Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Satire

Throwing some link love to PZ (who doesn't need it). Seems that Ebert thing was a very poor attempt at satire. He covers the point quite well: If there's no shortage of people out there who say it with a straight face, it doesn't really work.

It kind of reminds me of one criticism I heard about "Good Night and Good Luck," about McCarthy's part in the Red Scare: Some people apparently thought the actor playing McCarthy was too over-the-top to be taken seriously as an actual political figure. That wasn't an actor. It was old footage of McCarthy.

1 comment:

Don said...

I thought the exact same thing as PZ when I read Ebert's confession. I think he's being uncharitable to people. It has less to do with credulity and more to do with Poe's Law; it's almost impossible to detect satire sometimes because there are people out there, and we know them, who say shit that is as crazy or crazier.

The internet has made it difficult to detect satire not necessarily by breeding credulity, but by saturating the world's flow of information with truly ignorant, insane, crackpot nonsense.

Before, it was easier to spot someone satirizing cranks because the real cranks didn't have an avenue to constantly and publicly scream their nonsense. The internet has given all of these people a place to get together and legitimize their strange beliefs to each other before foisting them on an unsuspecting public. That crazy is ubiquitous makes it rather difficult to tell when crazy is only "crazy."