NationSEIU calls the shots in the Obama White House: GWP
Obamanomics: how's it going so far?: Power Line
Hope you can live on 29% of your investment: No Quarter
Call me Donald Emanuel: Surber
Syke! Kidney failure now hilarious!: Say Anything
Luxury housing at Stone Manor (but not for you): NOFP
Next!: Cold Fury
Who's running the White House?: TAB
Blame game is wearing thin: GWP
Resistance is futile: JOM
A “Red Diaper Baby”?: Blue Ridge
Obama’s Hedge Fund ‘Bullying’ May Hurt Rescue Plan: Bloomberg
MoveOn.org to Specter: Be a Democrat or Be Gone in a Primary: USN&WR
Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one: LawHawk
WorldMr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington: Rubin
Three on American Diplomacy: Shayne
Climate & EnergyNader Slams House Climate Bill!: New Bankrupt Times
Budget risks energy national security: BMW
Global cooling continues down under: TAB
Crime & LawHow you can help push for ACORN investigations: ONN
In defense of marriage: Doctor Zero
Empathy versus Law, part IV: Sowell
Paroled SLA terrorist returning to Illinois: JWF
Lying for the third time: Ace
Health CareConservatives for patient rights: Hewitt
Health care push: BMW
Steyn on government rationing of health care: Hewitt
MediaKraft Cashes In On DijonGate: LegalIns
ScienceAfrican tribe populated rest of the world: Telegraph
Secrets of the Deep: New York
What Ever Happened to the Death of Australia's Great Barrier Reef?: MoneyRunner
Best of the Web: Taranto
...lots of left-wing bloggers are cheering Sykes on, and the president of the United States was visibly amused by her joke. So the question is this: Why do liberals find this joke funny when they should find it embarrassing?
The answer, it seems clear, is that this is an example of shock humor: a genre that relies on the frisson of violating taboos. By our count, Sykes runs afoul of five taboos in her Limbaugh joke: She equates dissent with treason. She likens a domestic political opponent to a foreign enemy. She makes fun of the disabled (Limbaugh's past addiction to painkillers would entitle him to protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act). She makes light of a form of interrogation that some people consider torture. And she wishes somebody dead.
Except for the last one, these are all taboos that liberals promote and enforce with especial vigor. If a conservative violated any one of them, he would be on the inside track to be named "Worst Person in the World" by that NBC blowhard (as indeed Feherty was).
What makes Sykes's joke funny to a liberal, then, is the sense of danger that accompanies her risky themes, combined with the secure knowledge that since the joke is at the expense of a liberal hate figure, the usual rules not apply. It's the same reason people on the left evince particular glee when they attack Clarence Thomas or Michael Steele in expressly racist terms, or when they use antigay innuendo against their political opponents (regardless of the latter's sexual orientation).
In Obama's wide grin as Sykes was telling her joke, we saw the smug look of a man who enjoys seeing his critics dehumanized.