Irony and the Free Republic

McSweeney's lampoons the conservative Web site.

Published May 17, 2001 9:28PM (EDT)

The Free Republic has truly come of age. Sure, they are heralded as the most enthusiastic of the conservative Web sites. They have had entree into popular culture, thanks to their very public love-hate relationship with Rush Limbaugh (which often evolves over the airwaves).

But that is still intra-conservative thumb wrestling. True signs of the evolution of the Free Republic were found at, the New York-based literary humor site run by Generation X poet laureate Dave Eggers. The Freepers have entered the consciousness of the young and ironic.

McSweeney's Tim Blair penned a column paying a sort of Freeper mock tribute, entitled "Well-known Movie Scenes in Which Certain Lines Have Been Replaced With Comments About Columnist Maureen Dowd Posted on the Conservative Web Site," thereby yiedling retooled scenes like this, from Woody Allen's "Annie Hall."

Scene: Lovers ANNIE and ALVY are in bed. ANNIE is propped up on one elbow, gazing adoringly at ALVY.

ANNIE: Alvy, let's never break up again. I don't wanna be apart.

ALVY: You are an exceptional liar. You betray the truth at every turn. You care not a whit about the facts of the matter. You blame entirely one side, while ignoring the crimes of the other. And you have lost much of the prestige that you formerly enjoyed.

ANNIE: Living together hasn't been so bad, has it?

ALVY: I have had 8 years of a liberal agenda crammed down my throat. Enabled by pukes like you!

ANNIE: You know I think that if you let me, maybe I could help you have more fun, you know? I mean, I know it's hard and ... Alvy, what about ... what if we go away this weekend, and we could ...

ALVY: Many of us have better things to do than sit slack-jawed and glaze-eyed for hours while filling our heads with leftist tripe.

The concept was so darn clever that some Freepers decided to take the ball and run with it.

"Hey Cyber, thanks for the link. I think its an odd but funny concept. Just take a scene from a movie and throw in some freepers opinion about some loser. Here's an example. In this case, I've added comments about Michael Moore that were posted by "go star go" to a scene from "Apocalypse Now.""

(To read the retooled "Apocalypse Now" scene, click here.)

Others in the thread seemed less amused. "Man, what kind of a wierd self-referential humor have you guys come up with?" asks one poster. "This is like some kind of 'third-wave' post-postmodern form of humor!"

Writes another: "Even Dennis Miller would find this excercise arcane."

By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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