Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Musings - Satire 101

Will there ever be a point at which directing unhinged rants toward the topic of Sarah Palin will be considered, if not contemptible, at least superfluous? If not, then can we at least have a moratorium on this business of hiding behind satire when confronted with the utter unpleasantness of something we have written?

Karen Spears Zacharias, the source of whose popularity in the faith world is a complete and utter mystery to me, has the latest. Readers are treated to a litany of anti-Palinisms. Baby-making machine, incompetent, Botox, John and Kate Plus 8 and, of course, unintelligent. The same cracks late-night comedy writers (Leno’s, not Stewart’s) have been dredging up for years, with the requisite “oh no you didn’t” swagger.

After all this, many of those commenting reasonably asserted that Ms. Zacharias had gone overboard. To which, she responds by accusing her readers of not understanding satire, and urging them to read more Twain.

Physician, heal thyself. Also, Karen, learn the distinction between sarcasm and satire. My 11th Grade English teacher will thank you.


Wait, I have more. Last week, on the Shefzilla blog, Stewart Woodman called out the Star Tribune’s Rick Nelson for his four-star review of Heartland, which cited a considerable number of Heartland’s imperfections. Having visited the restaurant, Woodman (who, apparently, also observed imperfections) wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece lambasting his meal, but also awarding the restaurant four stars.

To which, I get it, but again, just because something is satirical does not mean it makes its point effectively. At minimum, satire should be two things:

a) funny

b) true

On the first count, I found the comparison of soup to dishwater a bit tired, but whatever. Beats a Botox joke. The second part is crucial.

Woodman’s point (and I agree with him) is that a critic ought not overlook imperfections, and grade on a curve because this is Minnesota. As such, it would have been more effective to highlight the legitimate weaknesses with the dish, and go overboard in the effort to downplay them, rather than spoofing the meal and then reviewing it.

As it stands, he lost the essential truth of his point, and caused a scene. It didn’t help that some people apparently did not realize he was being facetious.


End didactic lecture. In short, be careful with satire, eh? Stay in school kids.


The question of whether Barack Obama is a Muslim is irrelevant. He isn’t one, but it’s irrelevant.

If he is going to evince the worst attributes of contemporary Islamic tradition, namely aligning himself with anti-Semitic interests abroad, then he might as well be. Praising Indonesia as a beacon tolerance, then pivoting to a spout of Israel-bashing is simply unconscionable.

It's hard to hold him personally accountable, since I sincerely doubt he has considered the implications of the stuff his staff writes for him. I am tempted to make a teleprompter joke, which, if I had, and if you were familiar with the writings of Mark Twain, you would have very much enjoyed.


This is all the rage...

Truthfully, people should have started revolting right around the time we started having to take off our shoes. But at least the remedy had something to do with the disease. Randomly introducing nudie scanners after a failed terrorist attach that would not have been foiled by same is a pretty stupid thing to do.


Also, if Obama were Clinton, he would have sensed an opportunity. Clinton would have fired Napolitano and called for Congressional hearings a week ago.


That’s all folks, and if you didn’t enjoy what you read, remember, it’s all satire.


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