Let’s burn Voltaire. Let’s erase the visage and work of Jonathan Swift from history. Outlaw the works of Bill Hicks. Satire must be stopped. It’s ruining our lives. Stephen Colbert is ruining our lives, not just the lives of sensitive Asians like Suey Park but every single one of us, every black, yellow, brown, red, white and rainbow of us.
Colbert worships at the alter of that most insidious of entertainment genres, satire. Satire’s insensitive rampage has gone on far too long. Aristophanes’ satire killed Socrates. The poet Hipponax insulted the sculptor Bupalus so egregiously that he hung himself. Mark Twain was an obvious racist who furthered the belief in the superiority of the white man. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn ruined the lives of countless communists. Television character Archie Bunker unfairly characterized the blue collar working class of his day.
Why would we tolerate satire for so long? Why didn’t the Greeks nip it in the bud? Or the Romans? How in the hell did the Communist Russia allow the evils of satire to live? It’s everywhere and it starts with sarcasm. And who hasn’t met the sinister sarcasm? Doctors, nurses, lawyers, policemen, soldiers are often victims of sarcasm, they claim as a result of the nature of their work, all that human suffering and death and evil and other shit. They self-righteously claim sarcasm is self-defense, their pre-emptive treatment for depression and stress. Oh brudder… But we all know it’s rampant. You know the waitress is painting her kitchen banter with sarcastic descriptions of you and you beautiful children. There ought to be a law.
Stephen Colbert doesn’t want us to find some ironic connection in his racist jokes to some real-life lunacy. Why do that? What’s his purpose? He’s not even a real person, anyway, right? Either Jonathan Swift had a true hankering for baby meat or he was just some guy making jokes in hopes of enlightening his contemporaries to the poor and the orphaned. What in the hell would the latter serve? Bill Hicks’ suggestion that all marketing people should kill themselves couldn’t have been a call for more honesty in advertising or a warning to consumers. What the fuck, bro?
Would it be cynical to suggest that in the midst of selling you tampons and peanut butter, Stephen Colbert doesn't really give a shit about racial insensitivity? Would it be cynical to suggest that Swift wasn't truly concerned about the state of his city and the welfare of the poor as he spread his fame and sold his writing? Would it be cynical to remind you that Bill Hicks sold you a ticket or a DVD before he made us think about how corporations manipulate us through media? Yup. That's cynicism.
This is irony.
This is satire.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.