Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Colbert Study: Conservatives Don't Know He's Joking


Damn, this amazes me for some reason. I would have thought by now that even conservatives knew that Colbert was making fun of them.

Colbert Study: Conservatives Don't Know He's Joking

04/27/09 08:49 PM

Last week, Stephen Colbert revisited a segment he had done on Florida Representative Bill Posey, who sponsored a bill that "would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificate," in order to put insane rumors of President Barack Obama's birthplace to bed.

Colbert thought a similar measure should be taken to end the whisperings that Posey was a human-alligator hybrid. Posey, in response to Colbert, said, "I expected there would be some civil debate about it, but it wasn't civil...There is no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator." And one wondered, "Does Posey not realize that Colbert is not speaking in earnest? His reaction seems uniquely stupid!"

Stupid, yes. But apparently it's not unique at all, according to a study from The Ohio State University, which proves, with math and stuff, that lots of conservatives seem to not understand the intrinsic, underlying joke of The Colbert Report:

This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert's political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.

I think a lot of conservatives are going to pissed when they realize that Stephen Colbert's performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner was not, in fact, an awkward and ineffective attempt to praise President George W. Bush, but actually a bitter and satiric criticism of his incompetence!

PREVIOUSLY, on the HUFFINGTON POST:
Florida Congressman Continues To Stonewall On His Half-Alligator Genetic Heritage (VIDEO)
Anti-Gay Group Sends Letter To Colbert Thanking Him For Mocking Them

7 comments:

Perpetual Spiral said...

I feared this might be true, now there's proof. Some people just take everything literally - there's no understanding of satire, irony or sarcasm. Strange, really. Do they all share a gene? ;p

Yosh said...

Its nonsense really. I identify more with conservatives, yet I know that Colbert is tongue-in-cheek conservative. Keep lumping us all together and hope it makes you feel impotent

Perpetual Spiral said...

I assume you meant important, not impotent. What a Freudian slip! You are right, making generalizations about all conservatives isn't fair. However, the study itself was the one to do that. I just commented on a part the group they happened to test - the ones who don't know Colbert is joking.

Farsam said...

This is great! Thank you for this post! Before the Colbert Report and Stewart on the Daily Show I observed back in the 90's with the original host of the of the Daily Show (Kilborn, who was far more dry and deadpan in his delivery of satire, therefore that much more dumbfounding to the underdeveloped viewer) a nearly direct correlation between conservative 'disposition' (ie, internal dynamics of repression & lack of awareness/savviness) and conservative ethos & political values: this was born out by whether or not they GOT the jokes. I used to informally test the then far more obscure show on friends in college and could easily identify plenty in advance who would not value the show based on knowing the person's political orientation. This later became a heuristic for orienting social society, not waiting months to get to know someone's deeper values before deciding on whether I'd risk affiliation or deeper engagement. I could even eliminate girlfriend propsects in advance of knowing them thoroughly because I could relibably assess whether we'd be a match. I put the tame, underdeveloped, slow-to-emerge people (think those who flock to E-Harmony to find a 'mate' - they're effectively people looking for other people who are disadvantaged one way or another at negotiating social society and need to pay a company to sort, serve and suggest for them - never mind how good that service may be).

I thoroughly encourage familiarizing yourself with Robert Kegan's work in *In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life*. This work identifies the intrapsychic componenents that organize to a level of development or Order of Consciousness (in his model) that he terms "3rd Order" - and the demeanor that prevents higher Ironies & sophisticated humours from being processed, let alone understood!

WH said...

Yosh,

Colbert is not a "tongue in cheek conservative" - he's a confirmed liberal making fun of conservative views and ideology. I don't think all conservatives are as dense as this study indicates (I know MANY smart conservatives), but this study is quite damning.

Peace,
Bill

WH said...

Farsam,

I am a huge fan of Kegan's work - what you are referring to is postformal cognitive ability, which seems to be increasing but is still somewhat rare. But I highly recommend to everyone Kegan's other book, as well, The Evolving Self.

Peace,
Bill

Perpetual Spiral said...

ok i know i shouldn't keep commenting here, since it's not my post, but I had to laugh and confess that I knew something was wrong in my last relationship when he laughed hysterically at Wizards of Waverly Place and was dead silent watching Steward and Colbert. Whereas I was the opposite! And IMHO, I don't think people who use e-harmony to find 'mates' are 'disadvantaged' socially. They may just be shy, or too busy to find someone, but these are not psychological/social flaws. It is a sign of the times - we are not content to marry the boy or girl next door, or the son/daughter of our parents' friends anymore. We want choice, but we need help. Nothing wrong with that.