AND DON'T KID YOURSELF, GROUCHO MARX WOULD TOTALLY SUPPORT UPPER-CLASS TAX CUTS. Memorial Day used to be the unofficial start of the summer movie season, although these days the start day keeps getting pushed back. But for those of you whose Memorial Day weekends involve watching one of the six or seven movies in constant rotation on Turner-owned cable networks, via Roy does Slate has some aesthetic Stalinism for you! According to Reihan Salam Fletch apparently isn't funny not because it's not funny but's too liberal. This is in contrast with Animal House, which is funny because it's conservative, or at least not-liberal. Now, if a Republican Party in which cultural reactionaries have a de facto veto over Supreme Court nominees doesn't immediately cause you to think of Delta Tau Chi, keep in mind that "the boys in Animal House aren't, say, fighting tooth and nail for a living-wage ordinance." Oh. Now, you might be tempted to reply that Fletch didn't really seem to be fighting for liberal policy objectives either, and that the fact that putting on fake teeth and using the name of a famous celebrity isn't terribly funny would seem to have little to do with politics, but keep in mind that the original Fletch had Chase reading several lengthy Aaron Sorkin-penned speeches passionately defending the Earned Income Tax Credit, which you haven't seen because they were ruthlessly suppressed by TBS, but have presumably now been restored in the Deluxe DVD edition. That, or it could be that Salam is putting forward a silly tautology in which every good comedy is "conservative" and every bad comedy is "liberal," as part of the dreary project to evaluate art with the assumption that you can't like it if it can't be reduced to politics you agree with. I report, you decide.

--Scott Lemieux

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