Thanks, Conservative Grandpa
Why are Conservatives so terrible at comedy? Why is the phrase “Conservative funnyman” such an oxymoron? Those are just some of the questions raised by Conservative Grandpa, a Facebook page and Instagram account I have followed with morbid fascination since I was introduced to it a few months back by a friend who recommended it as a dependable source of accidental hilarity.
I took one look and was hooked. I’ve been following it for months now, and I still cannot figure out whether the person or people behind it designed it as a scathing and hilarious parody of foggy, geriatric social media rambling or whether it’s one hundred percent sincere, and only feels like demented satire.
“Primitive” does not begin to do justice to Conservative Grandpa’s “First day on the internet” visual aesthetic. Many of the posts consist solely of the titular politically reactionary grandparent, represented by a singularly ugly piece of clip art of an old man, delivering an angry bromide in a sea of white, almost as if he’s dispensing his truth bombs from a vast cosmic void. Sometimes Conservative Grandpa is accompanied by a hamster and sometimes that hamster is dressed up, for reasons known only to the mad geniuses behind Conservative Grandpa, like Thriller-era Michael Jackson. It could possibly be a way of owning the Libs. That’s the motivation behind a lot of Conservative behavior on social media. I should know. I am a butthurt snowflake beta cuck and even though I’m constantly retreating to my safe space in tears, I get seriously owned by badass Trump supporters on social media several times a day. Badly.
In form, a Conservative Grandpa looks like a sad, amateur attempt at a meme or an online cartoon only the words that accompany the lazily borrowed clip art illustrations almost never rise to the level of “joke.” Hell, they barely even qualify as observations. They’re barely statements.
Compared to Conservative Grandpa, wildly didactic far-right wing waterfowl Mallard Fillmore is the love-child of Crazy Kat and Calvin & Hobbes.
Conservative Grandpa is not the only character in the eponymous malfunctioning meme machine. There’s also Conservative Great-Grandpa, a wheelchair-bound Italian-American who shares his son’s love of the United States and stridently articulated right wing beliefs as well Conservative Grandpa’s pet hamster Elvin as well as their ideological nemeses, Islam-loving, America-hating butthurt Socialist snowflakes who stand in for the evils and idiocy of the radical left.
Whether its intended as satire or not, judging from the smattering of comments that accompany each new confusing/nonsensical/heavy-handed/inadvertently surreal post most folks derive ironic enjoyment from Conservative Grandpa and his “Get off my lawn!” take on the foibles of everyday life. It seems safe to assume that most of Conservative Grandpa’s fans are really more “fans” who are laughing at poor Conservative Grandpa and his strange attempts to engage with a complicated and ever-changing world rather identifying with him when he rages against the touchy-feely extremism of the kooky Commies of the left.
Posts ore often answered with a benignly patronizing, “Thanks, Conservative Grandpa” as a sort of linguistic condescending pat on the head to doddering old fool though a number of followers clearly like him unironically and think he has both something to say and an entertaining and non-embarrassing way of saying it.
In that respect, Conservative Grandpa qualifies as strangely hypnotic anti-comedy, where the joke, more often than not, is that there is no joke, and when it comes to skipping jokes and heading straight to clunky statements of opinion, Conservative Grandpa is a veritable Jedi master of incompetence.
Perhaps what I find most compelling about Conservative Grandpa is its incredible crudeness and simplicity. Take an ugly piece of clip art, slap a few strident words vaguely relating to something happening in the news and voila, you’ve officially cooked up a Conservative Grandpa post guaranteed not to go viral but to morbidly amuse the few of us onboard the Conservative Grandpa Ironic Appreciation Train.
Conservative Grandpa is so caveman-like that it almost feels wrong laughing at it, as it’s more akin to outsider art or something homemade someone would post on their Facebook page than a professional publication but for the time being I remain strangely hypnotized by this clumsiest of culture warriors and his peculiar online soapbox.
I make my living primarily through Patreon, so if you would consider pledging as little as a dollar a month, and as much as a bazillion dollars a second (we call that the Elon Musk level) over at https://patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace