Satire exaggerates not just for a laugh, often employing the reductio ad absurdum for cutting effect — casting our attention on human follies and crimes.
While the classic literary satires include Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis (divi) Claudii — “The Pumpkinification of (the Divine) Claudius” — and Jonathan Swift’s 1729 “Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick,” we nowadays often turn to humor websites, like The Onion.
Or, increasingly, The Babylon Bee.
Last week, as I set out for the Far East, the Bee story that topped the page was “New Genderfluid Dolls Emit Blast Of Pepper Spray, Alert Authorities When Children Use Wrong Pronoun.” On the same date I caught “Man Sure Is Glad He Switched From E-Cigs To Regular, Healthier Cigarettes.”* And laughed until I coughed.
Worthy of The Onion, sure, but better than most recent Onion efforts.
How did the Bee leap to the forefront of modern satire? Well, it’s a Christian site, actually, which seems to help. The Bee’s writers do not accept any dominant strain of contemporary culture as an admirable norm — like today’s “woke comics” must — so it is easier to find the absurdities in this current epoch’s conflicted and contradictory politics and culture.
The Bee so effectively lampoons dominant culture that snopes.com, the progressives’ most popular (putative) fact checking site, warned that the Bee’s great Chick-fil-A satire confused some readers because it “altered some details of a controversial news story.”
Satire is funny. Not getting satire? Priceless.
The Babylon Bee’s biggest competition may not be The Onion.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Nick Gillespie of Reason mentions some titles that caught his attention: “‘Trump Is Being Influenced by The Russians, Screams Communist!’ and ‘Woke Polar Bear Apologizes for Being White.’ Classics include ‘Trump Proves He’s Not A Racist By Showing His Rejection Letter From The KKK’ and ‘Local Christian Would Do Anything For Jesus Except Believe Things That Are Unpopular.’”