A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog wrote in to him to complain about the Triumph of the Will/Undefeated line that I objected to last week. Sullivan’s response: “It was meant to be a joke.”
Well, I mean, I assumed that. What else could it have been? My point is I don’t really see how it’s a funny joke. I mean the joke is: This movie about a current politician is like another famous movie about a historical politician–who, incidentally, became infamous for committing innumerable hideous crimes against humanity.
This isn’t really that good, if I understand it right. There’s nothing particularly humorous about it as far as I can tell. If not for the fact that Nazis are involved, it would be an obvious statement: political propaganda films are like other political propaganda films. The only reason to bring it up that I can see is to compare Palin to the Nazis.
I have a confession to make: For some reason, I used to have trouble remembering the title of Barack Obama’s first book, which is Dreams from My Father. Jokingly, when I couldn’t recall it, I would call it “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Barack”, alluding to this. This isn’t terribly funny, but I submit that it is funnier than Sullivan’s joke, because it’s sort of bizarre comparing a fantasy/horror novella with a memoir, but it also has a funny near-coherence–the word “dreams” and the fact that Obama’s book is a sort of “quest” to find out about Barack Obama Sr.
So, not the stuff of great comedy, I freely admit. (But remember: I like Obama, so I wasn’t trying really hard to make something funny out of his book.)
At any rate, maybe I’m just too stupid to understand Sullivan’s joke here. I really can’t see it to save my life. Can someone enlighten me?