It’s just imagination they lack

Dana Milbank is sometimes capable of being funny, but his column mocking Al Gore's recent testimony before the Senate is among the laziest, least funny columns ever written. The column appears to be based on the belief that Gore testifying about global warming, and Senators taking what he says seriously is so absurd that just printing selections from the transcript and replacing Gore's name with “Goracle,” plus one crack about Gore being fat (Milbank says he was sweating despite the room being cool) is enough to make a worthwhile column. But there's not a single funny thing in the column, nothing Gore says, nor any of the things the Senators say to him, are out of the ordinary comments. I was initially worried that I found this column so bad because I'm being over-sensitive to criticism of a politician I like and agree with, and that perhaps I would find an analogous mocking of a politician I don't like and disagree with funny. But I don't think I need to worry that, because I think I can recognize a good joke based on the premise that Gore is a crazed, egotistical prophet of doom.

Generally, I have little patience for media criticism which takes one bad piece of work and turns it into an indictment of an author's entire career, or a publication's entire reason for being, but between this and the doctored quotes in the “Obama is the presumptuous nominee” column (text, video), I was starting to wonder what possible value there is in reading Milbank's column. But, checking his two most recent columns before this one, there's nothing objectionable about them and they provide some interesting details. So maybe he's all right.