News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gays Invent New Wii Sex Toy, So Blacks Can Have Virtual Sex With White Women

 No, that headline is not from The Onion.  It's from a website called Christwire.

It, too, is devoted to satire.  The satire is not focused on Christianity, but on the wild and zany things that some people believe as gospel and get titillation from that gets reported in the news.   The New York Times has a piece on the success and purpose of the satiric site.  It had 27 million hits in August.  One of it's founders explains the purpose:  “Let’s write stuff to expose how stupid people are.”

People do fall for the site, not realizing it is all a big joke, satire.  The site takes on all the phony and contrived stories about gays, minorities, and all those that gall the living hell out of "conservatives" and gulls them.  In English drama, there is a genre of play called "gulling the fool."  If people were so stupid as to believe those things made up by subgrade mentalities, it was considered fair game to mercilessly feed their utter foolery and laugh at it.  Royals courts had jesters who played the fool to keep them alert to any tendencies toward stupidity.  Gulling the fool was a way of making the terminally stupid define themselves, and one could laugh endlessly at their expense.  It was also a way of defining intellectual classes in society and separating them.

Satire is assuming an immense importance for the Internet.  Corey Heidelberger of Madville Times and I agree on most things, but a point that sets us apart is the matter of who is responsible for libelous and damaging material that is posted on websites.  Corey says the Internet is the "most free press ever invented."  But it is also the most insanely libelous.  Corey thinks that holding bloggers responsible for libelous comments posted on their sites would be an infringement of that free press.  I think that if anyone wants to exercise the freedom to publish, they should also assume the editorial responsibilities.  The courts agree with Corey, saying that the Communications Decency Act prevents site sponsors from being sued for things said by commenters on their sites. 

The Communications Decency Act is part of a movement to lessen the responsibilities that people have to not defame others.  I worked in a time when anything that was false and damaging was published made both the newspaper and the source of the defamation liable.  Damages were presumed.  The Communications Decency Act simply needs to be amended to reinstate financial responsibility for libelous statements. 

But there is a deeper issue involved in what is said on the media, especially the Internet.  Some colleagues who are still active teachers of writing have come up with some stringent rules about citing Internet sources in research papers.  They will not accept citations from blogs, unless those citations are illustrative and not used as documented sources.  Any source that is not an established publication may be used only when the student writer has established that it is a credible and responsible source.  To establish such credibility, the students have to subject the source to a checklist.

This move on the part of professors indicates how much the Internet has been undercut by scurrility.  Most news media that publishes online has changed the rules for discussion boards and comments.  Many have simply dropped discussion boards.  The New York Times and Washington Post require that commenters be registered, even though their identities may be displayed as pseudonyms.  And in a time when the legacy media is having to cut back on staff, many media are moderating comments. 

Many editors have noted that the comments do not generate intelligent discussion, but detract from the serious presentation and consideration of important issues.  The blogosphere has experienced a thinning out, as bloggers who try to maintain some standards of literate, responsible discussion have stopped or severely curtailed their blogging efforts.  The blogosphere is the province of the uneducated, the mental low-grades, the illiterate, and the perennially malevolent.  There is a mental health pandemic sweeping through the Internet that is driving away the sane.  A look at the comment string after a post such as this displays the symptoms of that issue:  people who can't read, can't tolerate divergent commentary, and possess hopelessly low-grade mentalities.  The major symptom is that the offending commenters are incapable of assessing factual statements but can only resort to ad hominem vilification. 

Many of the comments form their own satires.  Just as one of Tina Fey's funniest sketches was in actuality a verbatim transcription of the interview between Sarah Palin and Katie Couric,  you can't make up this stuff up.  All you can do is point and laugh.  And so, the culture wars divide into enclaves of fools and those who gull them. 

It is not accidental that some of the most incisive news shows are satires:  Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Letterman Show.  You have to laugh at this stuff.  Ultimately, that may be more effective than writing laws.   All you can do is laugh and wish that the poor wretches are enjoying their fantasies as much as you are. 



larry kurtz said...

Fascinating essay, Doc. Here is a little more ammo for your premise heard yesterday on Montana Public Radio.

amudhalakshmi said...

everygirls dream!! hahaha and i agree with ef, how am i supposed to be dazzled if i can't

see the pic!? -1 points for that! lol
Sexy Toys

Amrithaa blogs said...

Good luck and keep up the good work,
Sexy Toys

Douglas said...

Another bit of somewhat alarming news today. A recent survey indicates that many viewers of attack political ads don't care what the source is and apparently don't even look at disclaimers.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States