Friday, September 19, 2008

Effective satire returns to the media - thanks Bob!

Republican absurdity has reached such extremes that we are living with something of a crisis in political humor. Luckily, we've got us some Unbearable Bob, and the supremely-easily-ridiculed Sarah Palin. Unlike him, my blogging isn't very funny, a deficit surely influenced by having turned 18 in 2000, and developed a working political consciousness during self-parodic times. Bill Maher might say, "You can't make this shit up!" which is correct in my case, but not Bob's.

When the New Yorker attempted to parody email-propagated smears of Barack Obama by illustrating them on its cover, it was widely denounced as unfunny, due to the real foothold the wholly fictional smears had taken in the public consciousness. Things played out a little differently when Bob took it upon himself to fabricate views espoused by Sarah Palin.

I think the key difference between Bob's alternate-universe Sarah Palin and Fwd: Fwd: Re: Re: MUST READ ABOUT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA!!is that Bob didn't demonize or directly insult. He dealt only with the words of a fictional Sarah Palin that would either charm or repel, and it required synthesis, like any actual joke. "Palin's" quotes were equally ridiculous as the actually-used arguments that support her policy positions, but they were not the same ones, and can't be used in their stead. He put extremely stupid words in her mouth, but did not just call her bad and unpatriotic and stupid. The Obamas' depiction on the New Yorker showed a couple that actively undermined White American interests. The Obama emails were either sincere or non sequiturs. If I had entitled this post, Barack Obama hates America, I would only be saying something untrue, and not satirizing anything. People falling for a foolish lie is funny, but the humor is in the falling, not the lie.

Bob's Palin is the image-conscious Christian Evangelical's worst nightmare. The New Yorker's straw-Obamas were Joe and Josephine White Middle American's worst nightmares embodied, ready to step off of the page and into the White House. There's really no way to exaggerate or equivocate that.
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