Saturday, February 25, 2017

Issac Marion's Fake Trump Tweet & The Death of Political Satire

Years ago during the opening credits of one of the Halloween specials "The Simpsons" does every year, one of the many gravestones with funny messages on them featured political satire as the dearly departed. As usual, the alien time travelers who write for that show foresaw the future in hilarious and frightening ways.

At the time, political satire was still viable, despite needing occasional trips to the doctor. However, the dominance of social media, something that should have been a force for increased knowledge and understanding of parody and satire, has actually aided in the swiftly encroaching loss of this most vital component of a supposedly free society. Instead, we're now moving towards an era where all attempts at irony become fodder for an increasingly easily offended population. And political affiliation is becoming meaningless, as the so-called "snowflake" mentality is just as prevalent among those on the Right as it is on the Left.

Recently, horror author Issac Marion who wrote the surprisingly engaging zombie romance satire "Warm Bodies" dared to post a humorous dialogue between himself and *urp* President Trump. I have also used the fake Trump Tweet app a few times. To my delight, nobody could tell if they were real or not in most cases. I never created a series of them like Marion because I knew some imbecile would screenshot it and, at some point, somebody would think they were real. It never occurred to me that a new breed of imbecile would find offense in the satire itself, but that's exactly what happened to him.

In a stunning display of contextual ignorance, angry people who thought the exchange was real and jumped to Marion's defense went on the offensive, reading him the riot act for daring to indulge a fiction writing exercise designed to make a point about a subject he finds repugnant. I'd mention the irony of the invective coming from members of the Left Wing, but since irony is a rapidly diminishing resource, I don't want to waste any of it by mentioning something so obvious.

Marion  breaks down his perceived "offenses" in list form, each point more ludicrous and asinine than the last. The most telling is Point #2, wherein he addresses an accusation of spreading the now ubiquitous and soon-to-be-meaningless concept of fake news. In his analysis, Marion writes:

I am a fiction writer. I wrote a fictional dialogue and posted it on my personal Twitter account, without any surrounding context to suggest that this was a real occurrence rather than just another bit of nonsense theater squirting out of my brain. If anyone thought it really mattered, a quick click to my profile—or Trump’s—would have revealed the truth. But no one bothered to do that because IT DIDN'T MATTER.
That's right, it didn't. People are so primed for and even seduced by the very notion of outrage now that fact-checking is regarded as quaint and wasteful. Not to toot my own horn, but my first instinct was to question the veracity of the reposting. It seemed too good to be true. Trump had finally crossed the line from journalism antagonist to displaying a woeful ignorance of the fiction writing process. And he'd chosen a lesser known writer to attack! Within moments, I'd discovered the truth and guess what? I was okay with it!

Granted, I'm a fiction writer as well and, while my renown is significantly lower even than Marion's self-described low number of followers, I am at least acquainted with the creative process. I don't expect everyone else to be, elitist as that may sound to those who aren't, but satire and parody are protected by the First Amendment! That means it's something all thinking Americans and indeed humans should know about.  There is no excuse for being so wrapped up in one's personal cause that harmless and entertaining humor becomes viewed as worthy of ridicule and scorn.

We are now entering a very dangerous era and it all started when the drawings of schoolchildren containing vaguely violent imagery became calls to the police and mandatory psychiatric sessions. Think of all the people of previous generations--people like me--whose writing and drawing could have ruined their lives in such a free thought hostile environment. Now the same preposterous censorship of the darker aspects of our minds are being scrutinized in authors by over-sensitive adults with too much time on their hands. These same people actually feel the need to write "sarcasm" after their barely sarcastic comments and insist that others do the same to avoid potential offense.

Isaac Marion created a satirical piece, mostly for his own amusement. Leave him the hell alone and get over yourselves.










2 comments:

TOIALE JOHNSON said...

Sadly, Trump himself is such a real life idiot acting out a political satire for America with his defensive tweets constantly making people wonder if they are real or fake, not to mention his and many of his teams press conferences being more Futurerama/Simpsonesque satire than real. I actually don't blame the people who overreacted only because the Trump administration is so hard to take serious, its hard to tell whats real and fake.

c nadeau said...

Regardless, them turning on the author because they didn't get what he was doing is reprehensible.