Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On Satire

One can deliver a satire with telling force through the insidious medium of a travesty, if he is careful not to overwhelm the satire with the extraneous interest of the travesty.
- "A Couple of Sad Experiences," Galaxy Magazine, June 1870


by Rick - from Moon of Alabama

Often being too naïve to understand what is satire, and often the butt of sarcasm in my youth, I am not a huge fan of satirical humor. In this particular Friedman satire, I again was naïve, but was fortunate to have biklett #6, ndahi #8, annie #13, DM #33, and finally b #41 spell it out for me and maybe for some others here.

Besides such personal psychological hang-ups, there is an additional uneasiness when satire makes light of a serious situation, or when it seems to attribute personal characteristics that are most likely untrue. In these situations, the full embarrassing, uncomfortable and hurt of feelings of my youth return.

Many years ago, there was a weekly TV comedy series called “Hogan’s Heroes. In case anyone doesn’t know, it was about a supposedly cool bunch of American prisoners held in a German prison camp in WWII. Lots of entertaining satire, but even as a kid, I was overly scrupulous and somewhat uncomfortable about a comedy constructed from a scene of war and prisoners.

More recently, hearing any jokes about the Iraq war and torture are never that funny to me. An even more timely and stark example was hearing a satire of Al Sharpton singing “Barack the Magic Negro” on Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated radio show during the campaign. No doubt, many ‘ditto heads’ thought it was very funny. It was a good enough imitation of Sharpton’s voice. I bet Sharpton was pissed, and I’m sure the attitude of the ‘ditto heads’ was simply “so what?”

With Limbaugh’s pathetic satire, everyone knew who the joke teller was, and since it was on commercial radio, everyone knew what corporation helped sponsor it. The Friedman satire here on MOA was introduced bluntly and if one ignored the first hyperlink of the (fake) NY Times, then the Friedman article could be perceived as genuine.

Examining this fake NY Times website further, I wondered, ‘who is’ this guy named Harold Schweppes? After further research, it was amazing to find so much more to the background story behind this satire. Printing and distributing 1.2 million copies of a fake NY Times is no small task.

Perhaps the real NY Times will be easier going regarding their intellectual property rights abused by some ’joker’ (hmmm…. registrar threatened with termination by ICANN for 10 inaccurate domain registrants out of 600,000 of their hosted domains?), compared to, for example, musical artists’ complaints about McCain ripping off popular recordings during his campaign. I realize the latter was not satire but neither was it personal criticism of the artist. Sometimes, imitation of another person or of his/her intellectual works is not comedy nor is it flattery. Such a conclusion depends a lot on the awareness of the intended personal audience and his/her/their current frame of mind.

Well the NY Times charade/Friedman masquerade was quite a success. Maybe hoaxes are what’s needed to sell newspapers nowadays. The method has worked extremely well for Limbaugh, and he excuses any negatives by claiming his show is entertainment with an emphasis on humor.

I realize I should lighten up, at least a little. Heck, I get upset when an anonymous blog poster debates, and even more so, if he/she delivers a personal attack anonymously. And I suppose others here think I should be delighted with this latest satire, especially with me being no fan of Friedman, the NY Times, or the current over-protection of Intellectual Property.

I’m not, but so what?

Posted by b
Source: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/11/on-satire.html#more

Be sure to check out the comments at the Moon of Alabama source.

See the faux NY Times edition here.

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