You’re not helping your cause with captions like this, ‘NY Post.’
(His unapologetic waxing of Gutfeld’s car does allow Smith to make his piece’s single accurate statement: “the way he delivers truths disguised as jokes makes him a kind of reverse Jon Stewart.” This is absolutely correct — Gutfeld is indeed a reverse Jon Stewart, inasmuch as his “truths” are partisan hackwork, and he isn’t funny.)
One might expect some sort of “hey, we’re owned by the same company” disclosure from Smith, but who’re we kidding — everyone reading his piece knows the score, and the “them” vs. “you” mentality is right there in the both the title of the book and the headline of Smith’s “review.” But what Smith and Gutfeld don’t get, or choose not to acknowledge, is that they’re raging over matters of perception, and drawing false analogies to questions of real power.
An example: Smith points out Gutfeld’s contention that Facebook not only didn’t pay income taxes in 2012, but received a giant refund, and “because it was Facebook — a company that oozes cool out its pores — it was a one-day story that people forgot about.” (Not quite; a one-second Google search reveals, on the first page alone, stories about their 2012 tax refund ranging from February to December of 2013.) But here’s the rub: “If Exxon or Koch Industries had managed that, someone might have noticed.”
Note how Smith walks this line. He carefully notes that the refund is because “the company (lawfully) deducts the stock options it issues to Facebook employees.” So that parenthetical assures us he’s not actually upset about a giant company gaming the tax code — his readers love that shit. No, it’s that a social media network isn’t held to the same standards of outrage as price-gouging gas companies and fossil fuel billionaires who are trying to buy the electorate.
And that’s insane. But it’s also sad, for square conservative bros like Smith and Gutfeld — it isn’t enough that they’re mouthpieces for the rich and powerful, or that their party controls economic and government interests far beyond the meager reach of such Gutfeld-targeted liberal “icons of cool” as Zuckerberg, Robert Redford, Yoko Ono (?) and Jesse James (???). No, power isn’t enough; they wanna be cool too. “I’m cool! I’m on TV! I wear stonewashed jeans! Why doesn’t anybody think I’m cool, Kyle?” “I dunno, Greg, but I’m not cool either! Write a book about it and I’ll review it, waaaaah.”
I don’t mean to be completely reductive here — believe it or not, I know and like a lot of Republicans. Some of them are even cool! (This is not a value judgment; most of the time, I’m tragically uncool, but I’m not so worked up about it that I have to go write a fucking book blaming it on other people.) You know who else is cool? Clint Eastwood, a Republican. Also cool and also conservative: James Brown, Bruce Willis, The Rock, James Caan, and the man who defined cool, Frank Sinatra. The key to cool, Mr. Smith and Mr. Gutfeld, is not which way you choose to cast a ballot. It’s whether or not you choose to be an asshole.