japes and forced jollity, in the midst of which up popped Mr Noah:
He talked about a recent flight from South Africa to the United States, where immigration officials asked him whether he'd come into contact with Ebola - notwithstanding that South Africa is nowhere near Ebola-stricken West Africa. As Mr Noah joked:
I don't really blame them - 'cause look, the truth is most Americans don't know much about South Africa...
Well, they don't know much about Africa as a whole...
Well, most of them don't know much about anything...
Whether that's true of Americans it's certainly true of the "Daily Show" audience. I suspect once this awkward little sizeist-Jew thing is smoothed over that he'll confine himself to the old reliables - the stupidity of Palin, the stupidity of Cruz, the stupidity of [Your Republican Here] - that will keep Jon Stewart liberals splitting their sides for the next half-decade.
~Dennis Prager writes on "life lessons from the German air disaster":
Depression and lack of conscience aren't the same.
We've heard repeatedly that Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz was being treated for depression — as if that largely explains why he did what he did.
Yet, every one of us knows one or two depressed individuals, and it is inconceivable that they would commit mass murder. As a number of Lincoln biographers have noted, most recently Richard Brookhiser, the great president was probably depressed all his life. And he was a moral giant.
Lubitz murdered 149 people because he was a narcissistic individual who lacked a properly functioning conscience. The number of people walking around in the world with a broken moral compass is quite large. Not all of them are depressed.
Mr Prager draws an important distinction: Andreas Lubitz may well have been a depressive personality but what did it for his 149 victims is that he was also a narcissistic personality. So the girlfriend dumps him because he's too "controlling", and then he tries to to get her back by buying her a brand new Audi, etc.
Do you ever get the vague feeling that there's a lot more narcissism around than there used to be?
Some would say that encouraging kids to sing cute preschool songs like this one nurtures a healthy self-esteem, boosting their confidence for the years to come. But others, like my guest today, see it as symptomatic of a narcissism epidemic.
The term comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, the handsome young man who falls in love with own reflection in a pool of water. Narcissism is also a concept in psychoanalytic theory introduced by Freud, and it appears in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry as the narcissistic personality disorder.
But today we are considering narcissism not as a disorder but as a growing cultural trend...
Speaking of which, consider this response to Judith Shulevitz's New York Times piece on campus "safe spaces". Andrew Meerwath, a "senior" at Stony Brook "University" writes:
To the Editor:
Judith Shulevitz's article about safe spaces on college campuses is a direct assault on my generation and what we find important. My generation has embraced the ideas of safe spaces and safe language. Without these, many victims of trauma or discrimination would be excluded from campus discussions that seek to cultivate and strengthen campus intellectual life. Truly open-minded intellectual growth desperately needs the participation of these groups.
Not all ideas are created equal. Some ought to be unreservedly condemned; consideration of such ideas is not at all helpful in bolstering campus intellectual life. The current generation of college students has denied validity to the failed ideas of the past. We have embraced the knowledge and empathy of the present. We are shaping the wisdom of the future.
Stony Brook, N.Y.
For all the boosterism about marginalized "groups", Mr Meerwarth is the usual pasty-faced pajama boy cornering his slice of the diversity racket. One begins to see why throughout the western world so many members of his "generation", after a semester or two in the company of Meerwarth and his ilk, prefer to chuck in all this "epic beta-male faggotry" and sign up with ISIS. At least you get to saw other people's heads off rather than your own.
~See you on the radio this morning, Thursday, with Toronto's Number One morning man, John Oakley on AM 640, live at 8.30am Eastern.