The Brilliance of Al Franken

Back in the days when Saturday Night Live was funny (the writers of the early shows had the motto, “Go for smart observations, and funny happens.” Now, it’s a combination of 8th grade guy humor and frat house hijinks…although that’s really six of one and a half dozen of the other.) Al Franken was a highly underrated cast member. The “Me Decade” was genius and his Stuart Smalley was brilliant…and his reports during the “Weekend Update” were always hits.

Now, he mostly writes political satire…but it’s laced with those smart observations we saw in his early SNL days.

From his most recent book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, for example: “The right-wing media tells us constantly that the problem with the mainstream media is that it has a liberal bias. I don’t think it does. But there are other, far more important, biases in the mainstream media than liberal or conservative ones. Most of these biases come from something called ‘the profit motive.’ This is why we often see a bias toward the Sensational, involving Scandal, and hopefully Sex or Violence, or please, please, pleeeze, both…

And there’s the Easy and Cheap to Cover bias which is why almost all political coverage is about process and horse race and not about policy…

And there’s the “Get it First” bias…

…Pack mentality. Soft news. The Don’t-Offend-the-Conglomerate-That-Owns-Us bias. And, of course, the ever present bias of Hoping There’s A War To Cover.”

Smart observations and funny just happens. I’m laughing and thinking all at once, which is nice when you’re on the last (non-driving) day of vacation.

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