The Death of Satire

If you’re an aspiring satirist, I’ve got 2hle1fa hot tip: Walmart is hiring.

Satire, I’m sorry to say, is going the way of dial-up and MySpace, and I’ve got a 100 percent satire-free argument to prove it.

To earn your  trust, let me first explain I was once an aspiring satirist just like you. My dream hit a wall when I tried my hand at satire for a college writing assignment. My Jonathan Swift-style treatment of the abortion debate was poignant, biting, devilishly clever and, unfortunately for me, a failure. The professor worried I hadn’t gone far enough. Readers might take my barbaric argument at face value and actually agree with it.

As you know, a satirist’s clay is a half-mad world he can mold into a mad world. But when the world is already full mad — when the clay pot has already baked — you’ve got nothing left to do but smash that world and find a new one. Tragically, scientists have not yet discovered an “Earth 2,” so you’re stuck in the Earth we’ve got.

As citizens of this present Earth, here are the crazy things you are now under pressure to accept — things that, only a century ago, even a satirist might have considered too absurd to put on paper. (more…)

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When I die, the nation won’t give a crap…

…and so unto John McCain I offer not the smallest crap. Not even a crusty fleck.

That’s not an anti-John McCain comment. That’s an anti-Celebrity comment, and it’s an anti-Statist comment. I don’t get to mourn the distant gods of the Bureau of Central Planning until I’ve first knocked on my neighbor’s door and asked her how she’s recovering from her gall bladder surgery.

My point is that it’s too easy to miss what’s right in front of us. Easy to forget how to value what we can smell with our own noses and touch with our own hands. Unless, of course, what we’re touching is an iPad, breathlessly swiping through clickbait slideshows of bold and beautiful strangers who spent more money on their socks than they would ever spend to save you from losing your left foot.

But with technology today, who needs two feet anyway? Ah, priorities.

 

America needs Roy Hobbs

The Natural is a baseball movie that couldn’t b1984_-_The_Natural_Movie_Postere made today. There’s too much sincerity, too much unapologetic manliness, too few moral loopholes, and no trace of the upturned nose down which films set in past decades tend to view their subjects.

Also, The Natural is not a baseball movie. I didn’t know that until now.

As a boy, I watched the classic Robert Redford film through the eyes of the hero’s admiring bat boy, Bobby. I looked up to Roy Hobbs because I wanted to be Roy Hobbs. His victories validated my “wish upon a star” fantasy of making the big leagues and unleashing an explosive barrage of latent talent upon my formerly mocking peers. The plot, as I saw it, was simple: a gifted Wonder Boy pursues his dream while trying to avoid being distracted by a bunch of boring adult stuff (like, you know, money, women, women with guns, whatever).

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When you’re tired of the politics

As a South Florida bachelor,  I didn’t do the crazy things most South Florida bachelors are contractually obligated to do.

My idea of a wild night life was to head out, alone, to the beach after dark, after the sunbathers and vacationers and snowbirds retreated to their air conditioned condos. I’d go to walk, to think, to listen, to decompress, to find God, or at least to glimpse his shadow, or maybe just to glimpse my own shadow and not be disgusted at what I saw. (more…)

License to Murder

Nataliia Karia hanged a toddler in her basement. The toddler survived, but not on purpose. Nataliia wanted him dead, and she confessed to the crime. Attempted murder: guilty. Third degree assault: guilty.

Her punishment? Probation.

This sick joke of a trial is just the latest in a long-established tradition of “innocent by reason of insanity” verdicts. This tradition has hundreds of years of precedent to back it up, and I believe it has merit when carefully applied. But in our current legal and social climate, putting the “insanity” tool in a judge’s toolbox is as wise as storing matches in gasoline canisters.

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Natural Theology: no longer second nature

For my Christian readers, some fascinating thoughts on a (perhaps) better approach to sexual ethics in our anti-family age:

The common thread running through all of these examples is the evangelical abandonment of natural theology, accompanied by a biblicist approach to morality, and an over-realized eschatology that expects the grace of salvation to abrogate human nature. Put simply, evangelicals have largely abandoned the categories that would allow them to take moral stands on issues not explicitly discussed in Scripture. So, instead of appealing to creation, as the authors of Scripture themselves do, modern evangelicals are left with deracinated special revelation—isolated commands mostly found in the Pauline epistles about how marriage, the church, and sexuality should work. And instead of receiving these as restorations of a this-worldly natural order, the average Christian reads them as other-worldly restrictions on an otherwise unregulated state of nature.

I may provide my own response at another time. For now, I’ll just say this tracks with my view that the New Testament was never intended as a rule book. The “rules” that are written therein are, with the odd exception (because everything has exceptions), not new revelations or new legal codes, but rather reminders to the Jews and to Christians of moral principles they already know.

Chick-fil-A apologizes for serving Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

The following is satire, which is sort of like “fake news” but actually helpful.

Faced with mounting pressure from angry customers, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has issued a public apology on behalf of his popular fast food chain for “inadvertently” serving a chicken sandwich to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. (more…)

A Tale of Two Towers

Outside my front door, two towers split the skyline.  One was built in 1970. The other sprouted alongside its big brother in 2011. The first predated my birth by nine years; the second slipped in and sunk roots while I was away in sunny south Florida chasing a career and starting a family.

Here in the valley that coal and steel built, the world turns slower. But turn it does. Even smokestacks take last breaths, give up their final black plumes, and go silent. (more…)

The Cake War is Over: Celebrate with Cake!

The verdict is in: the Supreme Court has sided with the Colorado baker who refused to bake a homosexual wedding cake.

If you are outraged (because who isn’t outraged these days?), allow me to extend a peace offering in the form of tactical advice. Show Christian business owners your disapproval with their exclusionary attitudes by including yourselves. Go to their stores and restaurants and defiantly purchase their products. Clean them out! That’ll show ’em.

What’s that you say? Nobody is stopping you from buying their products?

I rest my case.

Bajoran Bill of Rights

I was only half paying attention as my son began to lecture me on some factoid he’d just learned. It takes great resolve to not go comatose during his spontaneous briefings, rich in data bits and short on the connective circuits that join those bits into narratives.

He had to repeat himself before I finally caught on to what he was saying: “Bajoran is a common Scandinavian name!”

Bajoran? I puzzled to myself, “Self, why did Star Trek name an alien civilization after some ancient Scandinavian dude?”

Then it hit me. (more…)