Bill was talking about comedy, and Matthew J. Brady referred in comments to a Daily Show segment about “the asshole who equated community organizers with crack dealers.

Here the segment is. More to the point, I knew the fellow in question. Years ago I was a copy editor at the newspaper where he worked as a reporter. I tried bragging about this connection when the segment aired, but nobody much cared. Still, I knew him. 

The fellow was … well, how can one put it? I can’t say he meant well. He didn’t; he was the sort of winger who lives to insult liberals. But I can say he didn’t quite know what he was doing. He didn’t process that insulting people inspires dislike, not affection. He seemed to operate according to this syllogism: “If you act as if someone is stupid, that means he is stupid; if one person is stupid, that means the other is intelligent; if a person is intelligent, he is admired; if a person is admired, he is liked; so if you act as if someone is stupid, he will like you.” Yes, the fellow was a treat and we all looked forward to working with him.

And all the while he thought he was scoring a hit. He knew he was being obnoxious, I guess, but he didn’t know what being obnoxious means. Or, at least, he didn’t know the basic facts about the topic that everyone else knows.

Now there he is on The Daily Show, trotting out his party piece about Osama bin-Laden being a community organizer (hey, like Francis Marion! or Captain America!) and having no idea that John Oliver and The Daily Show will not be charmed by his little jeu d’esprit. Oh dear, the timid, confiding half-smile with which he reveals that those poverty activists were mean to him! Oh dear, the sadness of life.