"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout."
11 Year Old Boy Scout Defeats Santorum in Supermarket Debate.
Scalia Says Marriage Views Not Affected by Lifelong Fear of Gays.
Republicans Introduce Bill to Abolish FEMA.
Usually, these links are followed up by a half dozen comments, all expressing righteous indignation. And then comes comment #7. "Isn't that satire?"
It's gotten really hard to tell. It's seems like today's satirists get their kicks out of punking people, as opposed to making them think. Meanwhile, we're becoming distressingly naive. In Colbert's early days, I worked with a woman who refused to watch Steve's show because he was just "too right wing". This was right after his brilliant and ballsy Bush roast at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. So, I made the nice lady watch Colbert's unforgettable shiska-bobbing of W, and she figured it out. Now, I realize my friend sets a high bar for gullibility. But then, look at some of the things people in this country fervently believe:
• Bush and Cheney intentionally ignored 9/11 intelligence and 'let' it happen.
• Obama, aka the Anti Christ, was born in Kenya and has a fake birth certificate.
• Obama wants to take people's guns away and establish a Marxist State.
• The Illuminati, wherever-they-at-ti, (they're everywhere) are secretly running the world.
People are less educated, more polarized and extremely anxious about the future. That makes them more willing to believe rumors about the evil other side, especially when the yarn has a ring of truthiness and is passed on by a friend. It doesn't help that attention spans keep shrinking and investigative journalism is devolving into a quaint artifact of the newspaper age. We're getting our news in TV sound bites and short, typo-ridden mashups. The cyber stew swims with rumors, spin and gotcha-satire, all of which can be propagated on the Internet at the speed of light. Naturally, political social media specialists are learning to milk the conspiracy theories while keeping their hands clean.
Stealth satire. Unscrupulous political operatives. An emasculated media. A gullible, apathetic, disillusioned and bitterly divided public. It's a dangerous, disharmonic convergence.
I recently read a story in Daily Kos called The Onion Calls It Quits. Here's how Will Tracy, the Onion's Editor-In-Chief explains it:
"It used to be that political satire was easy. All one had to do was find the absurd buried beneath the surface of a given story and employ satire to highlight that absurdity. To shine a light on it. Now? Now you have headlines showing up in mainstream publications like "Kansas Republican Actually Opposes the Poor Buying More Food" and "Conservatives Less Likely to Buy Energy Efficient Bulbs if Labeled as Environmentally Friendly." The absurdity of conservatives in this country has completely destroyed our business."
Perhaps Mr. Tracy is right. Perhaps truth has become so strange that it's put satire out of business. Unless, of course, the Daily Kos article was supposed to be satire. Guess I better read the comments.