Over the summer, I got into a bit of an argument with a certain Libertarian comic named Tim Slagle who doesn’t seem to accept the scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is happening or that it is a potentially grave problem. In a perilous bit of criticism, given that comedy often depends on saying stupid things, I deconstructed his comedy routine in which he threw all sorts of bad arguments and straw men as attacks on Al Gore. It was a routine with the old trope that “science has been wrong before,” with a truly unpleasant bit of scientist-bashing thrown in for good measure.
The blog argument petered out after a few exchanges, but I recently noticed that Tim can’t resist trying to continue to tweak me from time to time, attempts that I’ve basically ignoredâuntil now. The reason that I stopped ignoring him is because Tim did something useful for my purposes: He posted a video clip of part of the comedy routine that I deconstructed.
As your humble servant, how could I pass by an opportunity to show you more or less what I saw (or at least part of it) and then let you judge for yourself whether I was too hard, too easy, or just right on Tim? One thing that interested me is that all the patient schooling about the science of global warming and other topics that you, my faithful readers, and I tried to administer to him apparently sank in not one little bit. Four months later, Tim’s still repeating the same anti-AGW canards about Al Gore, while adding a bit about his Nobel Prize. (In fact, if anything, Tim may well have gotten worse; I don’t remember him comparing Al Gore to Pat Robertson or likening AGW science to religion in the show that I saw in June. Either my memory is faulty, or that’s a new addition to the bit.)
In any case, check out this excerpt from Tim’s comedy routine and tell me whether you think my analysis was on target or not. (The clip is a little less than six and a half minutes long.) Hey, maybe I was wrong.
It could happen.