Guess we can see why Cruz wouldn't like Lisa

Ted Cruz isn't just a loathsome little toady who nobody likes. That's a given. No, what's worse is that he thinks he gets pop culture, and then proves just how very badly he doesn't, like that time a few years back when he went on and on about how much he loves "The Simpsons," earning the ire of Comic Book Guys everywhere by misquoting his "favorite" lines from the show. Cruz tried to pull off another really smart Simpsons riff again Thursday at CPAC, where he very predictably screwed the pooch:

I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson, and the Republicans are, happily, the party of Homer and Bart and Maggie and Marge.

Poor Santa's Little Helper!

Wonkette Founder Emerita Ana Marie Cox pointed out Cruz's problem on the Twitters,

Ted Cruz does have a unique ability to completely miss the point of virtually any work of pop culture, of course. This is the guy who read Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor to make clear just how much he objected to Obamacare. While he giggled over how America would not like Obamacare in a boat and would not like Obamacare with a goat, he missed the entire point of Theodore Geisel's little parable: Try something before you say you hate it. (It was a VERY SIMPLE POINT.) Ted Cruz would read Catch-22 and tell you it's the story of this guy in World War II who never understood anything about his patriotic duty.

So of course it makes sense that Ted Cruz thinks Lisa Simpson is someone to make fun of, while the rest of her family are just honest decent reg'lar American folks who love America and vote Republican. And of course he doesn't notice that in elevating Homer and Bart, what he's really saying is that Republicans are stupid, selfish jerks, and proud of it. Ted Cruz honestly thinks there's nothing more to Lisa than the smart kid, the activist, the overachiever, the sanctimonious liberal and feminist who sometimes thinks that because she's smart, she's better than everyone else (but also tries really hard not to). There's a simple reason Ted misses the bigger point, and it's not simply because he's a dumbass, though Jebus knows he's that.

It's really quite simple: Ted Cruz misses the point of "The Simpsons" because he's a sociopath.

Just another day at the Ayn Rand School for Tots

A million years ago, we came across a study suggesting that empathy is vital to understanding sarcasm and irony. Being able to put yourself inside another person's cognitive frame is key to being able to see beyond the surface meaning of a sarcastic statement like, for instance, "Gee, Mr. Cruz, you sure are smart!" You have to identify multiple possible points of view before you can choose the right interpretation. No one is ever going to accuse Ted Cruz, or his ideological peers, of having an excess of empathy. In fact, they regularly mock the very idea of empathy, because it leads to weakness and spending on the poor, who need tough love.

And that's why Ted Cruz doesn't get Lisa Simpson, or the rest of her family, either. Lisa certainly is every bullied smart kid in the world, but "The Simpsons" isn't a show about why Lisa deserves to be bullied and defeated, for heaven's sake. Lisa is a wonderful kid, even though her parents don't always understand her and her brother has to urge her, at the movies, "If you don't watch the violence, you'll never get desensitized to it." When her elitist tendencies go too far, she usually pays for it, just as her family often gets in trouble when they ignore her. Lisa is smarter than her family, but still a vital part of it. She loves them and they love her; the whole point is that this fractious, dysfunctional family is only truly happy when they're all together (and sometimes at each other's throats). Like America, huh?

As for the rest of the family fitting in with the Republican agenda, again, that reading only works if, like Ted Cruz, you're an idiot who thinks Homer's stupidity, Marge's conformity, and Bart's dislike for learning and rules should be taken at face value. Homer may not understand Lisa's love of jazz, but he also sacrificed the money he'd saved up for an air conditioner to buy her that damn saxomaphone. Twice. Bart is a jerkwad, but he loves his sister -- he wouldn't dream of letting anyone else pick on her. And Marge? She might register Republican to get along with the church ladies, but then she'd vote for Hillary Clinton (and feel vaguely naughty for getting away with it). She wouldn't like Ted Cruz's manners, that's for sure. And she wouldn't appreciate his being so mean to her daughter, even though Lisa perplexes her sometimes.

If Ted Cruz and his wing of the Republican Party really belong anywhere in Springfield, it's in the office suite of Mr. Burns.

They're getting their message out, at least

It probably says more about Republicans than "The Simpsons" that a Ted Cruz would somehow think Homer and Bart are the faces of modern Republicanism. For much of the show's first decade or so -- when it was funniest -- its gleeful anti-authority gags generally gave rightwing types the vapors. Remember culture warriors complaining that "Bart Simpson: Underachiever (And Proud of It)" T-shirts were corrupting the youth? Decades later, tearing down institutions and being unrepentant assholes in the name of being politically incorrect are core Republican values.

But seeing "the Simpsons minus that liberal harpy Lisa" as Republican avatars misses the mark, too. It's as bad a misreading as when the real George H.W. Bush (not the cartoon version who later moved to Evergreen Terrace) proclaimed in 1992, "we need a nation closer to the Waltons than the Simpsons." (The show quickly edited the audio into a rerun, with the family watching TV and hearing the line, with Homer Bart replying, "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression, too.")

As we said when he first expressed his unrequited love for "The Simpsons," a lot of pop culture is just hard for rightwingers. Somehow, they keep thinking they own pop-culture texts that explicitly reject them:

So much of it is filled with liberal bias, and yet they still keep glomming on to shows like "The Simpsons," which openly ridicules them, or "Star Trek," in which starship crews chosen by an affirmative action office zip around a post-nationalist, post-scarcity, socialist utopia spreading science and rationalism, never going to church on Sundays, and pretty much ignoring America’s Judeo-Christian heritage (the last line in TOS’s “Bread and Circuses” notwithstanding). Then again, conservatives also think lifelong socialist George Orwell wrote 1984 to warn against Obamacare.

They should probably just leave most popular culture alone -- at least the stuff that isn't directed by Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer. They tend not to do well with it, the poor dears.

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

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[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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