RationalWiki does film criticism?

I’m glad they do, or I wouldn’t realize that some people think Blazing Saddles is “One of the greatest conservative movies of all time!”

The basic problem with conservatives claiming that Blazing Saddles is a conservative film, rather than an anti-racist film, is that it relies on conflating political correctness with liberalism and political incorrectness with conservativism. Political correctness is an ideology-based concept that varies by ideology, for example Conservapedia has nearly completely banned the use of certain terminology (e.g., the near-total ban of the acronym ‘BCE’ and the word ‘fuck’, the latter excepted in rare cases when quoting people they hate[23]) and the banning of certain concepts such as support of evolution (despite it being supported by the Catholic Church since 1950). As the film itself demonstrates, one can use ‘politically incorrect’ terminology in the service of a larger lesson.

They also hate ligatures, which is why I always refer to it as Conservapædia.

Anyway, RationalWiki provides a thorough exegesis of the movie, maybe too thorough — it’s the place to go if you need every single joke in the movie explained. Like if you’re a right-wing “comedian”.


  1. Matt G says

    The Office was great at incorporating racism, sexism, homosexuality, etc. not to put down these groups, but to mock the bigotries, and by extension, mock the bigots.

  2. William George says

    I’ve yet to see any indication that right wingers understand the media they consume.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    I recall back during my teenage-conservative days reading a National Review article claiming Star Wars as a one of the right’s own. Regardless of the actual ideological leanings of George Lucas (who would go on to name villains after Republican politicians in the prequels), the author claimed that it was classic story of defenders of freedom and religious tradition (i.e.the Jedi) against tyrannical empire that embodied big government and secularism. Also, Ronnie Ray-gun called the Ruskies an “evil empire,” so there.

    As the film itself demonstrates, one can use ‘politically incorrect’ terminology in the service of a larger lesson.

    How else can you have right-wingers scream about how denying a platform to racist, misogynistic, and otherwise bigoted lectures and academic is a threat to “academic freedom,” while they seek to censor and punish universities that have anything to do with “CRT” at the same time? I am yet to hear any of these assholes try to excuse what is obvious hypocrisy.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 2

    Not only misunderstand it, but shamelessly (and very poorly) copy it. Just look at PureFlix and the entire Christian entertainment “industry.”

  5. James Fehlinger says

    I’m tired.
    Tired of being admired.
    Tired of love uninspired.

    Dog-damn it, I’m tired!

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    The most common refrain I hear from cinematic knuckle-draggers is “You couldn’t make a movie like Blazing Saddles today” implying that the film’s raunchy humor and use of the n-bomb would somehow doom its production by “liberal” Hollywood. The only thing I can conceive of curtailing a films production is whether or not it makes the studios money. That’s why most of what you see in in the theaters or Blu Ray aisles are safe, familiar reboots and retreads. Nothing that would contain nudity, sex, challenging themes. or anything that would stop parents from spending more money on tickets for the kids.

    Violence is fine though. That’s something American families seem to accept and enjoy.

  7. PaulBC says

    gijoel@3 I’ll take a look, but I think Mel Brooks is simply a very gifted comedian with an intuitive sense of what will get a laugh and “10000 hours” or a lot more practicing it. I remember an interview he did with Terry Gross, where he explained how he got his start as a teenager working in borscht belt resorts. I don’t think it makes much sense to interpret him politically. Some of his humor is situational. Some borders on physical comedy. Some of it is literally puns. In that interview, he answered a question about what role he’d like to play as “the king of Germany [pause] the kaiser roll.”

    My favorite Mel Brooks comedy is probably Get Smart, though it’s going back a ways (and in collaboration with Buck Henry). You could interpret this as Cold War satire. Alternatively, you could say it supported the security state, since Control were definitely the good guys, for all their bumbling. Or it was just humor that resonated with the times.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Akira MacKenzie @ 5
    -Those who like me enjoy a certain Youtube podcast dissecting awful Christian (and general wing nut) films will be familiar with Pureflix and miscellaneous conservative films that are “so bad it is good”.
    This is the main source of conservative humor. Veterans of Ed Brayton’s blog will likewise recall the unintentional humor of the conservative hate mail the blog received.

  9. Howard Brazee says

    If I don’t like a movie or its performers, then it must be Liberal propaganda. If I like it and them, then it must be good conservative entertainment. 8^)

  10. Artor says

    I am amazed at the density and complete lack of self-reflection from right-wingers, but then I am reminded that many of these same people were convinced that Steven Colbert is one of them, and I realize they have always been this dense.

  11. PaulBC says

    I’m gonna assume nobody asked Kevin MacDonald what he thinks Brooks is trying to accomplish. It’s very interesting to see what right wingers will co-opt, seemingly with no understanding of the contradictions. I can’t really think of anything analogous on the left, maybe because right wingers produce such crappy entertainment in the first place.

  12. Walter Solomon says

    They just want to be able to say, “Up yours, n*****!” and not be called racist. That said, I wonder how a film so full of stereotypes about dumb rednecks and made by a Jewish man can possibly be loved by the right.

    Aren’t they the ones who complain about “Jew-controlled Hollywood” making fun of white conservatives?

  13. rblackadar says

    Interesting question — but I think what they love most about it is not the film per se, but rather, being able to say that you couldn’t make it in 2022.

    Besides, who can resist a really good joke, even if it’s at your expense? Blazing Saddles has some of the best jokes in the history of film. Not only that, but there’s the undeniable fact that some of the worst racists (ala Trump) seem to take pride in “Not.Being.Racist” (or antisemitic) — and look everybody, I’m laughing at the racist rubes in that film, so definitely you can see I’m Not.Racist.

  14. stroppy says

    I have a feeling that they may not have actually viewed the film, at least not in recent years, but thinking of the fart jokes, said to themselves, “Yeah, we’re all about farts.”

  15. calgor says

    For several places that I have worked, political correctness was seen as a warning sign of a serious problem, rather than an issue itself.

    If you worked in an environment where workers trusted and respected each other then racist, sexist and derogatory language was almost never heard. Occasionally, use of stereotypes was used for comedic effect but never the more offensive terminology.

    If “political correctness” had take hold it usually meant that there were “unsavoury characters” whose behaviour hadn’t been properly addressed by the management and the culture had been allowed to devolve into a state of “Cold War” and the situation never improved until the stalemate was broken.

  16. says

    Check out the Brietbart section of that article.

    Comedian Leslie Jones, an African American, was criticized for joking about slavery.
    Comedian Sam Kinison was criticized for joking about hunger, gays and AIDS.
    Comedian Tracy Morgan was criticized by GLAAD for saying he would stab his son if he were gay.

    “Criticized”? Someone needs to explain Freedom of Speech to John Nolte. If someone has the freedom to say something racist, misogynist, or hurtful, I have the right to call them out on it. That’s how free speech works.

  17. Walter Solomon says

    rblackadar @16

    but I think what they love most about it is not the film per se, but rather, being able to say that you couldn’t make it in 2022.

    I don’t disagree with you about that being a motivating factor. Nostalgia, like everything else, is becoming a political football. It’s now become a cliche to say “that couldn’t be made today.”

    People on both sides make that argument too. Recently TYT made a broadcast talking about how “creepy” the 1994 film My Father The Hero is. It was based on a French film where a girl lies about her father being her lover. It also briefly shows a 15-year-old Katherine Heigl in a thong bathing suit. They, of course, claimed such a film “couldn’t be made today” as if 94 was a very long time ago.

  18. Walter Solomon says

    BTW, conservatives seem to have forgotten about Quintin Tarantino. His movies are known for the gratuitous use of the N-word by white characters. He’s also not a conservative and, in fact, conservatives actively tried to cancel him when he spoke out against police abuses against Blacks and Latinos.

    Also the idea that conservatives are “politically incorrect” is a modern invention. I remember the satirist Paul Krassner explaining the only way he could print a profanity without it being deemed obscene is for it to be ideologically right wing. Hence his famous FUCK COMMUNISM bumper sticker.

  19. crimsonsage says

    @4 Not to mention the fact the Lucas has said the inspiration for the rebels was the viet cong and the empire is explicitly the USA.

  20. microraptor says

    Ray Ceeya @19: Your problem is you’re confusing free speech with freeze peach. Easy mistake to make, but freeze peach is a conservative thing where they get to say whatever they want and no one can say anything against it because that hurts their feelings.