Today I listened to the most recent episode of Malcolm Gladwell's podcast show, "Revisionist History". Titled, "The Satire Paradox", the episode evaluated the "break even" proposition that is political satire. According to Malcolm, satire has the ability to convey the underlying "truth" of alleged "crude" behavior. But experts suspect satire becomes toothless when the underlying truth of a message is confused by laughter. And he goes as far to say, American satire, more than other countries', is particularly toothless.
Citing studies that both conservatives and liberals enjoy the Colbert Report, a television satire of a right wing journalist, Malcolm supports an explanation that American satire focuses more on the mannerisms than the mechanisms of the "crude" behavior and thereby allows the consumer of the satire to see whatever they want to see.
What he gives as one example:
The satire of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live was supposed to shed light on the "truth" that, despite being publicly elected to office as Governor of Alaska, she was woefully unprepared to be associated with a higher federal office. And because Saturday Night Live quickly let Sarah Palin in on the joke, allowing her to appear on the show beside her comic counterpart, the satire lost its teeth.
Malcolm Gladwell is an established non-fiction author. Years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book, "Outliers", written in the prose of a limitedly biased intellectual. But make no mistake about the man, Malcolm Gladwell is a flaming liberal. You won't be able to discern this from just one podcast. And he's not "flaming" in the sense the Sun is flaming. A more apt comparison would be to that of the Earth, which is raging at the core, but cool to the touch at the surface. No astute intellectual would conceive Malcolm's cool to the touch surface extends wholly to the core.
In fact, over the course of the 30 minute podcast I referenced, the satire of America's Sarah Palin and George Bush, and even Israel's Netanyahu was evaluated for implicit "truths" about their ineffectiveness. But the only example Gladwell gave of liberal satire was that Hillary Clinton was "ruthless".
You know, that Hillary Clinton, who possibly in Gladwell's mind is more prepared for Presidency than a woman is for Vice Presidency who was publicly elected to the executive branch of a state. You know, the Hillary Clinton that misremembered being shot at by sniper fire in Bosnia. The same Hillary Clinton that misremembered not recieving insider trading advice on cattle futures that earned the Clintons $100,000 back in 1978, starting with an account balance of $1,000. And yes, the Hillary Clinton who misremembered not telling Time Magazine she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest years AFTER Hillary Clinton was born. Surely the only comic relief that could be devised for this woman should center on her "ruthlessness".
Perhaps though Gladwell struggled to find liberal satire, because it doesn't much exist in massly distributed widely entertaining forms. I can speculate the reasons liberal satire does not exist in the way I describe. I suspect the media platforms that support satire mostly attract left minded political beings and the politically disinterested. Picture this in the same way mostly politically right minded beings occupy the vast voiceless wilderness expanses of this country. Neither is inherently "right" or "wrong".
In any comedic prose, a tolerant party is easier to parody than an intolerant party, in general. Nature follows the path of least resistance.
I'm not allegeding that some liberals are as intolerant as some Muslim extremists. Too many cartoonists have made the mistake of inducing laughter at the expense of that god and lost their head (literally). As a result, substantive Muslim satire is scarcely found. (Keep in mind that religious satire is quite popular. And more tolerant religions continue to permit the existence of their parody.)
Liberal intolerance to satire of the political left takes the form of social dethrowning. As a visual of social dethrowning as a result of intolerance, recount the career death spiral of the actor Kramer from the show Seinfeld. His social status came crashing down after the utterance of a word in a crude display on a comedy stage, "nigger".
Mocking the political right may very well be a break even proposition. And Gladwell went as far to say the Colbert Report was brilliant, that most don't understand how difficult it is to create satire that simultaneously elicits contentment from both sides. But what say you of satire of the political left, Gladwell?
Gladwell fails to evaluate the absence of substantive liberal satire and the effects that may have on political satire as a "break even" proposition, thereby rendering, by my assessment, the intellectual integrity of the entire episode suspect. By not declaring this deficiency, and evaluating right wing satire under the pretense of all political satire, I see this as yet another Malcolm Gladwell intellectual misrepresentation.
Even if the Colbert Report was "brilliant", I find it impossibly hard to believe the same man starring in that show could've had the same widespread appeal IF his character was a satire of a left wing journalist (instead of a right wing journalist). As I've described, such a large portion of the Colbert Report audience is simply intolerant of that type of satire.
This type of intellectual misrepresentation reminds me of a respected intellectual of America's past, the printer, Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father.
On this thru-hike, among the other biographies I've listened to by audio book, I was exposed to a gripping account of Benjamin Franklin's existence. As young man, his first published works were a series of essays written under the guise of the expressed opinions of a middle-aged Bostonian widow, Silence Do-Good. After 13 essays poked and prodded contesting opinions to his own, Ben revealed Silence Do-Good's real identity.
But years later, Ben publicly vowed to resist speaking ill of anyone, ANYONE. Then publicly handcuffed by his stated moral code, Ben cloaked his honest opinion again in anonymity. The owner of an independent newspaper, Ben would publish his own commentary in his paper as fake opinion letters from readers disparaging his opponents (pseudonym and all).
By the account of his biography, Ben was aware by his 20s that a centrist view point was the most persuasive means of influence. So he worked hard to maintain that consciously crafted public image. But certainly he still had his devices for his honest opinions to prosper.
And apparently, satire, might just be one of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite devices to distribute "the truth".
So in the spirit of the moment, and inspired by both men who believed "truth" can be delivered effectively when disguised, I present to you my own satire. More specifically inspired by a current event, back-up NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem to bring attention to the alleged "unfair" treatment of black America in these United States, I present to you an admittedly unfunny fictional email. The email comes from a fictional community position that must exist, if in fact, white America is "truly" conspiring to maintain an "unfair" socioeconomic climate for black America.
"Great news all!
We were able to once again book the Marriott Conference Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the Secret Annual Whites Only Event to Conspire Against American Blacks. The feedback you all left shows just how much we all enjoyed that location last year.
This year's event will be held after the women have their annual secret meeting to reinforce their agenda to marry men taller than them, continuing their support for height privilege.
Shortly after our meeting we'll have to clear out promptly as the NBA will also be holding their annual secret meeting to maintain as many black players as possible, currently 74.4% of the league.
This year's white America agenda will be to devise a plan to increase the percentage of black children born out of wedlock in America. The percentage has stagnated at 70% for some time. This is the year we figure out how to secretly increase that proportion!
According to the Brookings Institution, the liberal think tank, only about 2% of American adults with the following three characteristics live in poverty:
1. Earned a high school diploma
2. Have a full-time job
3. Waited until at least age 21 to get married and have children
If Black America was to find a way to decrease the percentage of their children born out of wedlock, we would slowly lose our grip on all the ways we control and oppress them in industry as they could easily rise out of poverty. For that reason this year upcoming is our most important yet!
Also I'm very happy to report that after walking almost 1,700 miles across the public hiking trails of California I only saw 3 black people over 5 months despite encountering hundreds if not thousands of whites. Clearly last year's secret white America agenda to keep American blacks out of nature is working well!
Make sure to bring your secret whites only pass code to gain entry to the meeting. The pass code is printed in invisible ink on your Social Security Card.
This message will self destruct."