You tried, Dave Barry

Dave Barry’s Year in Review is…readable. Normally I’d find Barry’s summary at least amusing, but I’m sorry, it falls flat. “Everyone in Washington DC is a bumbling idiot!” has lost all of its humor nowadays — it ought to be a cause of national mourning rather than national merriment.

Good try, though. I’ve stopped laughing at politics, I’m afraid.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    “Everyone in Washington DC is a bumbling idiot!”

    Ah yes, the same non-ideological, South-Park-shit-on-everyone, both-sider-ism that has created our current stalled, status-quo political system that’s teetering on totalitarianism.

    Thanks, Dave!

  2. stroppy says

    I heard a pundit the other day tossing off a flippant remark about some people “flirting with fascism.” Face it, we’re getting bent over for a vicious assault and people are more interested in gawking at Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram account.

    It’s worth noting though that on the second half of Meet the Press yesterday the panel did seem to be sobering up a bit. Joshua Johnson even got hot under the collar about the constant lying, which stunned everyone momentarily. Yet none of them could offer a way out.

  3. daved says

    Did anyone else even bother to read the piece? I didn’t think it was rife with both-siderism, and I actually did laugh at a number of things in it. You guys are getting sour.

  4. wcaryk says

    Actually I’ve noticed that with his last several end of year pieces. It’s getting increasingly harder to laugh-that-I-may-not-cry.

  5. Susan Montgomery says

    @2 I call it “Springfield Nihilism” after the most famous example “The Simpsons”. But really, it goes back further than that. It’s Lenny Bruce, National Lampoon, Mad Magazine, Mel Brooks, Hunter S. Thompson, Ben Elton, Monty Python…and the full list is way longer still. And how many of them did we defend by using the same rhetorical tactics (“It’s just a joke”, “We need to question everything,” “Voltaire FTW!”, “Things don’t have to like, mean anything”. etc etc) that the Alt-Right uses today to advance their agenda?

  6. Susan Montgomery says

    !0 a) And I forgot the nastiest rhetorical trick we’ve used that’s been turned against us: “Don’t be judgemental!”

  7. chrislawson says


    I’m surprised you didn’t see the bothsiderism. There was at least one bothsiderism punchline for each month. On one occasion, Barry even makes fun of Democrats thinking the Ukraine phone transcript was damning only to make fun of Trump two paragraphs later for pretending it wasn’t damning.

    There’s also a blazing whataboutism in his joke about California passing a law to ban furs when other crises had affected the state. To put this in context, California passed 3033 bills this year. Many of those bills dealt directly with the crises Dave Barry mentioned. So Dave Barry is putting a case for the legislature only dealing with the crises he thinks are important and ignoring the other 3000 matters that goverments need to manage.

    And even then, why did he choose the fur ban as the bill to mock? If you’re going to choose some useless legislation, he could have chosen ‘SCR-61 Sister state relationships with Ethiopian regional states’ or ‘SCR-4 Physician Anesthesiologist Week’ (yes, anaesthetics is an important field of medicine, but why do these specialists need their own promotion week?) or even, amazingly, ‘ACR-72 Star Wars Day’ which was nothing more than a publicly funded marketing boost for Disney’s SW theme park launch. Apparently Barry thinks banning fur is such a trivial issue that it’s literally joke material — which shows a serious lack of concern for animal welfare.

    Further, Barry is making fun of California not doing enough to combat forest fires when the federal government has been aggressively undermining California’s efforts at climate change mitigation and forestry management. It’s like laughing at someone for stupidly crashing their car after Trump drove them off the road.

    Yes, there were some good lines. I particularly liked the running NFL referee gags. But it wasn’t enough to save the piece.

  8. Bucket of Rainbows says

    Just wanna say out there that Dave Barry looks like a British comedian with a wrong accent.
    You put him in a random London suburbs, and he won’t look out of place.
    It’s that freaking hair of his.

  9. magistramarla says

    I managed to read the entire thing, probably because I’m sick today. Like PZ, I simply didn’t find most of what he wrote this year to be at all funny.

  10. asteraceae says

    #5 “I didn’t think it was rife with both-siderism…”

    Literally the fifth paragraph, bro:

    Washington, D.C., an endlessly erupting scandal volcano, belching out dense swirling smoke plumes of spin, rumor, innuendo, misdirection and lies emitted by both sides, A and B — or, if you prefer, B and A — filling the air with vicious rhetoric, always delivered with the pious insistence that OUR side, unlike the OTHER side, is motivated not by ego, power-lust, greed or hatred, but by a selfless desire to Work for the American People.

    The fact that Dave Barry sees symmetry in Washington proves that his insight is worthless, and political “comedy” without insight is garbage. It’s not that Washington doesn’t change, it’s that Dave Barry doesn’t.