My decision to write a column recommending “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy,” by Peter Schweizer was easy. I haven’t had so much fun reading a political book in ages. But my decision to focus on my favorite chapter – the one lambasting Al Franken – was a bit risky. Despite my extensive firearms collection, I’m really afraid of Al Franken.
The reason for my fear of Al Franken – which my team of psychiatrists dubbed Franken-phobia – began when Franken challenged Rich Lowry to a fistfight in 2003. Those who consider this to be Franken’s most tasteless moment have forgotten the time he made a joke about the menstrual cycle of one of Newt Gingrich’s daughters.
These instances, along with many others in Schweizer’s book, demonstrate the moral authority and credibility Franken has earned when he admonishes conservatives for being “extremely mean and nasty” and when he says we must “be civil to each other.”
But there is a rational explanation for the apparent hypocrisy of Al Franken. In order to understand it, you have to listen to Al Franken’s “nuanced” explanation of the difference between “unfair mean” and “fair mean” jokes. Here’s an example of a “fair mean” joke made by Franken himself:
“I just don’t like homosexuals. If you ask me, they’re all homosexuals in the Pudding. Hey, I was glad when that Pudding homosexual got killed in Philadelphia.”
For those who don’t get this “fair mean” joke, Franken is attacking Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club, which is a humorous dramatic society – one that never invited Franken to join while he was at Harvard. So, naturally, when you are snubbed by an organization, it is “fair” to rejoice when one of its members is murdered. This is especially true if the person murdered is gay and the person snubbed is liberal.
Of course, Franken has to be careful after the publication of this new book showing his hypocrisy and mean-spiritedness. After calling Rush Limbaugh “fat” 37 times on a single page of the book "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot", he said he was justified because Rush himself was so “mean” – presumably “unfair mean.” Now that we see this “meaner” side of Franken, there may be attacks on him that focus on physical appearance rather than ideas.
Perhaps offended gay liberals will say that Franken’s anti-gay remarks provide evidence that he is actually gay himself. Maybe they will back this assertion by saying that he “looks gay” – something conservatives have thought for years but were not allowed to say under the prohibition against “unfair meanness.”
And, who knows, maybe homosexual liberals will start to throw quiche at Franken when he speaks on college campuses. Food throwing is an example of “fair meanness,” largely because conservatives don’t do it.
But maybe it really is an example of “unfair meanness” to focus on Franken’s justification of the murder of homosexuals without giving adequate attention to his racism.
For example, Franken once wrote a skit for Saturday Night Live (SNL), which was supposed to feature Garrett Morris – the only black actor on SNL at the time – doing a mock commercial for a product called “Tar brush.” The product was supposed to help darken the white shiny teeth of black people. This racist parody resulted in two black technicians walking off the show in disgust.
In all fairness – as opposed to “mean unfairness” or “unfair meanness” - making racist jokes has seldom been necessary for Al Franken to run black people out of the workplace. This is because few blacks are to be found working with Franken in the first place. This is especially the case when Franken is doing the hiring.
Thanks to the research of Peter Schweizer, I learned that both executive producers and all four researchers at Air America just happen to be white. And of the 14 researchers who worked on Franken’s book "Lies", all just happen to be white just like all of the researchers for his previous books.
And his feature film Stuart Saves His Family used, not just a white director, but all white writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers. His 2004 documentary Fox v. Franken used eleven senior staffers, all of them white. The Al Franken Show also had five producers, and again, all of them were white. And all the senior people were white on all three of the specials he produced for SNL. On his films When a Man Loves a Woman and One More Saturday Night, all senior administrative personnel were white.
But there is good news, too. On Lateline, the TV series Franken created, one of the 25 senior personnel slots was held by a non-white person.
To put things in perspective, when Al Franken directly hires or has strong influence in hiring decisions, blacks have less than a one percent chance of making the cut. This is despite the nearly 13% representation of blacks in the general population.
Of course, I’m not really calling Al Franken a racist. Relying on solid logic and indisputable facts would constitute “unfair meanness.” And, who knows, Al might challenge me to a fistfight.