I’m pretty sure this is satire

I’m not a fan of Toby Keith at all, but I’ll make an exception for this one time.


  1. Johnny Cache says

    Toby Keith led the charge against the Dixie Chicks for their comments about George Bush, so I’m not so sure it’s satire. But then again, it was so over the top that it couldn’t be for real–could it? Calling Thomas Jefferson “a lawyer” and “off with his head”? WTF? If this truly represents what he thinks (and maybe what his fans think), then we’re all doomed.

  2. Archaneus says

    The thing is, I’m pretty sure I remember him saying something remarkably similar to this completely seriously. I don’t know if he is just laughing at himself, which I doubt because Toby Keith has always seemed very uptight when it comes to his right-wing crap, but I think this is really just him saying what he actually thinks and Colbert made it funny by making it even more over the top.

  3. Katsu says

    I’m pretty sure it’s Toby Keith mooning both us and the religious right, to be honest. Us because he’s Christian and likes Christmas, and the religious nuts because calling this a war is utterly ridiculous. Say what you want about the man, but he certainly doesn’t toe anyone’s political line. Anyway… anything that involves a smiling mushroom cloud wearing a Santa hat wins in my book.

  4. BobbyEarle says

    “Baby jesus ’tis of thee…”

    I thought that was a funny line, but the ending bit, referring to a present of a nuke to the ACLU pretty much clinched it for me…not satire.

    Am I the only one who thinks that Toby was reading cue-cards?

  5. says

    Toby Keith is one of those artists whose work I usually enjoy, but whose politics annoy the piss out of me. I really do enjoy his music, but I’ve never bought a damn thing he’s released.

    This is one of those great pieces that I think will appeal to both sides. FSM knows that some will use it as a ‘War on Christmas’ theme song, and folks like us will grin at how clearly it paints that whole mindset.

  6. Voltaire says

    I think this is satire in the same way Palin on SNL was satire – he’s allowing his own beliefs to be exaggerated for parody and entertainment value.

  7. Alex says

    I’m sorry, it was a song from The Stephen Colbert Christmas Special on Comedy Central. Toby Keith may have believed it, but Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart (who produced the special) are not exactly the “war on Christmas” types…

    So it was satire. That’s it, end of story. Unless The Daily Show and Comedy Central magically turned into religious loons overnight.

  8. Benjamin Geiger says

    Toby Keith embodies everything that is wrong with country music today. When did sanity give way to jingoism? When did “this is a hard life we live” turn into “I’m country-er than thou, therefore I have larger testicles”?

  9. June says

    If this is satire, then Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh are satire. One waits in vain for idiots like these to break up and laugh at themselves.

    Apparently, the human brain has a feedback loop that allows it to start believing whatever crap it generates when there is no opposition to dampen the enthusiasm.

  10. says

    Even if he meant it to be satire, it’ll get un-ironically embraced by country music radio.

    Satire has been killed so hard.

  11. lylebot says

    This may have multiple layers. It appeared on the Colbert Report, and was almost certainly written by Colbert’s writers, so it is prima facie satire. However, Toby Keith may not have understood it was satire. It’s so over-the-top that I doubt he wouldn’t have gotten it on some level, but I suppose it’s possible.

  12. Michael says

    Im from MI but i live in TN now…you can bet these bible thumping inbreeds will flock to this stupidity thinking its not satire at all. You should seriously see some of the crap that passes for TV on a sunday.

  13. Benjamin Geiger says

    Zensunni @ #16:

    Yes, he’s a Democrat. Never mind his allegiance to the Republican party and the fundraisers he’s held for Bush and the GOP. Never mind his outspoken contempt for the Democratic party. He is a Democrat. He has always been a Democrat. I hope you enjoy your increased chocolate ration this week.

    Alex @ #14:

    The best political ‘satire’ we have these days is just pretending to agree (and snickering behind your hands) while letting the idiots say what they want to say.

  14. Sydney S. says

    Actually #22 he’s a conservative democrat. True, he fund raised for and otherwise supported Bush, but he’s also been known to support on the more local and state level almost entirely Democrats. He was against the war and for a time line to get out, but he’s one of those anti-war people who goes and visits soldiers and such.
    The whole “Dixie Chicks” thing was regarding the overseas bit more then the content bit apparently.

    The reason I know this is because my conservative parents are pissed off about it, because they used to go around saying he was the pinical of musical performers being political.

    I myself couldn’t give a damn.

  15. Parsnip says

    “but Santa Clause and Uncle Sam are one and the same.”

    that made me chuckle. The rest was a little vulgar (or maybe I’m just a humorless, politically correct liberal elite who can’t see the fun in violent theocratic overtones).

    If it’s satire, it’s pretty weak satire because a lot of people actually think this way, and coming from a blubbering right-winger like my pal Toby, it’s more of a demonstration. Either way it wasn’t very funny.

  16. Larry A says

    Don’t count on it being satire. This will become an instant meme status in the south where retribution for the election results is the cause célèbre . It will be on every country music radio station ad nauseum. There will be lots of people that know all the lyrics by heart by the end of the year and they will sing it at the top of their lungs as they swing their Jack Daniel’s bottles in unison. Believe me, we don’t need any more of these wackaloons having thoughts of blowing up atheists’ houses dancing through their heads along with the sugar plums.

  17. Fred Mounts says

    I personally found it hilarious, satire or not. It was definitely over the top, and regardless of how he meant it, we have to be able to laugh at ourselves once in a while. The images in the background really sold it for me.


  18. Michael says

    Wither he is a democrat or republican is really not relevant. What should concern you more is that vast numbers of amerikans who form their foreign policy and world views around his songs. lol.

  19. GBM says

    Toby Keith has made a career out of selling satire as straight country anybody remember “we’ll put a boot in your ass it’s the american way”? That song was hilarious, and the rednecks totally bought it as serious.

  20. says

    I actually emailed PZ about this, thinking it was satire. For a half-second, I thought he was serious. However, in the context of the show, I’m pretty sure he’s mocking his fellow Christians who so vehemently want to force Christmas on everyone.

  21. Susie says

    Toby didn’t write the song, he just appeared as a guest per Stephen’s request. Stephen wrote that song. Toby didn’t attack the Chicks for what they said about Bush. He defended his song, Courtesy of the Red White and Blue, when Natalie bashed him. Just as they had a reight to defend themselves, he has that same right. People really need to get the facts straight.

  22. Epikt says

    Another battle in the War Against Our Ears. In a just world, the pedal steel guitar would be considered a crime against humanity.

  23. Ubi Dubium says

    The rest of the Colbert Christmas special had some wonderful stuff. My favorite was the song from Feist. Colbert prays fervently to god to save his christmas show, and the angel’s sung reply is “Please be patient, an authorized prayer technician will be with thee shortly.” Willie Nelson as the 4th wise man bearing a wonderful herbal gift was great too. There are multiple digs at the religious right all through the special. Colbert says that he is actually a christian, but after watching the special, I am beginning to wonder if he isn’t really one of us, deep down.

  24. says

    @Larry A #26 –

    Just remember, not all southern-bred rednecks are the enemy. There is every chance that I’ll be camping sometime this holiday season, and that you might be able to find a group of atheist-leaning hicks singing this song (yes, probably accompanied by Jack Daniels) having a good old time.

    I can assure you we will have no intentions of blowing up our own houses, or anyone elses. Putting bottle rockets on balsa gliders, no promises there.

  25. Jimminy Christmas says

    I think it’s pretty obviously satire. But, I would not be at all surprised if it ends up being taken seriously by a lot of good old boy Godbots, or if it ends up as bumper music on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

  26. skepsci says

    I was all set to make a joke post questioning whether it was really satire, but looks like y’all beat me to the punch.

    …you are joking, right?

  27. Holydust says

    @Ubi Dubium: Colbert is not a Christian. His “character” is a Christian conservative wackaloon. It’s satire.

    Quote from the cover of “The Athiest Manifesto”:

    “It may not be the Good News, but it is great news.” -Stephen Colbert

  28. Sven DiMilo says

    Song: almost certainly satire.
    Visuals: certainly satire.
    Keith singing it: a good sport agreeing to self-satire.
    I don’t think he really knows how to play the guitar, though.

    In a just world, the pedal steel guitar would be considered a crime against humanity

    So wrong (that’s Jerry Garcia).

  29. Matt7895 says

    Of course it is satire, you fools. It was from the Colbert Christmas Special. Everything that guy does is satire.

  30. Sven DiMilo says

    Oh yeah, Randolph rocks hard. Kind of ironic that we can thank religion for that–he comes out of an African-American church-music tradition called Sacred Steel.

  31. says

    Dude, if that’s satire, then A) everything the man has ever done is satire, and B) the man has outdone Andy Fucking Kaufman.

  32. barlo says

    To all who wonder if it was satire, keep in mind that it was performed by TK but written by staff writers of the Cobert Report. Toby was just playing along.

  33. Matt7895 says

    I mean, the line “Separate church and state, that’s what somebody said, I say it’s time we separated him from his head” should be enough to tell you the song is a joke.

  34. Ami Silberman says

    “but Santa Clause and Uncle Sam are one and the same.”
    Well, the modern depictions orginated with Thomas Nast —
    Does this also mean that they are both the same as Boss Tweed?

  35. Holydust says

    @Bob #46:
    Then I’m confused. Which stance is he advocating? Both seem serious, only the quote from the book I cited is more recent than your articles. Why would he be scoring the one cover quote on the front of a prominent athiest publication?

  36. Deepsix says

    Some of the stereotypes of the south posted here are true. But don’t assume we’re all the same. We aren’t all godbot/jesusfreaks. We don’t all run around barefoot and in overalls shooting shotguns into the air (unless something happens to fly overhead).

    Anyway, I was born here in Tennessee. I lived in Georgia for 10 years and in Tennessee the other 26. At face value, most would assume I fit the typical “redneck” stereotype. We live on a small farm, raise horses, and live in a small/rural/conservative county. I’m an avid hunter and enjoy studying civil war history (our home is approx. 120 years old and several battles took place nearby). However, I’ve been an atheist for over 12 years. I’m a strong proponent of gay rights. And avid supporter of Obama.
    Yes, the south has its issues, but some of us are trying to change that. It’s just going to be a long road.

    As far as Toby Keith, he seems to be all over the place politically. But I think he was just trying to have fun on the show. And I think he was a good sport about it. You have to give him props for that. I’ve never cared for his music, but for a good laugh, look up his song “I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again”.

  37. paradoctor says

    Colbert’s writers wrote it, so it’s satire; Keith sang it, so it’s good-sport self-satire; but Poe’s law applies, so it _will_ be taken seriously by someone. So the sequence is from mocking absurdity to pretending absurdity to being absurdity.

    The flip side of Poe’s law is that now a satirist needn’t write the material, it’s enough to quote the target verbatim.

  38. J. D. Mack says

    It’s hard to tell with a song like this. Here are some excerpts from Trace Adkins “Fightin’ Words.”


    “But one slip of the tongue ’bout my God Or my mama
    Or this flag that I wear on my shirt
    You’ll see a side of me man
    That I don’t think you wanna
    Cause them there’s fightin’ words ”


    “Excuse me
    First amendment?
    Son, the first amendment protects you from the government
    Not from me
    You can say whatever you want to out there
    You come within reach of me
    I’ll exercise my right to give you a good ol’ country ass whoopin’
    Is what I’ll do for you
    By God”


    See? Some people can sing a song like this and mean it. Scary!

    J. D.

  39. Sherry says

    Robert Randolph & the Family Band are playing a free concert in my town Saturday night. I’m in now, but if they start any of that “praise” stuff– Bob, Sven, David, I’ll blame you guys for making me sick on a Saturday night.

    (At least there will be fireworks!)

  40. Jeeves says


    I think Colbert is quietly religious. He seems like a Catholic Democrat, I’m sure he’s not the only one. As for his quote for the Atheist Manifesto, perhaps it was Colbert’s way of agreeing that loud religious displays shouldn’t be a part of public life. I get the feeling he would rather keep religion in the home. Of course, I’m not positive on any of this.


    You don’t have to be religious to teach Sunday school. I read in some Stephen Pinker interview that he taught Sunday classes for money during college and I’m pretty sure he’s atheist or agnostic.

  41. Epikt says

    42, 43:

    So? It’s played in such a way that it’s indistinguishable from a conventional guitar. What’s the point?

    Okay, maybe I was a little harsh. I’ve gigged with a guy who uses a lap steel with an eBow and a large pile of effects and loopers. With enough processing, it doesn’t sound like a cat in a dryer.

  42. Arcchaneus says

    I’ve always suspected that Colbert was a fellow comrade in arms but I had never seen anything by him to confirm this suspicion. He tends to play up his character as himself and hide his true identity pretty well. Some of the things he says though don’t seem like things anyone who even vaguely believes in those atrocious bronze age myths could bring himself to say. Perhaps I’m just falsely imposing a quality on him that I value because I really like him and what he does but it seems to me he almost has to be an atheist.

  43. Holydust says

    @Arcchaeneus: Seconded. That’s exactly what I suspect.

    I mean, look at Julia Sweeney, and her bit about how her parents reacted, how everyone reacted, to her coming out as an athiest. Raised in an Irish-Catholic family, if Colbert does really identify as an athiest, he’s a prime candidate to never say so in black and white terms. He makes a living off of playing at a cult of personality, to the point that he doesn’t break character when grilling interviewees that he clearly agrees with on the inside. It would be against the Colbert code to openly identify as anything but the character he portrays.

    That’s his thing, those of us who are big fans even wonder sometimes, and he’s one of few people you can say that about. :) He’s a master of that art, for sure.

  44. ggab says

    I’m afraid that I have to agree with Epikt.
    That steel guitar stuff goes straight to my spine.
    To each his own. It’s difficult for me to dislike anything that Gilmour does, but I just can’t stomach it.

  45. tzikeh says

    @#41, Holydust, you said: “Colbert is not a Christian.”

    Yes, he is – he’s a Catholic who often teaches Sunday School. But he’s not a right-wing loony Religious Right guy, like the character he plays.

    Also, this is a satire–the lyrics are by producer David Javerbaum.

  46. SteveM says

    I just wish Comedy Central didn’t block everything from us Canucks.

    They don’t. At least, when I was visiting Canada 2 months ago, I tried to watch The Daily Show from comedycentral.com and got redirected to a canadian version of the site that did have the video.

  47. tzikeh says

    @#46, Boby, you said: “Not a Christian perhaps, but he is a practicing Catholic”

    …you understand that Catholics are Christians, right?

    And all of you who think he’s an atheist like us, but he’s hiding it — the guy is a very devout Catholic who *teaches Sunday School*. Not everybody who is awesome has to be an atheist.

  48. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    L Brent Bozell III is not a fan.

    The real agenda emerges when Colbert’s Christmas-cabin set is visited by country singer Toby Keith. There’s a war on Christmas, Keith proclaims, and liberals are going to be dead when it’s over. He sings “Separate church and state, that’s what some lawyer said / I say we separate him from his head.”

    Keith also sings, “You can call me un-Christian, but that’s not true. Buddy, I’ve got a present for you.”

    Then, the audience sees a house exploding, and Santa and two little kids laughing at the violence implied. After another verse, in which church-state separation is “what some liberal said,” the “present” is getting shot by Keith, who then jokes “Hope it’s the right size.”

    He sings about Santa dropping bombs: “Saint Toby’s got one, too, for the ACLU.” The footage turns to mushroom clouds.

    The lyrics (written by “Daily Show” executive producer David Javerbaum) are not what you would call subtle (or intelligent) about those bullying Christians. The song jokes that idiotic Colbert-clone conservatives think Santa Claus and Uncle Sam are one and the same, “so boys, take aim.”

    Perhaps this joking about slaying the unbelievers might warm the hearts of those who equate Christians with blood-thirsty Muslim radicals. I’m sure Rosie O’Donnell gives it two thumbs up.

    But what do I know, L Brent Bozell III is a professional idiot.

  49. SteveM says

    …you understand that Catholics are Christians, right?

    Not again. “Christian” is short for “Evangelical Christian” or more accurately “Non-Catholic Christian”.

  50. CaptainKendrick says

    Old saying goes: “You can’t make much money writing bad poetry. You can’t make much money making bad music. But if you put the two together, you get country music.”

    Don’t know much about Keith, other than I see him as another dime-a-dozen pop country music douche bag, but to each his tastes I guess. I suspect that Comedy Central wrote the lyrics, and Keith either saw them and said “right on man!” or said “heh, heh, I get it…this is funny, I’ll do it.”

    As far as Colbert goes, I like his show and his jabs at right-wing culture, but he is a good believing Catholic boy, as he proclaimed on an interview on NPR last week to promote this Xmas special. He is, as I think it was Sam Harris, someone who can be described as just as dangerous as Fundamentalists, because as a religious “tolerant”, people like him give a pass to believers, both moderate and extreme both, with that tolerance, and refuse to actually debate the merit of their own faith. It makes them happy, so don’t you dare try to challenge their happiness with logic.

  51. Ryan F says

    The amount of people here that don’t think that was satire is shocking. For a group of people that insults Middle American “stupidity”, I can’t help but love the irony here. People… Toby Keith probably contributed 2% to the writing of that song. “Hey Toby, what key are you most comfortable singing in?” “G major.” End of story. It’s on the Colbert Report which has Stephen Colbert as the American Neo-Con Savior. It would only make sense that he would have Toby sing a song like that in order to represent that persona. Sheesh, people.. (Obviously not all of you, some people understood)

  52. SteveM says

    But what do I know, L Brent Bozell III is a professional idiot.

    Indeed, and clearly unable to distinguish an actor from his character. Also doesn’t seem to realize that maybe not all “Christmas Specials” are meant for the whole family and that’s why it aired at 10pm.

  53. chocolatepie says

    Look, Toby Keith is doin’ it for the cash. He got paid MONEY to appear on a Colbert special, guaranteeing him a shitton of exposure to an audience he normally doesn’t reach, and he didn’t even have to write his own song.

    Who needs beliefs!? He just went out and bought another house!

  54. Jeeves says

    “And all of you who think he’s an atheist like us, but he’s hiding it — the guy is a very devout Catholic who *teaches Sunday School*. Not everybody who is awesome has to be an atheist”

    You don’t have to be a believer to teach Sunday school.

  55. Lago says

    Hey people, do not blame the pedal steel guitar. It is NEVER the instruments fault. The person playing makes the music suck or not, not the instrument…

  56. says

    I thought that was hilarious, and I never imagined I’d say that about anything related to Toby Keith. The entire show had me giggling way too hard.

  57. DaveG says


    I often think country music is one big Poe. As I tease my kids, it’s all about pickups, tobacco, firearms and genetic flaws. Do country music fans really believe that millionaires in cowboy hats are “just folks” like them? I think people like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson are tremendously talented and sincere, but the rank and file are either simple-minded or just brilliant liars.

  58. Benjamin Geiger says

    Discourage inbreeding. Ban country music.

    (I kid! Maybe.)

    Some country music is tolerable… but it’s either the old-school stuff (think Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, and the like) or the pre-emo stuff (as in Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, etc). Too much of it falls under “Urg! Me has cowboy hat and bigass truck! Me has bigger genitals!”

  59. tsg says

    If it is supposed to be satire, it completely fails to show how ridiculous the “War on Christmas” position is. There will be religious nuts singing this song in all seriousness as their new anthem.

    Whether Colbert/Keith meant it or not, people are going to take it as if they did and support the sentiment. That, in itself, makes it a failure at being satire.

    Satire is supposed to show how ridiculous the position it is parodying is, not give the supporters something to rally behind.

  60. Lydia says

    “You don’t have to be a believer to teach Sunday school.”

    Yeah, he’s probably doing it for the money.

  61. Paul says

    This is hilarious. If this Toby fellow is actually serious about it, well then that’s even more funny.

  62. The Knave says

    No deep analysis of this idiocy is required. Toby Keith is a dope (and certainly not a musician). His nut-case followers will applaud this as a slight over-statement of the call-to-arms needed to rescue religion.

  63. Jeeves says


    So, there is no possibility that a person could teach Sunday school while being an atheist or agnostic? Really, no chance?

  64. Lydia says

    Sure, there’s a chance. I just think that a lot of people are jumping at any possibility that Colbert might be a nonbeliever, no matter how thin. It seems silly to me. I mean, if it turns out that he’s really an atheist or agnostic, great. But there’s no particular reason to believe he is — and why does he have to be?

    It reminds me of when what’s-his-face from American Idol came out recently. Some of his fans simply could not accept it, even when he said flat out, “I’m gay,” because they couldn’t believe that someone they looked up to didn’t conform to their beliefs.

  65. JohnnieCanuck says

    I would assume he is a Cultural Catholic.

    As to his being a Sunday School teacher, think about it. He gives a performance to a bunch of kids where he lays on some of that Culture and it is only after a second glance that you realise he is not saying the kids have to believe the silly parts.

    Evidence for my conjecture would be that they have a hard time keeping out all the adults that want to listen in.

  66. tsg says

    So, there is no possibility that a person could teach Sunday school while being an atheist or agnostic? Really, no chance?

    It’s not impossible for an atheist or agnostic to go to church every Sunday either, but I wouldn’t think it at all likely.

  67. says

    I just think that a lot of people are jumping at any possibility that Colbert might be a nonbeliever, no matter how thin. It seems silly to me. I mean, if it turns out that he’s really an atheist or agnostic, great. But there’s no particular reason to believe he is — and why does he have to be?

    I guess it’s like the Obama thing. You can say you believe, you can go to church and do community work. But if you aren’t a bible-bashing believer then you get the accusation of being an atheist.

    It really doesn’t matter what he believes, just as long as his show keeps delivering the lols.

  68. Jeeves says


    As I wrote in a previous post, I do think that Colbert is Catholic. In this case, I think a Catholic does teach Sunday school. And based off his show and his interviews, he seems to be a pretty sensible one at that. But I’ve never liked the concept that anyone who teaches religion (Sunday school or at university) or has takes a strong interest in it must be a believer.


    I went to church for years when I was young and although I never believed in it, I never hated going. What with their architecture, music and stained glass windows and statues, churches are very ascetically interesting places.

  69. Holydust says


    “It seems silly to me. I mean, if it turns out that he’s really an atheist or agnostic, great. But there’s no particular reason to believe he is — and why does he have to be?”

    I think the quote I pointed out above is a pretty damn good reason for those of us who didn’t know about the Sunday school thing to assume he was an Athiest.

    See my post above for the quote from the cover of the Athiest Manifesto. It was hardly “silly” of me to assume he was an Athiest from that tidbit. If you didn’t know he taught Sunday school, you’d assume he was an Athiest. Or at least agnostic. Give us a break.

  70. Lydia says

    I see what you’re saying. I definitely think that one doesn’t have to be a believer to take a strong interest in religion, or to study it or teach about it. Still, I think somebody teaching religion to kids in a church setting is a lot more likely to be a believer than not; it’s not proof, but it’s a pretty strong indication.

  71. dingo says

    The problem is not that it was presented as satire and anyone who watched Colbert would know this. The problem is that half a country of rednecks who wouldn’t watch Colbert on a bet will both believe and support the song and its philosophy at face value. This will become a staple seasonal song in years to come.

  72. MarkusR says

    The other day I was surfing through the radio dial as I was resetting my car’s radio stations, and I swear there was a song on a country music station that was funnier than hell. At least to me. I’m afraid to think the regular audience thought it was serious. The song was essentially a guy telling a woman in a bar that he is classier than the other guys, because he would take her to the woods where he “used to hunt”, and give a good time.

  73. says

    Toby appears somewhat as an enigma. I know him and his family. He coached my grandson in flag football and was excellent at the job. His son and my grandson were good friends. He is a conservative Democrat and has supported many Democratic candidates. He has, without publicity, contributed to the medical treatment of very sick children. He has performed many times for our troops, again without a lot of publicity, etc.

    I have been told that the major dust-up with the Chicks was due to their wearing sequins that spelled “FTK” on their dresses at an awards ceremony. The meaning of “FTK” should be obvious. When Toby saw this, he walked out of the ceremony. Someone may have more details on this, but it has appeared in the media.

  74. Benjamin Geiger says

    vhutchison @ #99:

    The “F(U)TK” incident was in response to him spearheading the hatred campaign against them.

  75. scooter says

    Holy Dust @ 41 Colbert is not a Christian. His “character” is a Christian conservative wackaloon. It’s satire.

    Colbert is a practicing Catholic

  76. George says

    Whether there is a buried satirical intent or not, it is squarely aimed as being redneck carol to make a few bucks.

    If it can be read two ways, I suppose Toby makes even more bucks. Now that’s a scheme.

    My sense is that Toby falls down on the side of seeing the message through redneck eyes.

  77. jetdriver says

    USA Today stated on Friday, concerning the show, that Colbert (the comedian, not the character) considered two things off-limit as material: “You draw the line at personal tragedy. You draw the line at mocking a religious belief, because it’s a religious belief.” says Colbert (extract from the article http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2008-11-20-colbert-christmas_N.htm)

    This is exactly the stuff Sam Harris/Dawkins are rightly pissed off about: why is this off-limits? Why can he so easily make fun of loony right wing policies, behaviors, statements, etc. but not of much more loonier beliefs?
    I think Colbert has a highly compartimented mind (as defined by Harris in TEOF) if he really means what he stated in this interview.
    He is still the best satyrist around, has the best delivery and produces high quality comedy but he fails here.
    I did not enjoy the X-mas special that much because of that article I read that day…Knowing his position made the supposed satyre confusing.
    And if “beliefs are off-limit” than why is non-belief not off-limit?? He sometimes satyrizes atheists, in the song and doesn’t Toby blame us for ruining Christmas?
    He also seemed to agree with his character when grilling Dawkins and Harris on his show years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love his interviews but those made me uncomfortable.
    Although I know how to discriminate between the two Colberts on the subjects of politics, social agenda, etc. I am unable to do so on the subject of religion.
    He stated in a great interview on Charlie Rose that (I paraphrase here) his targets were those who “yell louder” to get their meaningless message accross to the guts of the public, bypassing their brains. These were those who he was after: the O’Reilly’s, Beck’s and other Limbaugh’s. Does he include Dawkins in this?
    But aren’t the priests, promising Hell to their unworthy flock from the puplit, the “loudest yellers” of all?

    Note that USA Today is also repeating that he is a “practicing Catholic that has taught Sunday School”.

  78. QrazyQat says

    Toby didn’t attack the Chicks for what they said about Bush. He defended his song, Courtesy of the Red White and Blue, when Natalie bashed him. Just as they had a reight to defend themselves, he has that same right. People really need to get the facts straight.

    “Keith has played concerts since Maines’ anti-Bush comments with a backdrop showing a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.”

    Oh yeah, Maines started it. Apropos of nothing here, I love sanctimonious demands that “People really need to get the facts straight” when the person saying it … well, I lost my train of thought there. You’ll have to figure it out; nothing to do with anything here, I don’t know why that thought popped into my head. And BTW, Keith’s Bismarckian “stabbed in the back” scenario about the Iraq war is classic…. classic stupid, classic dishonest, unfortunately all too often classic country. Thankfully there are/were people like Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins around.

  79. Jeeves says

    “This is exactly the stuff Sam Harris/Dawkins are rightly pissed off about: why is this off-limits? Why can he so easily make fun of loony right wing policies, behaviors, statements, etc. but not of much more loonier beliefs?”

    But I think he does. He did “This Week in God” on the Daily Show. Look it up on Comedy Central and I think you’ll find it was nothing but mocking. And he has come down on the evangelicals (Robertson and Haggard and the like) as well as the politicians who want to make America a theocracy. No, he doesn’t spend time every show mocking religious belief but I think he does a pretty bang up job on hypocrisy and crazy belief systems in general.

  80. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    QrazyQat, I think you meant ‘Hitlerian “stabbed in the back”‘, not ‘Bismarckian’.

  81. Bob says


    Agreed that one doesn’t have to be a believer to teach Sunday school, but I’m not sure where you are trying to go with that in relation to Colbert… what was said about him was that he was a Catholic and taught Sunday school. So while there may be non-believers that teach Sunday school, Colbert is not a member of that group.

    To others: Not all folks consider Catholics to be Christians, just as many don’t consider Mormons to be Christians (although most Catholics and Mormons do consider themselves Christian):




    I personally think they argue far too much about their imaginary friend.

  82. says

    You’d think if there was any church that could claim to legitimately be Christian, it would be the Catholic Church; what with them being first and all.

  83. Jeeves says


    I do declare that I have been obtuse in my previous posts. So, here it is in all its glory. I agree Colbert is Catholic or Christian at the least a believer in the Judeo-Christian Yahweh. However, my only point in this was that you can be a teacher of religion without being religious yourself. That’s it.

  84. Holydust says

    @Jeeves: Sorry, didn’t realize you were quoting someone else. :) I didn’t see quotes or italics, so I assumed the words were yours.

    Else: I’m not bothering — everyone else who’s responded to my questions hasn’t bothered reading the full discussion before hitting the “Post” button. :) I know he’s *claimed* to be a practicing Catholic, but he also pretends to be a conservative pundit as SATIRE on TV. He’s gone so far as to conduct full interviews in a persona that is not representative of his true nature.

    That leads me to believe that simply taking everything he claims about himself at face value is being gullible at best.

    And since a great number of people in this thread called Poe on something that seemed to me to clearly *not* be 100% satire, I would be inclined to assume that they might be incorrect about Colbert’s religious stance. :) That is all.

  85. QrazyQat says

    QrazyQat, I think you meant ‘Hitlerian “stabbed in the back”‘, not ‘Bismarckian’.

    It was earlier than Hitler, although he certainly ran with it. I thought it started with Bismarck but am very possibly remembering that wrong (several blogs mentioned the history of the idea in the last couple years). I see now only the mention of Ludendorff promoting this during his brief exile from Germany after WWI.

  86. Chris Davis says

    The sort of parody-by-accurate-imitation Colbert and this guy do makes me a little uneasy. For one thing, it seems a bit short on finesse: they just say the ghastliest things they can think of.

    I’ve been trying to think if we have any good equivalents over here in Britainland, and all I’ve come up with is Bird and Fortune:

    ‘Well, the decision not to allow gays in the military came after a consultation exercise with the troops. We asked everyone “Would you like a large man to creep into your tent at night and put his genital organ up your bottom?” – and 70% said they wouldn’t.’

  87. bezoar says

    Nothing funny about it except the video backdrop. I live in a place where there is an unspoken war at christmas between us’n and them-ens. I have a winter solstice party and the other folks celebrate the “birthday” of jeebus. There is no love lost at this time of year. Ah, the irony.

  88. firemancarl says

    Just remember folks, EVERYTHING that Colbert does is OVER THE TOP. It’s supposed to be. His entire show is a swipe at Bill O’ The Clown.

  89. andyo says

    Believe me, if you think this is in any way serious, you have not seen the whole special. This was the first song, and I also thought WTF!? But then by the time Willie “The fourth Wise Man” Nelson finished his song, it was all very clear. (Can you guess what his “gift” to baby jesus was?)

  90. andyo says

    By the way, Colbert deserves a hundred years of atheist indulgence after all his “This Week in God” bits on the Daily Show, and most importantly, his hilariously scathing bit on Dubya et al at the correspondents dinner.

  91. Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker says

    QrazyQat, Otto von Bismarck died in 1898, twenty years before the end of the First World War. Frankly, he did what he could to avoid any two front wars which is what happened to Germany in both World Wars.

    The “stabbed in the back” trope was common among all of the right ward veterans. So you are right, Hitler did not come up with it, but then,Hitler came up with nothing. But he sure as hell ran with it. Also, Ludendorff was part of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch.

  92. jetdriver says

    @ Jeeves, Andyo
    I remember “This week in God” now. It was pretty good.
    So, why is he making such statements in USA Today? Why did he tone down since the Daily Show bits?
    Hard to say. I think he always remains pretty private about the ‘real’ Colbert. The closest to figuring out who he is really came on that Charlie Rose interview, watchable on YouTube or the PBS website. A very interesting/touching interview for anybody that likes him. Sad stuff about Eastern flight 212.

  93. Mr Doubt(hell)fire says

    “”Hey Toby, what key are you most comfortable singing in?” “G major.””

    Arrgh, I have to be a picky perfect pitch asshole. That’s actually in A major.

    At any rate, this was only done for the money, and also partly because Toby Keith and Colbert are probably genuine friends. TK also isn’t terribly partisan, although he’s definitely conservative. Anyways, the song is in good fun.

    “He is, as I think it was Sam Harris, someone who can be described as just as dangerous as Fundamentalists, because as a religious “tolerant”, people like him give a pass to believers, both moderate and extreme both, with that tolerance, and refuse to actually debate the merit of their own faith. It makes them happy, so don’t you dare try to challenge their happiness with logic.”

    This is exactly the kind of crap that causes the general public to look down on atheists. “He’s a religious person, therefore he demands that religion be completely ignored!” Bullshit. He’s satirized about every religious position possible, although he concentrates primarily on the right wing ones. Just as atheists can often laugh at themselves when satirized, some religious people can, too. The right wingers can’t, of course, but they’re just stuck up pussy authoritarians that can’t tolerate dissent.

    Attempting to alienate religious liberals will be the end of the atheist movement.

  94. andyo says

    jetdriver #122

    I am a big fan of Colbert’s work. I never miss an ep. I have read and seen the interviews, and he is a catholic indeed, and I do believe he teaches sunday school. As he has demonstrated in his show too many times, he has a knowledge of the bible that even most ex-cath atheists don’t (and of course, much more than you average christian).

    But on the other hand, whatever he said, he does mock religions, only subtly enough that the religious for the most part don’t mind. If you saw his This Week in God bits, every time the “God Machine” (hilarious in itself) came up with Islam, for instance, he prefaced the joke with “a religion for which I have the utmost respect”, then proceeded. Religious people don’t seem to know what to do with that. My guess is that he was applying the same when he said religious beliefs are off-limits. He says that, then goes off with some just-enough ambiguous (for the religious anyway) mocking.

    And more importantly, he does piss off the right kind of people.

  95. says

    And more importantly, he does piss off the right kind of people.

    What the hell? That article was really terrible. Why is it that people can’t separate entertainment from reality? Or even worse, worry about the consequences of entertainment meant only for adults of the effect on children? There’s such thing as “target audience”, bible-bashers and children are not Colbert’s audience.

    Just another moron trying to get high and mighty over modern culture they don’t understand.

  96. SteveM says

    jetdriver wrote:

    [Colbert] is still the best satyrist around, …Knowing his position made the supposed satyre confusing.
    …He sometimes satyrizes atheists,

    I recommend looking up “satyr” to see why these sentences read really weird to me :) (particularly “satyrizes”)

  97. Steven Sullivan says

    OMG peoples, you’re making my brain hurt. Some real cluelessness going on here.

    Even before I watched it, I knew with 100% certainty that *it was satire*. Not only because I’d read the publicity for the show, but because , as some here seem woefully unaware, Colbert is a professional comedian who routinely satirizes conservatives by impersonating one.*

    If you read pre-broadcast interviews about the Christmas show, he talks about Toby Keith et al. being good sports. It’s unlikely, btw, that Keith was paid enough by Comedy Central ‘to buy a new house’ unless it was a shack in Bumfuck, North Dakota.


    *a routine he employed, btw, to brilliantly insult George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the supine mainstream press, *to their faces* (at the Correspondents’ Dinner). Go find it on YouTube.

  98. Linda says

    I like to read comments because I find it really amazing that there are so many different viewpoints in the USA — but hey, isn’t that one of the priveleges of being American? By the way, I enjoy Toby’s music and think it is awesome that he takes time to visit the troops every single year……he does that regardless of his thoughts on the war because he believes in showing support to the troops. That is great! He is an entertainer and he is good at it. He makes more money than any other country music artist because he is a smart business man…….perhaps he isn’t such a redneck afterall? He used to be a Democrat (lifelong) but is now Independent because he was appalled at how Democrats treated Sarah Palin but also didn’t like the negativity of the Republicans in the campaign. I just don’t think you can put people in a “box” like so many of you have tried to do in your comments.

  99. Steve_C says

    So who mistreated Sarah Palin?

    I don’t remember any politicians mistreating her. The press? She wouldn’t even do a press conference.

    Toby may be smart… but silly sometimes too.