Friday, 2 December 2016
The Death of Satire
All hail the mighty man-girl-child-genderblack-wrongskinned-dudewench Godfrey Elfwick who trolled the Guardian the other day with this magnificent cheek-tongued piece of hilarity. Cue the barrage of mediocre attempts by the inspirationally challenged who will now be machine-gunning the popular press with Viz-level parody in the hope of being published. I have no such illusions and bow before the towering sage of our age, for Godfrey truly is a one manwoman multicultural emblem for our millennium.
The whole phenomenon of fake news is rendering satire a tricky medium to work in as it is becoming almost impossible to distinguish fake from fiction. It was bad enough when we only had climate nutjobs, illuminati adherents, chemtrail devotees and vegans to scoff at. Now, even the most outlandish of human experiences could be real. The Guardian, from once being a respected bastion of journalistic integrity  leads the charge into Narnia by stuffing its pages with opinion pieces masquerading as news. Godfrey’s little saga slotted right into their editorial narrative.
So, anything goes, nothing is real, up is down and coupled with a net population change of close on a million a year (650,000 in, 300,000+ out) pretty soon we won’t even have good old British phlegmatism to rely on. You’ll be able to tell people anything and they’ll believe it. Oh, wait, we’re there already: A recent scientific study has found pregnant women who use vibrators are 90% more likely to have a child who stutters. Accordion to surveys most people don’t notice when you replace words with the names of musical instruments. A pizza is a three-dimensional pie chart... that shows you how much pizza you have left. And an Oxygen atom went into the bar and said “I’m thirsty; give me a hydrogen atom. Wait; better make it a double.”
And there’s your problem. What do you get when you combine a joke with a rhetorical question? How can you take seriously a report which reads like an early Monty Python sketch? The surreal has become... a fish; Dali would be right at home. Political parties, ever the opportunists, are working on ways to get to grips with this post-factual reality, to which end Jeremy Corbyn has been employing a stage hypnotist at his cabinet meetings to render his shadow appointees susceptible to new ideas without having to filter them through a sieve of cynicism and mistrust.
Separating fact from faction...
Having realised a modicum of success through this technique, the hypnotist was invited to assist at JC’s keynote conference speech recently. The lights were dimmed, the audience hushed to silence and they all focused on the man on the platform. He took out a shiny gold watch on a chain and invited them to observe as he began to slowly swing it from side to side. As one, the attendees followed the watch, their eyelids began to get heavy, they found themselves relaxing... relaxing... entering a deep sleeeeeeep. But suddenly the watch-chain slipped from his grasp. “Shit!” exclaimed the hypnotist. It took a week to clean up the conference hall.