The popular comedy show The Colbert Report is political satire. It is intended to poke fun at extreme positions.
And yet studies show that many viewers like the show because they think it is straight news reporting … and don’t even realize it’s satire. (The people who don’t realize it’s parody tend to hold the same views being made fun of).
As we noted in 2009:
Because some people are too stubborn or too stuck in dysfunctional thinking patterns to hear the truth even when it hits them over the head, I suggest that we try a different approach: parody.
When a comic, like Stephen Colbert, does satire — an exaggeration of what’s being said — it can wake us up, so that we can see the truth and laugh at how we’ve been acting. That can give us the freedom to stop doing the same dumb thing and to try something new.
We also pointed out:
Jon Stewart does more truth-telling than any other mainstream reporter ….
There’s a reason for that. Oscar Wilde said:
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.
Jon Stewart makes people laugh, so he can also tell the truth without turning people off.
Like the court jester, funny people can say that the guy in power isn’t wearing any clothes, people will laugh, and then the the guy will go put on some clothes.
In fact, there is a well-known tradition thousands of years old – called “crazy wisdom” – which uses humor as a path for speaking truth and waking people up from their erroneous beliefs. and their coma of sleepwalking. (Famous rock and roll dj Wes “Scoop” Nisker wrote a great book on the subject, which I strongly endorse).
The movements for liberty, truth and justice must use humor to disseminate their points more widely. Otherwise, even though we have all the facts in the world on our side, not enough people will listen to actually make a difference.
Similarly, I occasionally write satirical pieces defending the official explanation of 9/11.
For example, I issued the following “press release” in 2008:
Government Urges Return to Stone Age
The White House and U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are urging Americans to return to the stone age for their own safety.
“After discovering that ‘thermal expansion’ of steel from a low-temperature fire led to the collapse of World Trade Center building 7,” said NIST spokesperson Noh Wei, “we started realizing that other metal objects might also be at risk”.
So NIST scientists tested other metallic objects using state-of-the-art computer models. The models predicted that every oven and barbeque in the country could disintegrate at any time, leading to a progressive collapse of entire houses.
“We also determined that car engines, airplane engines, and boat engines could all suddenly fail due to thermal expansion,” said Wei. “Indeed, we soon realized that almost all industrial processes could lead to catastrophic failure, other than, perhaps, those used in freezers.”
White House spokesman Phil Johnson agreed, saying
“Once you understand this principle of thermal expansion, you start to realize that even household showerheads and faucets are dangerous. The hot water flowing through them could wreak havoc. The President is committed to leading the way back to a safer time, and a return to proven, traditional materials – which may not be flashy like metal – but remain rock-solid even when warm.”
A Fact Sheet from NIST provides recommendations and safety guidelines based on the new thermal expansion discoveries:
Is Metal Safe?
While it was previously assumed that metal was safe, scientists have now discovered that steel and other metals can suddenly fail due to exposure to heat. NIST urges everyone to stop using metal, and to reassess possible replacements with stone materials.
Sunlight can warm up metal. Therefore, no metal should be used where any sun exposure is possible.
If people choose to continue using metal, we urge them to live underground, to protect against the dangers of sunlight.
(the Corbett Report has also done a good 9/11 parody.)
In addition, some larger websites – which are very hostile to 9/11 – post my pieces. They will not post essays arguing that 9/11 was intentionally allowed to happen or claiming that it was an inside job.
As such, I have to write pieces which leave obvious pieces of the puzzle unused, or the pieces won’t be posted. When I write such pieces – such as this one – I do so by “playing dumb”, pretending I don’t know the basic facts, with the hope that readers will fill in the missing pieces so that everyone can see how ridiculous the “official” story is.
Do you get the joke, or are you like the Colbert fans who don’t realize what’s really happening? I can’t break character and let anyone in on the punch line … I have to keep playing dumb and stick with the prank.
Postscript: Your job – gentle reader – is to point out what I am “too stupid” to realize! When you do so, please back it up with videos, links and hard facts. In other words, when these parodies appear on larger websites, play along with the joke by “educating” me.
You can even find the facts to rebut my “defense” of the official story on my own blog!