LOOK UP THE NUMBER.

As part of an apparent effort to reinvigorate political journalism's most tired cliches, James Kirchick declares that "the Left lacks a sense of humor." He offers as proof my Think Progress post from Tuesday, in which I noted what a sad commentary on conservatism it was that Christopher Buckley felt that John McCain needed to be forgiven for opposing torture. Quoth Peretz's ward:

Aside from the fact that the author of this post totally misses the point in that Buckley is lampooning McCain’s conservative critics, he also seems like a total party pooper. Observe that, in the column, Buckley refers to the “the Archfiend, Ted Kennedy” and notes that Fred Thompson “could barely manage to stay awake during his own announcement speech.” Indeed, Buckley opens the piece with an anecdote about a New Yorker cartoon. The problem with the liberals at ThinkProgress is that, since they themselves have no sense of humor, they cannot recognize a joke when it hits them square between the eyes.

Observe that I do, in fact, realize that in some circles Christopher Buckley is considered a talented satirist. This has always perplexed me, as my understanding of satire is that it's supposed to be witty or clever, and I've generally found Buckley's work to be about as clever as mocking the help for stealing the flatware (I think the examples Kirchick offers speak for themselves). But, clanging bricks aside, the relevant point here is that Buckley was only "lampooning" torture-supporting conservatives to the extent that he seems to believe they should just relax and recognize McCain as one of them. That's not funny, that's tragic. Years from now, when we look back at the twisted moral wreckage that was 00's conservatism, then it might be funny. (I'm also a little curious why Kirchick refuses to identify me as the author of the post. My handle is right there at the bottom. I know he knows my name, he's tried to mix it up with me before. Why so coy?)

In related Kirchickian hilariousness, Jamie goes to the Plank to plant a post dismissing this morning's New York Times McCain story, which he claims is proof that the Times is “in the tank for Obama.” Fellow Planker Chris Orr notes in comments that, rather inconveniently for Kirchick's thesis, the Times "strongly endorsed Hillary Clinton less than a month ago."

Meanwhile, Kirchick’s Commentary co-blogger Jennifer Rubin references Kirchick’s Plank post as proof that “both the Right and the Left in the blogosphere are not too impressed by the New York Times story," with Kirchick being offered as representative of "the Left." That’s a cute little racket you got going there, Jamie. I will say, though, that I find your work just as humorous when you write for the Left as for the Right.

--Matthew Duss

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