Tina Dupuy – Skepticism Meets Comedy

July 09, 2012

Our guest this week is Tina Dupuy—the reporter, comedian, skeptic, and editor-in-chief of the startup publication SoapBlox.

Dupuy appears frequently on MSNBC, Current TV, RT and the BBC and on numerous radio shows. She has written for Mother Jones, the Atlantic, Skeptic, and many other publications.

Her weekly oped is syndicated nationally by Cagle Cartoons.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

This is point of inquiry for Monday, July 9th, 2012. 

Welcome to Point of inquiry. I’m Chris Mooney point of inquiry is the radio show and the podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing reason, science and secular values in public affairs and at the grassroots. For those of you who already saw it, I want to thank you for watching the first ever video point of inquiry from last week. 

It featured the church state blogger Ed Brayton, the atheist comedian Jamie Kilstein coverage of the Alexander on Story, the story of the persecution of a man in Indonesia just because he questioned the existence of God and much else for those of you who missed it. You can still find the video at YouTube dot com slash center for inquiry. Again, that’s YouTube dot com slash center for inquiry. So please check it out. We hope this is the start of many good things for the video future of this show. Now, today’s show does not have a video component, but I think you’ll dig it nonetheless. Our guest is Tina Dupuy. She’s a reporter, a comedian, a skeptic. She’s editor in chief of the startup publication SoPE Blocks. And you might have seen her on MSNBC on current TV. You might have heard her on a variety of radio shows. And she also writes for Mother Jones, The Atlantic Skeptic magazine and other publications. And she has a weekly op ed syndicated nationally by Kagle cartoons. 

Tina Dupuy, welcome to Point of Inquiry. 

Hey, Chris, thanks for having me. 

It’s great to have you on. There have been, I guess, some changes in your life lately. You moved from L.A. to New York and you took on a new job. You’re editing a website called Soap Blocks Dot Net. So tell us about these new digs to start out. 

Well, it’s terribly called sunblocks dot net. We’re in the process of changing the name and we’re going to we’re in alpha mode right now, kind of a pre pre launch. And we’re we’re hoping to launch it for the convention. 

And it’s a it’s a politics site. 

Yes. It’s it’s a site about politics. Basically, we have over 100 blogs and we subscribe to their RSS feeds and we make a publication out of that. So it’s a nationwide community blog based on a lot of local news and, you know, stuff that people, you know, I never get to read about because we’re too caught up in what goes on inside the Beltway. A lot of the issues with, say, Alec, was that no one was paying attention to the state capitals. Instead, you know, we all kind of looking at whatever was shiny in Washington and the story got dropped. So there are a lot of bloggers out there who, you know, are basically reporters of state and local politics. And so we’re aggregating them and, you know, promoting them. And we have this new technology called paying bloggers. 

That’s awesome. 

Completely new. It’s going to it’s going to rock the world. I know. And does where we’re sharing revenue with Bother’s, which makes us totally different than, you know, other sites. 

I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it on this show, but I’ll say it anyway. Bless you. I really appreciate it. You know, it’s great to have you on because you and I are kind of kindred spirits. I think we both them we both cover politics and we do. We come from, broadly speaking, the left. But we’re also we’re not just politics people. We talk about science, religion, rationality. How did you end up getting to be that particular blend of, you know, topic focus? 

I you know, I don’t see much of a distinction. I think that it all needs to be I think that science needs to be a part of policy. I think that rational thinking needs to be a part of politics. But also, you know, for me, politics is the one thing that I’m not able to write about, things that make me happy. So like food, relationships, traveling, anything that brings me joy, I can’t actually put pen to paper. But politics doesn’t have that effect on me. 

So I find that to be the most interesting thing to write about it, mainly because our political discourse and how we kind of function as a nation and I’m not saying it just recently, but, you know, historically this has been true in the United States that we kind of throw out reason and reason and a kind of rational discourse for the immediate lizard part of our brain. So to me, the two are not separate at all. They’re prevalent in in in every decision that we make. 

And one thing on your bio, as I said, we’re going to ask you about this. Your parents were for some time in a religious group. Some would say a quote called, you use that term. And you actually I was reading about you did a play about it called The Cult and the Cyclopes. So how is that affected where you are now? 

Yeah, when I call it a cult, people actually correct me. They’re like, no, no, no. It was an alternative religious group. Right. And I was like, no, no. You Google the word cult. 

It comes up like a third. It’s a cult. It’s OK to say that it’s not a curse word. 

Yeah. No, my my parents were met in there to honor God. And, you know, that has influenced my life in that. I know from personal experience that people do really crazy things for religion. I was I was lucky enough. I was actually saved by the foster care system. If you can believe that. And my my foster parent was my intellectual mentor who kind of encouraged me to go to school and do things that smart people would do, which is completely opposite of what my parents were like. So here’s the pitch for not only being wary of religious cult, but also for smart people to go into Foster to become foster parents. 

And they believed this group, if I understand correctly, you can correct me. They believe the end of end times, the end of the world is nigh. Is that was that kind of thing? 

Yeah. No, I have a while now, I have a bit of a time fetish because, like, I really just failed prophecy is is fascinating to me. Yeah. No, they according to the leader, his he went by the name Moses David. His thing is running with David Bird. That Moses David said that the world was going to end somewhere around, I believe, 1975. And he had this whole thing about, you know, it was involved with Gadhafi and this very elaborate prediction that was going to come to fruition. 1975, it didn’t happen. And so his follow up after we are all still here was that it can’t be long now. So that was his like kind of catch all, you know, doomsday prophecy. And, you know, and I and I wrote about Harold Camping for the Atlantic, had the May 21st guy. I interviewed him. You know, I think in April, about a month before the world was going to a kind of end, according to him. And he kind of had the same kind of caveat which like, well, if the world can end. But if it doesn’t end, that means that, you know, that I’ve sinned and I’m really bad. But then it’s probably gonna end really soon anyway. 

Why didn’t he say that the rapture happened? But it was purely spiritual, not physical. 

Right. There was other thing. Yeah. He had kind of had like this weird kind of disclaimer after astrocyte after going on. I mean, I read his book 1984 Questionmark, 1994 excuse me, questionmark. And you kind of get his his take is kind of a barrage you with mathematics and explanations for things that you don’t actually need explaining. Like he’ll just it’s a very fascinating speaker. If you listen to his radio show, it’s it’s a he does things like that you want to like listen to because he’ll still offer things like, oh, he’ll go. Well, you know, this whole idea that the world is only 6000 years old, it’s ridiculous. And you kind of lean in. You’re like, what is this guy? And I’d say it’s like it’s thirteen thousand years old. 

1988. And here’s my math. 

You know, if I pick some random number and multiply it by, you know, twelve, because that was the number of a possible, you know, like some kind of crazy thing. And then, you know, the number of pages in the Bible, it’s just very, you know, kind of arbitrary. And then he comes up with a definite number and this definite declaration and then goes and spends. I think the total number and I could be wrong about this is like some you know, the advertising campaign got up to 200000 dollars and people lost their savings and kind of gave up everything so that, you know, because the world was going to end. And my piece. Was explaining that because he said that the world was going to end at six p.m. at the Pacific Dateline or on National Dateline. You know, having an entity is actually, I think you international dateline, that actually meant that it was going to be that was going to end at 11:00 p.m. on Friday, the 20th in California where he was living. So even if he was right, he would be his billboards. But I’ll be incorrect. 

The numbers can be tricky things, you know. I don’t know how many people know I’ve written about this, that the whole theory of cognitive dissonance, which, of course, is now very accepted in psychology, was originally come up with in order to explain how doomsday cults go on believing after the date is passed. 

There was a guy in Los Angeles called Crazy Gideon, and he was always happy. He had a sign up that said, going out of business, you thought, and then you look a poster and said, Going out for business. And he always had this like his stick with that, like he was veto’s, I’ll close out prices and now, now, now. And you have to. You have to buy now or you’re going to miss out on something. And. And so it’s a perfect sales technique because it makes you think that you’re going to miss something. And so you kind of like and you wrote about being more valuable when you are frightened or you, I think, used the word Republican when you were frightened. 

But, you know, so people are more likely to do things when they feel that, you know, this is this is it, that they will have no other opportunity to do anything else other than listen to someone who is going to end quickly. 

Wow. Well, you know, so there’s that kind of wacky stuff. And then there’s everything in politics. And, you know, you you cover it sort of from from a commentator, but also sometimes a humorous perspective. And one of your biggest one of your biggest scores, I guess. I don’t know. You had some fun with Sarah Palin and you and you compiled an enemies list for her. Tell us about that. 

Oh, well, she kind of she turned in to after the election are really percipient during the election. And since she got on the national stage, she just got into this kind of flame wars with random celebrities. And the thing with Sarah Palin for me in the book Game Change, and this didn’t make it into the movie, but she was on in the book, it says that she was on the plane going to the Katie Couric interview and she was reading People magazine. And to me, that says more about Sarah Palin than anything that like she kind of came on the national stage and just became this professional duelist where she got in fights with David Letterman and she just would get into fights with people. And so she because journalism is the way it is, it’s really easy to cover flame wars because you have this person insulting this person and it’s really easy to write about. You don’t need any context just to people who don’t like each other. And it fills a new newshole really nicely. And it’s, you know, it’s quick and dirty. So Sarah Palin is getting a lot of ink just for doing this, just for being shameless and just for being like a Paris Hilton politics. And I thought it would be hilarious just to actually quantify how many people who she had politically gone after and who had said something to her. As a result, and I think currently it’s upward. I think it’s 85 when I just stopped making the list because she no longer was interesting to me. But, yeah, that was it was pretty. I mean, no, but it was a definite pattern. And at one, I think when I compile that, it was two months since she had been on the national stage, so. 

OK. So there’s so there’s 85 Sarah Palin enemies out there. And they all they all fight back. Are they liberal? Are they conservative? What are they. 

No, they’re there’s all sorts of there’s all sorts of conservatives on there, all sorts of traditional. 

I mean, anybody who is is, you know, part of the lame stream media. But she also she went after people by name specifically, you know, but there were also like I think that she now, you know, I didn’t put Meghan McCain on there because Meghan McCain talked all kinds of smack about Sarah Palin. And, you know, Sarah Palin never said anything back. So she didn’t qualify for the West, but had a lot of people who volunteered to be on the list. And, you know, I just yeah, it got kind of it went kind of viral and then it became kind of silly. But, you know, the thing is, she stopped doing that. 

You know, now she just kind of goes after shit that she no longer does, that kind of thing. Not that my list had anything responsible for it. I think. Maybe it’s just the media more likely got kind of tired of her and kind of stopped paying attention, which was. 

More likely explanation. But yes, it was. There was a way of kind of having. Having proof, quantifying, like, really what she’s about more than anything is is basically reading that People magazine. 

Well, I, I, I haven’t quantified it, but I certainly have listed a number of her errors. I don’t know if it would be an enemy, but she’s certainly did a number on like Paul Revere when she claimed that he warned the British. 

Right. Right. 

Well, I mean, the thing the problem with that right wingers is that they think that the founding fathers agreed with them, which is just not true. They kind of co-opt the founding fathers and trying to make them into whatever they want them to be in their image, which, you know, I mean, they were they were pissed off. A lot of them were Unitarians, which is not exactly. They didn’t find a Christian nation. They have that problem a lot. But you’ll hear things like, you know, basically they think that the Constitution is a bullet point of the Constitution. Are the Ten Commandments. And I have not found one commandment in the Constitution at all. And I’m just kind of waiting. 

So some of the other humor is about, you know, other kinds of irrationalities. 

I’ve read a fun piece you did about birthers at the Thanksgiving dinner table and about how vaccine deniers use the analogy of how people used to think that you got polio by eating ice cream soda bread. Tell us about those a little. 

Well, you know, and that was the big thing. And there was actually a paper published, I believe, in 1940. I’m going to say off the top of my head that that made that made the connection between having eating sugar and polio because they would always polio. That polio season was all they thought was in the summer. And so what happens in the summer? People eat ice cream. And so there were people who thought that you wouldn’t get polio if you didn’t eat sugar and if you didn’t eat ice cream and they didn’t really know why. You know what the connection was. But it seemed to be there because, you know, it made enough sense. And so there was. Several decades where this was kind of common thought until they actually found out that the reason why the polio epidemic happened in this country was because we weren’t getting immunized. In an infancy due to flush toilets. So it had nothing to do with sugar. It had nothing to do with ice cream. It was just from flush toilets. And let’s never get the two confused again. Well, I said in my piece that, you know, imagine if a movie star or a celebrity had a son with polio in 1935. And regardless of any evidence, regardless of any kind of new findings that came up, we know she decided that she was right and that the ice cream companies were this big, horrible, conspiratorial, evil company that were trying to kill our children like Ben and Jerry’s. 


And if that happened, I mean, we would still we would still right now be looking at Ben and Jerry’s with suspicion. You know, we would still like, well, you know, your grandparents who go, I don’t know, at that ice cream stop because, you know, celebrity that we all respected who they you know, they told us to watch out for ice cream, you know. But that’s what happened with fascination. And because of that, the vaccination scare. And because Jenny McCarthy, for some reason is still on television and still I think she’s like she has a new show out now because she still holds to this, even though it has been completely debunked. The the person who was called a doctor who did the studies connecting vaccinations and an autism has now he’s got his license revoked. He’s no longer even a doctor. No. There’s, like, been. At last I counted, it was like five studies that had to fund the study a decade ago. Lots and lots. It’s it’s tons, you know. And and yet still we have, like, whopping cough epidemics in the most the richest part of California. Just as an example, Marin County has had a whopping cough epidemic where children, infants are dying from walking cough, which is an antique disease that no one should be dying from, especially in an affluent part of the world where the average the median house in Marin County is a million dollars. That’s the median house. And they’re their infants are dying from a whopping cough, something that, you know, it should easily be immunized against, which had been we had been immunized against for the last half a century. And it’s all because of, you know, someone thinking that they were right. Be on all other information. 

Yeah. You know, the polio story, just to hear you tell it makes me think about a sort of case study in bad correlation causation thinking, you know, is what it sounds like. And, you know, people not understanding it has been correlation and causation. And that that makes me think that, you know, the same thing is going on. When people think that a vaccine is given their kids autism, they just you know, basically the childhood vaccines are given out at about the same time that the early symptoms of autism develop. And then they’re just inferring causation when they shouldn’t. Kind of the same thing. 

Exactly. But, you know, then we have we have a not a media that’s not skeptical of media that is profit driven, a media that is ratings driven. So anything that causes controversy is something that is pursued. 

And so anything that’s like the the scare of the week not only ends up on daytime television, but it also ends up in our local news, where currently 75 percent of Americans still get their news from their local broadcasts. 

And I don’t know if you’ve watched your local broadcast recently night and actually the velvet they have like you. 

There was a great study that that I was reading about the break down. It’s now 22 minutes, right? 22 minutes of their broadcast and then two and a half minutes of it is normally average devoted to. Right. So, you know what’s going to kill you. Coming up next, stay tuned. That’s two and a half minutes of their 22 minutes. And then you have another three minutes devoted to Justin Bieber’s new haircut. And whatever Kim Cardassian is doing and and what’s coming up on Dancing with the Stars? And then there’s your and then whoever, you know, died in the community that day, whatever violence happened in the near proximity. And international news gets cut short. And it’s also the scare of the day. What’s going to kill you now? And there’s no foreigners like, you know, any kind of study gives credence, no matter how bogus it is or who funded it and has no kind of follow up questions. And they also don’t do they never, ever do corrections when they get things wrong at the national, urban and local broadcasts. They just go on to the next thing. So, you know, they don’t amend things. Wednesday, they’ve put it out there that, you know, these dead people in Britain remember all the brain cancer that we were supposed to get because we’re all using cell phones. Yeah, that was like, what, a decade ago? That was such a big scare. And there are all sorts of studies that came out that that linked brain cancer to cell phone use. Well, we are completely saturated with with phones. We should all have brain cancer by now, or at least a vast majority of us, according to the scare that happened in the US that we are concerned about in the early part of the 2000s. So that kind of stuff. And then they never follow up. 

And so you have people who are legitimately afraid of something that they heard from what they feel is a reputable source. 

But, you know, no way to to have more information. 

I’m sorry. It’s it sounded so much like you’re talking about the national media for a second. I know you’re talking about local media, but I mean, it’s not that dissimilar when you think about it in terms of your own that I hate. 

My my my kind of pet peeve is when people use the phrase media as a monolith, but let’s just say for profit television, for profit television media, which, you know, there is not much of a distinction between the local media and, say, CNN. Maybe they have more time. 

Another really cool piece that you did that I wanted to just unpack, it was recently in Skeptic magazine, and this is about the topic of blood libel. And you sort of do this whole great historical number on all of the cases. But you’re you’re starting off point was. 

Was how this came up in the abortion debate. I guess there is some weird legislation introduced by some Christian conservative who thought that people were eating the flesh of aborted fetuses and so he wanted to ban that. Help us with that one. 

Yes. Well, anytime someone who, you know, isn’t on camera eating human flesh, it’s accused of cannibalism. We all just take a step back. If they if there’s not like a picture of a human head in their refrigerator. Let’s all just take a breath. Yeah, there. So there was an Oklahoma legislator, state legislator who will, after doing some research, quote unquote, off the Internet, decided that he should introduce a bill to ban the use of aborted fetuses in food. 

Now, what you would you can like take from that is that there is aborted fetuses in food. And this is a real problem that we need to spend. Our tax money is not a tax money, not only debating, but we need to like, you know, make we need to ban it. Right. Make sure that we are not eating fetuses. And it’s a way to vilify abortion doctors. I mean, these are people who are not only terrorized. They can they could be shot in the head. While going to church, and we’re all pretty cool. 

And, you know, I mean, after September 11th, there were people who worked at Planned Parenthood were like, oh, you guys want to know how to live with terrorism? Let’s tell you how to live with terrorism. So, indeed, these are people who are already vilified in and especially in what I would describe as square states. 

But so anyway, but this hearkens back to what would be described as a blood libel, which has not it’s it’s it has been, of course, used to to murder and trying to eradicate the Jewish people. I go back, I start the article in the during the reign of Caligula in Alexandria. They’re the first documented case of blood libel within 60 A.D.. I hope that’s right, because I wrote the piece. And, you know, they and they kind of had it. Not only were they kidnaping Rome, they were fattening up Romans and kidnaping them and eating their entrails, you know, but they weren’t patriotic enough. They had diseases. They words they were they said that they were expelled from from Egypt because they were lovers. Like, basically the same things that you would hear about Mexican immigrants. Now, what you heard about Irish immigrants 100 years ago, I mean, did you know any kind of like new people kind of have this kind of this disdain and it comes in the form of like they do creepy stuff. And one is to eat human flesh. Of course, Catholics have to have had the same kind of stigma as in the Victorian era. If we remember it, the KKK wasn’t just passing blacks in the South. They were also going after Catholics. And, you know, not only today, symbolically drink the blood of their savior in ritual, but there there was a book like a fake memoir by a woman named Maria Monk who called Awful Disclosure’s. And it was an incredibly awful book. But it she was she said that she was a nun and went and found, you know, all these baby corpses. Not only were the Catholics not interested in reading the Bible, according to her accusations. They were all having sex with each other, and they they she found where all the corpses of the babies who were born illegitimate, baptized and then killed because they would no longer sin, I guess, with her rationale. They were also, you know, drinking blood and, you know, they were also cannibals. 

So and that was a way to vilify an underclass to make any kind of heinous act towards them legitimate and necessary. 

Good God. So we human beings, we people we don’t like, we say they babies. 

And then when the world we say the world’s going to end, then that doesn’t actually end. We rationalize why we’re doing it. 

And we do this throughout history pretty much, and we just repeat it over and over again. 

I mean, you you write about this, you know, when we are in fear, we do all sorts of nutty things and we believe all sorts of nutty things because we are that that part of our brain that that wants to, like, grasp on, to go on and onto normal normalcy just kind of gets abandoned. 

Yeah, no, I mean, I can’t help help but think of I mean, the blood libel piece was was disturbing, but you just do such a great job summarizing history. 

And I couldn’t help but think of I mean, think about this in the context of us being biological beings who evolved. And basically one of the things that is the stamp of our origins upon us is that is a strong tribal in group out group behavior. And if you define, you know, the outgroup in, you know, vivid enough terms is bad, bad, bad, bad, evil, then it isn’t hard to believe that they actually eat human flesh, I guess. I mean, that’s what I kind of was figuring was going on there and all your examples all through history. 

Yeah, I know it’s definitely tribalism, it’s definitely trying to find out, you know, defines who we are by defining what they are. And of course, they are horrible. And, you know, there it also and it’s a way you know, it’s a way of like, I guess making things like that when you don’t like somebody in a group, you don’t like someone and someone says something awful about them. You just you like that awful thing that said about them. 

I’m working on a mother book that I’m working on right now. They have so much free time. Is is about how we love hyperbole. I mean, we love people who are bullshitters. We absolutely celebrate them. Those are the people who we listen to. You know, if you like. I was so excited when Newt Gingrich said that he was going to be running for president because he has you know, he’s a hyperboles of the first degree. I mean, the stuff he says will make your eyelashes curl. 

You know, he comes up with like, you know, I mean, just the fact that he’s he called Spanish the language of the ghetto and then, like, immediately went to Florida to try. It’s like typical curry favor with the voters. It was the guy’s LARREA. He just kind of comes up with this stuff. And and it’s fascinating. But we kind of we celebrate this as as humans. We just like people who tell stories and who, like, basically make things up and, you know, it usually in that or oftentimes and that’s what my book is about. It ends up in being a disaster for, you know, groups of minorities, whether it’s the the you know, the Jews in Roman Alexandria or kids who are wearing black clothes in the 80s in small town America who were, you know, arrested for Satanism or suspected of Satanism because they were listening to Def Leppard. 

You know, I mean, there is like, you know, that was a media fueled, you know, that started an evangelical movement, that there was like this, you know, just millions of faintness that were in this network that weren’t going to going to take your children. And, you know, of course, they were they were also cannibals, Satanists, and they were going to, you know, rape children and do all the stuff that later, you know, as we were all looking for Satanist who was actually Catholic priests who were doing the raping of children and that they symbolically drinking blood. So that the issue is not only that it’s twofold. It’s not only that we have people who are are wrongly accused. Witches are also another part of us, the people who are that the people who are celebrated in middle medieval Europe or the people hunting the witches, they were going to keep the faith. And so we just kind of agreed with them, you know, if that was what we needed to do in order to keep us safe, like Yalon, burn that check. Not a problem. So not only are, you know, the kind of underlings, a society susceptible to this kind of hysteria and hyperbole, but it’s also that we are looking at something shining instead is something that we need to be focusing on. 

You know, a good example would be, you know, now that the hundred and twelve Congress has is hell bent on outline abortion, they’ve yet to do anything that is going to help the country recover from this horrific economic blow we’ve all endured. 

Well, you know, I just I’m sitting here thinking this stuff you’re talking about is, you know, deeply disturbing or just Dollman some is whatever. But actually, the way you talk about it, I mean, you are a comedian. It is entertaining. 

Do you find that being funny about this nonsense or worse actually helps open minds? Or what? 

You know, I don’t know the answer to that. I know that the only you know, I don’t want to write about something that’s not interesting and fascinating to me. So I don’t know. I think that it’s easier. 

It should be, you know, I mean, I think that good storytelling is good storytelling. And I was able to you know, I was a political comedian and then I was able to get a real job. Now I was able to, you know, use to translate those skills into journalism pretty easily. 

So I don’t know the answer to that question, but I would hope so. I would hope that people would read my work and be comforted by the fact that this is, you know, ridiculous. 

Why is political journalism or political commentary especially? I think more on the liberal side coming to overlap so much with comedy. I mean, I could come up with a theory, and it’s that liberals don’t know how to do talking points, but comedians do. So, you know, this fits better communication. 

I like your theory. That’s just the theory. I like it, Harry. 

Well, yeah, I think that conservative can be a way that was interesting. I was thinking about that when I was reading your book. Can I plug your book on your own show now? 

Oh, please. Yes. Yes, I want credit and. Awesome. Yeah. 

Get to see me play my book, dude. I my theory is that conservative humor is actually really awful. 

It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with like minority groups getting hit in the balls or falling down. 

It’s like strictly conservatives love that kind of stuff. Like anything that’s like a bully. If you if you watch and please if you’re if you’re listening to this right now, everyone watch Fox News’s Half Hour Comedy Hour. I think it’s still on YouTube. But basically, it’s an entire. It was like an attempted a comedy show, a variety comedy show. And during the Bush administration, I’m going to say 2005, but I could be wrong. And they it was basically, you know, just with them, without a laugh track, with them just being mean to other people. 

And apparently they thought that was hilarious. 

No, no. Rush Limbaugh can be funny sometimes. 

You know, I think at is if you listen to Rush Limbaugh, I like as a comedian, he’s actually not. 

He’s he’s a very talented man. He’s gonna do, you know, every time he talk, you know, I mean, it’s a very talented man when it comes to talking. But, you know, I read his book. I think he hasn’t. He no longer reads, you know, he no longer writes books, but his books. I remember thinking. See, I told you so. Was pretty hilarious. I mean, there are things in there that you’re just kind of like, OK. I think it’s like you said that. 

There are just as many Native Americans now as when Columbus landed here and there were so many error, factual errors in there and things that you couldn’t actually like what he you to go door to the census records. There was no way to actually refute because it was just so completely ridiculous that I guess you have a tumor on a certain level. 

But I like your theory that the comedians are able to, like, actually make a point, whereas liberal kind of meander around it and are too busy wringing their own hands. 

I seriously think that. But I do think left and right have different humor muscles, though. I mean, I think one way of saying what you’re saying is, you know, irony and satire left, you know, slapstick physical comedy. 

Right. And that’s just another way of proving that ideology is not just about ideas, but soyabean also, you know, humor. 

You know, in standup, if you’re not factually correct, you’re not funny. So, like, you can talk about all day. I mean, this is just an example. 

This is not like part of my act. But like, you could talk all day about how men are different than women and do it with people. 

They’re not going to laugh at it. It has to be true. And so in political comedy, it has to be true. It can’t be like, you know, I’m talking about how Ann ran was right. 

You know, it’s just not it’s it has to be something that there’s so like a suspended belief when it comes to, like, you know, an ideology that that it comes that they kind of have to continue to hear the same talking points in order to feel okay about their beliefs. Right winger. And if you if you say anything outside of that, then they just kind of like ignore it. 

Part of denial. But when you have. But comedy, in order for it, should be. Laughed at his laughter is actually someone agreeing with you? Is, you know, you have to actually be factual, which causes problems. 

Well, you wrote a piece about this and you said, I think satire is serious and it needs to be taken. There are the people who do it at least take it very seriously. And I guess that’s a way of satire in that sense. Would be it would be left wing in a way. 

Well, right, exactly. And I usually satire is also throwing stones at power as opposed to keeping people under you. So there is a power. There’s like I kind of like a class to satire. That’s like it’s not actually satire. If you’re saying how much how, you know, the newest group of immigrants smells bad, that’s not satire. 

That’s just being cruel. And, you know, and that’s different. 

But like satire implies that you are not the powerful that you are going after, the powerful, that the court jester to, you know, being around four thousand years, the whole idea. And that’s actually. And when Jon Stewart talks about being in it in a box. That’s what he’s talking about. Like the court jester was the guy who could tell the truth to the king without, you know, losing his head. And so he’s in death. That’s a very that’s not, you know, a political commentator that that’s not, you know, someone who is is a is a quirky and funny actor as someone that’s a very serious role. And so it was last Christmas when Jon Stewart had on his show, you know, first responders who were dying of cancer because they were first responders and they were down in lower Manhattan for the first six months and taking out the, you know, the remains of this terrorist attack that happened to our country and how Congress was holding up a bill to have them taking care of their health, give them benefits for their health care. And the media. And I know I’m being hypocritical by using it as a monolith that kind of went, oh, this fire here. Which meant to me that they don’t actually know what satire is. They don’t understand satire. And just because it’s funny does not mean it’s not serious. And just because you laugh at it doesn’t mean that, you know, the the the subject behind it is is deadly. And to me, just as a human being on this planet, I mean, if there were no gallows, we wouldn’t have gallows. We wouldn’t need gallows humor, you know. The fact of the matter is that, you know, we’re we’re all stuck on this earth. We’re all going to die. And in you know that in the meantime, we better have some kind of like psychology, psychological cushion to make it all easier. Which is essentially laughter. 

So then we might infer maybe this will be the last questions as we Fedya, for a good while. And this has been a lot of fun. I mean, America would be less funny if it were a little more functional. 

It could be. You know, if we keep on, we keep on going. Well, you know, there’s going to. 

This is going to work out great. And then we’ll there’ll be nothing more to laugh at. And, you know. And that’s just not going to happen. I mean, this is my favorite thing I’ve been thinking about this week is, you know, this kind of worship of free market in when people are completely irrational. You know, markets are completely irrational, people do irrational things, they think that, you know, certain restaurants are fantastic and stand out like a stand out in line for it, even though it’s horrible by any measurement. And we’re just we’re very irrational when it comes to what we purchase and what we do. And so any any kind of like deference to what the free market does is it is going to be stupid. 

Well well, on that note, Tina DePuy, it’s been a lot of fun to have you on point of inquiry. 

Best of luck with the book. And we’ll have you back. 

I’m so excited to do this show. Thank you so much, Chris. I really appreciate it. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Point of Inquiry. If you’d like to leave a comment on this show, you can send e-mail to feedback at point of inquiry dot org. You can also leave comments on our Web site, point of inquiry, dot org. You can find us on Twitter at point of inquiry. You can find us on Facebook at slash point of inquiry. The views expressed on point of inquiry are not necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry or of its affiliated organizations. 

One of inquiry is produced by Atomize in AMRs, New York. And our music is composed by Emmy Award winning Michael Waylan. This show also featured an introduction by Debbie Goddard. I’m your host Chris Mooney. 

Chris Mooney