The Death of Parody
August 28, 2017
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published August 27, 2017 by The Washington Times.
Because of its shrillness and excess parodying the left is nearly impossible.
Ever since Donald Trump’s election, we’ve been awash in such cultural and political lunacy that it defies attempts at parody.
It’s not just the concerted assault on anything reminding us of the Confederacy, or the numbingly constant messaging that only bigots oppose giving boys access to girls’ locker rooms. The very idea of America as an imperfect but good and decent country is under daily assault. Plus, the president can’t even brush his teeth correctly. You can read all about it.
CNN is nonstop anti-Trump mania, at times reaching MSNBC-level shrillness. The real thing on CNN looks like a daily sendup from the satirical site The Onion.
The Washington Post under Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been turned over to editors who are apparently about 12 years old, smoking dope and stoked in cultural Marxism. Mr. Bezos must have engineered a clever trade to bring these stars over from The New York Times. They mean to make America unrecognizable and they won’t stop until every last offensive statue is hauled down, the Washington Monument is uprooted, a rainbow flag is flying over the Capitol, and “The Jeffersons” TV show is taken out of syndication. The Jeffersons are doubly offensive because they feature a black family with the name of the now-disgraced American Founding Father.
You see how hard it is to parody the left?
ESPN became the latest poster child of absurd political correctness this past week. The sports network actually yanked an Asian-American sportscaster named Robert Lee from the William & Mary football game against the University of Virginia out of fears that his famous name would cause offense and perhaps even trigger violence. Mr. Lee was sent to Pittsburgh instead.
That story was broken by blogger Clay Travis, whose headline at outkickthecoverage.com said the network took the action “To Avoid Offending Idiots.” Well said.
ESPN issued several statements trying to justify the switch, which only poured fuel on the fire and will probably lead to more cancellations. Fortune magazine reports that ESPN “has lost about 12 million subscribers since 2011.”
The Disney-owned company laid off about 100 employees in April. They might want to consider letting sports just be sports again. We fans can absorb only so many left-wing lectures.
I noticed the shift on ESPN from sports to politics recently during a rain delay of a Washington Nationals baseball game. Instead of a baseball-related feature, ESPN ran a polemic on a transgender athlete and how he/she was fighting discrimination.
Even the ACLU has run afoul of the thought police. They are taking enormous heat for a tweet featuring a cute little girl with an American flag and a shirt bearing the message “Free Speech.” They’re guilty of promoting “white supremacy” because the girl is deplorably white. Naturally, they apologized profusely.
How do you satirize the left’s general, ongoing hysteria? It’s starting to affect me because I could swear that I saw Vladimir Putin in a Confederate uniform the other night sneaking into my yard to plant poison ivy.
Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, actually declared at the Netroots Convention that North Korean nuclear bully Kim Jong-un is “acting more responsible” than President Trump. Are Mr. Ellison’s constituents really okay with his siding with a twisted dictator who is threatening to nuke America?
How about the creep who spray-painted “Tear It Down” on a statue of Joan of Arc in May in New Orleans? “Surely, people realize she’s not related to American history,” the founder of the city’s annual Joan of Arc parade said, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. A few days before the vandalism, former National Front leader Jean-Marie LePen had led an anti-immigration rally at a Joan of Arc statue — in Paris. That’s in France. But it’s apparently close enough to trigger one of our nuts to seize the day.
Amid the zaniness, I’m happy to report that the art of parody is not completely lost. For politically incorrect spoofing, it’s hard to top the satiric Christian website The Babylon Bee, which makes sport of well-known personalities, liberal churches, liberal media and politicians of all stripes. A recent headline: “White House Launches ‘Make Afghanistan Great Again’ Campaign.”
In a July spoof, “CNN Report: Millions of American Voters May Have Colluded to Elect Trump,” the Bee mocked the media’s obsession with Russia:
“‘The conspiracy goes much deeper than anyone expected,’ Jake Tapper said on his news segment ‘The Politics Lead.’
“‘We’re talking tens of millions of people involved in this secret plot to make sure Hillary didn’t make it into the White House
“‘It’s far more sinister than we thought,’ a visibly disturbed Mr. Tapper said.”
Not as disturbing as what’s served up for real — every day.