Comedian Al Franken, who is looking to unseat incumbent senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), has a problem with porn. Not ribald humor created by someone else that he downloaded to his computer in the privacy of his home, but material he created for public consumption. Â
A former â€œSaturday Night Liveâ€ cast member, Franken wrote a 1,478-word article titled â€œPorn-O-Rama!â€ Â for the Y2K issue Playboy. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson gives a pithy summary:Â Â
[H]e enthuses that it is an “exciting time for pornographers and for us, the consumers of pornography.” The Internet, he explains, is a “terrific learning tool. For example, a couple of years ago, when he was 12, my son used the Internet for a sixth-grade report on bestiality. Joe was able to download some effective visual aids, which the other students in his class just loved.” Franken goes on to relate a soft-core fantasy about women providing him with sex who were trained at the “Minnesota Institute of Titology.”Â
[Note: The article is not easily obtainable online, but you can read huge chunks of it for yourself here (warning: do not click on this link if you are easily offended). Frankenâ€™s fantasy of â€œvirtual realityâ€ sex acts and carnal relations with robots (â€œSexbotsâ€) is every 13-year old nerdy boyâ€™s ultimate wet dream, which says a lot about his maturity and fitness for office.]Â
Gerson wonders whether Coleman should make a campaign issue out of Frankenâ€™s puerile fixation with technosex, and with good reason: â€œRemember that when Ken Starr detailed Bill Clintonâ€™s most repulsive antics – stained dresses and such – it was Starr who was accused of sexual obssessiveness.â€Â
For his part, Franken says his material is â€œprovocative, touching and funnyâ€ and both he and his defenders call him a â€œpolitical satirist.â€ Gersonâ€™s column offers additional examples of what passes for satire amongst libs: Â
He once proposed a television sketch about a female CBS reporter being drugged and raped [Note: This is a reference to a 1995 skit for SNL that never aired in which Andy Rooney is the rapist and Lesley Stahl is the victim.] He has suggested that his next book title might be “I F — – — Hate Those Right-Wing Motherf — – — !” At an event hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation in 1999, Franken offered this thigh-slapper: “Why don’t we focus on what Afghan women can do? They can cook, bear children and pray. As I recall, that was fine for our grandmothers.” â€¦Â
The objects of Franken’s humor – including political opponents and women – are not merely mocked but dehumanized. His trashiness is also nastiness. Rather than lampooning the emptiness and viciousness of our political discourse – a proper role for satire – Franken has powerfully reinforced those failures.Â
Well dehumanizing â€œhumorâ€ is exactly what you would expect from a man whose utopian ideal is a world in which all emotional intimacy is stripped from lovemaking, reducing sex to Â mechanics (literally). The Orgasmatron in â€œSleeperâ€ is funny, â€œPorn-O-Rama!â€ ainâ€™t.Â
If you donâ€™t want to take The Stilettoâ€™s word for it, hereâ€™s a column by Tom Hauser for Politics In Minnesota:Â
While Porn-O-Rama! is sexist, crass and vulgar, the one thing it is not is funny. Which raises the most important question of all: What kind of judgment does a man have who makes jokes about bestiality and 12-year-olds in the same sentence?
A man who, at the age of 49 in 2000, writes, “The moment Playboy told me I could tackle any subject for its millennium issue, I immediately chose pornography” …?Â
And Steven Schier, a political science professor at Minnesotaâ€™s Carleton College tells Politicoâ€™s Josh Kraushaar: â€œThe thing I donâ€™t understand about Al Franken is how he thought those jokes were funny. The biggest failing of any comedian is failing to be funny.â€
So Frankenâ€™s supporters defend his soft-core porn fantasy as being funny, while Judge Alex Kozinskiâ€™s joke collection is slammed as being pornographic. Guess some people just donâ€™t know funny when they see it.
Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in theÂ Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th AnnualÂ Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker,Â Swampland (Time magazine) andÂ The Caucus (The New York Times).