I'll get to First Lady Laura Bush's bawdy stand-up routine in a minute. But I want to highlight a related new book out about how young conservatives are shaking up the dominant liberal media culture. It's called "South Park Conservatives." My name is listed on the cover along with many other (mostly) right-leaning pundits, websites, and bloggers, but I must confess to having mixed feelings about the honor.
The best-selling book's author, Brian C. Anderson of the Manhattan Institute, writes a fun, breezy survey documenting the rise of talk radio, FOX News, the Internet, conservative publishing, and college Republican activism. Anderson's chapter on the success of conservative talk radio and the abysmal failure of liberal Air America to replicate it is incisive. Another chapter on the blogosphere (alone worth the price of the book) gives readers a useful history of the explosion of news, opinion, and political websites that have smashed the left-wing media monopoly.
But how did such a wide-ranging list of individuals and organizations -- Anderson's book cover includes the names of conservative-leaning Internet pioneer Matt Drudge and center-left journalist Mickey Kaus, the libertarian Tech Central Station, the culturally conservative WorldNetDaily, political upstart Arnold Schwarzenegger and political chameleon Andrew Sullivan, plus Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and myself, along with a feature blurb from Jonah Goldberg -- all get lumped under the umbrella term "South Park Conservatives"?
Anderson argues that Comedy Central's cartoon series "South Park" embodies the "fiercely anti-liberal comedic spirit" of the "new media" from Kaus to Coulter. The cartoon, he writes, reflects a "post-liberal counterculture" that is "particularly appealing to the young, however much it might offend older conservatives."
Well, I'm 34 and no fan of "South Park." I have many good friends who are indeed huge boosters of the show, but I find that the characters' foul language overwhelms any entertainment I might otherwise derive from the show's occasional, right-leaning iconoclastic themes.
"South Park" may be "politically incorrect." But "politically incorrect" is not always a synonym for "conservative."