Sarah Silverman: The id and the ick

It is a cultural fact of life that such culturally pre-approved taboo-breakers as Miss Silverman must have impeccably liberal credentials, and she has been as slavish a devotee of the Democratic cause generally and the cause of Barack Obama in particular as one is likely to find outside the pages of the New York Times. She organized something called The Great Schlep, aimed at recruiting young Jews to persuade their Florida-dwelling elders to help deliver that key electoral state to him in his presidential contest. She makes get-out-the-vote videos that are in practice get-out-the-vote-for-Obama videos, and has a habit of saying dumb and uninformed things about subjects such as population growth. (Malthus deserves better representatives.) Given that liberals have taken to deriving their political views from comedians as a general practice (Ahoy, Jon Stewart! Greetings, Bill Maher!), Sarah Silverman, whose politics are as crass as her sense of humor, is a perfect cultural fit for the Age of Obama.

And yet, even in the works of Sarah Silverman, the horrifying realities of the times assert themselves. In a song about the lives of degraded pornographic performers, she sings the refrain: “Do you ever take drugs so that you can have sex without crying?” and there is something in her eyes that suggests, all joking aside, that the question is a serious one, that there exists in this world something that, God help us, offends Sarah Silverman. But if it has occurred to Miss Silverman that her career has been made possible by the same corrosive forces that enable the pornographer’s, she has given no indication of that insight.