30 May 2011

Picayune Idiots, Delicate Birthers and How to Drop the Ball as You Whine

I wonder – is acting a touch victimized good for business? And does it make extreme or improbable political views suddenly more mainstream and believable? After all, if you weren’t making a point, “they” wouldn’t be picking on you, would they?

I received today an urgent e-mail from the World Net Daily, a net publication edited by right-wing writer Joseph Farrah. The subject line of the email is “WND to take on The Hearst Corporation,” the obvious implication being that this is a terribly brave David/Goliath battle with God personally endorsing David/WND.

(I cannot help but note I have written elsewhere that the story of David and Goliath teaches lessons which should be taken, at the very least, with caution.)

The reason that WND is “taking on” Hearst Corporation is that Esquire magazine published a satirical column by Mark Warren concerning Jerome Corsi’s new book, Birther Bullshit. (Okay, okay, the actual title is Where's the Birth Certificate: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President.) Warren purports to quote Farrah as having found out that the book was written before President Obama released the “long-form” birth certificate and that WND had ceased selling the book and was offering refunds. Warren “quotes” a source at WND saying,

"I mean, we'll do anything to hurt Obama, and erase his memory, but we don't want to look like fucking idiots, you know? Look, at the end of the day, bullshit is bullshit."

The satire was too subtle for some people and a couple of hours after the article was first published, Warren published a clarification online saying,

“for those who didn't figure it out yet, and the many on Twitter for whom it took a while: We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication.”

I have to wonder where my own opinion that Corsi is a (literate) whack job comes into my thoughts about the satire. Nowhere, I think. I do so love satire. But make no mistake: I do think that Jerome Corsi is a (literate) whack job. He (among others) has such genuine hatred for Barack Obama that they will believe, repeat, exaggerate or concoct the most idiotic bullshit to end his presidency. (Guys, ever heard of an election?)

(This is also not to say that I’m a great fan of the current administration, Democrat though I may be. Okay, Bull-Moose/Democrat. The concept, for example, of overcoming crushing debt by spending $1 trillion of borrowed money escapes me. On my office wall, I have a $100 trillion bill. Oh, it’s Zimbabwean money, but I think Congress and the president are using American bucks.)

Satire is one of the most enjoyable humor forms, perhaps because you must work just a little to “get it.” The very best satire is that which leads people to think “Oh, no, surely that can’t be right ... can it?” Mind you, some people are little slower than others to get it. The father of modern satire, Jonathan Swift, wrote A Modest Proposal (A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick) in 1729, where he proposed that the way to solve Irish poverty and hunger was to serve up Irish children as the main course at lunch. There were (and are even today) some folks dumb enough to take that seriously. But the oooh-he-hurt-me crowd are indulging in their own political correctness when they complain about satire. “You must,” they reason, “dumb down your writing to my level or you’ll hurt my widdle feewwings.”

So, if WND goes ahead and files suit against The Hearst Corporation, the lawsuit will slog its way lackadaisically through a federal court somewhere, courtesy of your tax dollars, and some judge will, with a mixture of boredom and pique, dismiss the case after the litigants have worn themselves out with posturing and rhetoric.

There are 4 responses available to one hit with satire:

1 – Ignore it. Do you really care that the excessively dumb will sometimes believe sheer bilgewater?

2 – Laugh along with it. Demonstrate that you have a brain and a sense of humor. If you do.

3 – Write your own satire. Be sure it’s better and subtler than what “they” wrote. If you can.

4 – Complain to Daddy. “Daddy, they hurt me. Daddy, fix.”

We are in the midst of a war that civilians are largely ignoring; our energy needs, energy production and mid-term energy prospects are chaotic; we have national debt of trillions to foreign nations; and yet allegedly responsible and self-proclaiming patriotic people are screwing around with this picayune bullshit.

Eye on the ball, people, eye on the ball.

Pippa passes.


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