Calling Something Satire Doesn’t Magically Make It So

Do you like how I cleverly worked in a photo of Todd Palin? Oh, and look, there's li'l Trig up there, too!

Back in June of 2009 there was a dust up involving David Letterman and a questionable joke he made concerning Sarah Palin’s daughter, Willow. At the time, I thought I could be of help to Mr. Letterman by providing him with a few simple guidelines he could use to determine if his jokes were falling outside the bounds of propriety.

In light of Jack Stuef’s incredibly crass and callous Wonkette column* in “honor” of Trig Palin’s birthday, I considered updating the test for his benefit. Sadly, after careful thought, I decided that it probably wasn’t worth my time. Judging by this column, I’m guessing he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about what he says or does or what kind of person he is. He might care, though, about what people think of him as a writer.

This wasn’t the best piece of political satire I’ve ever read. <—Understatement.

In fact, when I read it the first time, I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be satire; it just seemed like a mean-spirited rambling attack-by-proxy on Sarah Palin. For me – and I think for most decent people – the piece was missing an important satirical element. You know…the humor. I feel safe saying that the vast majority of people don’t find it funny when a grown man verbally assaults a toddler…and a disabled toddler at that. And let me just say right here that if you found the piece humorous in any way, you should probably engage in some serious soul searching because there is something seriously wrong with your soul. Yes, Mr. Stuef, I’m talkin’ to you.

Something else was missing, too…a clearly elucidated point. I had to find out by reading elsewhere that the purpose of the column was to mock Palins “well-documented” use of li’l Trig as a political prop. Now I’ll grant that this prop angle was mentioned once in the column, but since none of the presumably supporting links and graphics actually supported that point, well, yeah. I missed it. Anyway, I’m not buying that Stuef really cares about Trig Palin at all, because what does this column do if not exploit Trig to make a political point?

(And since someone else brought it up, I’d love to have someone explain to me how Trig Palin is any more of a prop than Sasha and Malia Obama…say when their mother used them to promote her anti-obesity initiative?)

All in all, a poor outing for Mr. Stuef. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if this is the best he can do, I hope he has a Plan B.

*I didn’t intend to link the Wonkette piece here; hey, they don’t deserve the traffic but I hear now that it’s been removed. Not to worry! Warner Todd Huston, writing at Red County, has reproduced it in its entirety. Good luck, Mr. Stuef, if you ever want to apply for a job that requires good judgment or common decency.


Filed under Journalism

4 responses to “Calling Something Satire Doesn’t Magically Make It So

  1. Well, this is kinda crazy. I just went to good old Twitter to twitter my latest post (Republicans are MOST Congenial In Congress)…which is satirical, (one of my better ones, I think.) and someone had just twittered the link to your post here. How’s that for crackers with your peanut butter?

    Many, but not all of the things I post are satirical or have at least an element or two of satire. The trick is to tell when I’m being fully serious. I mean, it’s all to the same point though.

    I’d love it if you would be so kind as to visit my humble site and look at the top post, and any of the posts and tell me if I have satire by the tail. It’s the hardest thing in the world to bring off you know. There is no universal standard, except it must be sort of funny and have an element of troof to it.

    Beyond that…who knows? That’s a big big if. Actually, to my way of thinking, I find very little satire funny. That’s the least of it. We want funny, but we don’t often get it. Mostly I think it’s either good satire or lame satire.

    So, let me know what you think, up or down. Would you? Hey, you’re the one who brought it up you know! I didn’t plan on you landing right under my twitter post for my latest bit of insanity.

  2. Great point about the hypocrisy of how Sasha and Malia are never considered political props. They were brought out on stage at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, a week before the Republican convention, yet when Sarah Palin brought out Trig at the latter one, the Left considered him a prop. Not to mention President Obama using his daughter during the Gulf oil spill (“Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?”). The Left doesn’t complain about that.

    I’ve made the following point on Twitter a couple of times but I feel it deserves more attention. Imagine if Sarah Palin didn’t bring out Trig at that convention, or anywhere else. The Left would attack her and say she’s ashamed of her son. So their attacks against her are meaningless because, really, they attack her no matter what.

    • paulag1955

      “Imagine if Sarah Palin didn’t bring out Trig at that convention, or anywhere else. The Left would attack her and say she’s ashamed of her son. So their attacks against her are meaningless because, really, they attack her no matter what.”

      Great point!

  3. There’s no point to their hatred of Palin–it’s vile, visceral, and shameless. Liberals have enshrined the mantras that real women must be liberals, single, and cannot raise children and be successful at the same time, and that it is better to terminate an inconvenient pregnancy than to embrace life. They are now infuriated because some uppity woman has broken all of their rules. Palin’s success sheds light on all of their lies and hypocrisies, and they simply can’t stand that.

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