By most measures, The New Yorker is the best magazine in the country. It is a repository of fabulous reporting, fiction and criticism. Even its literary satire is pretty great—that is, when it hires someone aside from a wealthy, cornball-ass Hollywood liberal to write it.
But that's not what it does most of the time. Instead, it hires Andy Borowitz.
There is no writer in the world that has given me as much personal displeasure as the Witzer. The very mention of his name sets my stomach churning, causes me physical pain, drives me to madness. We're talking about a fabulously rich man—he created The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, somehow—who has decided to steal money out of the mouths of hard-working career satirists by publishing the most milquetoast, quarter-assed, fake-Onion articles imaginable, day after day, week after week.
Everything he publishes is the most obvious kind of observation—butter-knife dull, liberal-establishment hokum for people who are either unimaginably shallow or have literally never encountered a joke before.
Peruse our man's recent headlines and feel the bile rise up in your heart. "MSNBC to Air Obama's 2004 Convention Speech During Trump's Address to Nation." Remember that, before the eight disappointing years of his presidency got swamped by paranoia? That was better than the current guy! Am I right?!
If pointlessly pining for the symbols of the previous manifestation of our failing empire doesn't do it for you, try "Trump Offers to Station Pence at Border with Binoculars in Lieu of Wall," accompanied by that stupid picture of Mike Pence standing on top of that wall and staring at North Korea. That's a thing that's going on right now, lined up with a thing that happened before! It's not a joke about Trump, whose idiotic recalcitrance regarding the construction of an ineffective and racist wall is the cause of our current political crisis, whose total lack of willingness for compromise is fueled by a need to pick a political fight for seemingly no reason aside from his pride. It is also not a joke about Pence, except I guess that he doesn't do much. It is a joke about absolutely nothing—drivel taking up bandwidth that would be better served highlighting a talented young writer working in a milieu that involves, I don't know, maybe reading a book or something.
If there's a lowest common denominator liberal trope about the hellworld we find ourselves navigating, Andy will go for it. "Pelosi Says She Will Skip Trump and Negotiate Directly with Putin." Uh-oh! Have you guys heard that Putin is controlling Trump? It's definitely the main cause of all our problems, and not the total failure of the Democratic Party to push progressive solutions to the suffering normal people feel! "Trump Named Man of the Year by ISIS." Because he is doing a bad job, you see. "Cabinet Warns Trump That Shutting Down Government Would Make It Harder to Steal From." Not an obvious joke to make about our crooked fucking president at all. "Trump Suddenly Expresses Deep Concern About Conditions in Nation's Prisons." Daddy Mueller is gonna send Trump to jail! You know, that thing that has never happened! There's a joke about how he likes Diet Coke in this, because it is a superficial thing about Trump and the Witzer knows you also know that. "Trump Names TV Remote New Chief of Staff," because he watches TV, you see. "John Kelly Departs White House with Nuclear Codes in His Pants." Because a guy who was willing to serve as Trump's right-hand man is good, actually.
I would accuse him of hunting for clicks like other desperate hacks, but, like, he's a millionaire! He's wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of 99 percent of creatives the world over! Yet he doesn't even have the decency to step aside and let someone who actually needs the money write this pandering garbage.
If you're really looking to use satire to bring people to the cause, it needs to give it to its targets. Tear people's eyelids and let them see the truth, not lazily comfort their previously held opinions. But the deeper I go, and the more of this liberal-aunt Facebook shit I encounter, the more I understand the vile way conservatives feel about their opponents. The modern liberal isn't a lion, a killer thirsting for the blood of his enemies, pouring it wholesale into a jet engine to send America into the grand new tomorrow.
No, liberals are just as poisoned as the Fox News grandpas of the world. But instead of a poison that makes you vomit blood and cast your children aside, it's more like a lethal form of chamomile, full of boring platitudes and personality-driven sentiment that will put anyone with any common sense into a fatal sleep the second they hit the stomach. No one has distilled these terpenes into a more vile concoction than Andy. Every time I come across his work, I am left with the sense that prolonged exposure would cause my body to produce antigens to this poison that would turn me into a red-hat boy.
Also, I saw him live at Bumbershoot once. He sucked in person as well.
The Witzer must be stopped—for the good of the country, the world and the written word.
SEE IT?: Andy Borowitz's Make America Not Embarrassing Again Tour is at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, on Friday, Jan. 18. 7:30 pm. $30-$125.