Have you fallen victim to satire? Do you even know what satire is? (Jack didn’t until I explained it to him yesterday, so don’t feel bad.) Do you contribute to the spread of misinformation without even knowing?
Now you may be wondering ‘How do I stop if I don’t know I’m doing it?’ Lucky for you, I’m here to help!
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If you indulge in social media, or really use the internet at all, you’ve probably seen satire. You’ve also probably been sucked in, even if you aren’t like the rest of the world and did your research before you believed everything you read.
For instance, did you know that Sheldon is leaving The Big Bang Theory? If you’re thinking ‘duh, that’s old news,‘ well then you’re full of shit. Because it’s news alright, fake news.
What about the new gas tax? Are you OMGing that gas prices will go up to $7 in January? Well, start LOLing at yourself because they won’t.
Remember when the drinking age was supposed to go up to 25 this month, and all you youngin’s almost died from heart attacks and broken hearts and other heart-related ailments because obviously you drink too much? Yeah, only that never happened, because it was satire.
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Satire is supposed to be funny or absurd fake news. According to Google, satire is
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
The title of this post is satire. It’s using humor, exaggeration, and ridicule to suck you in. It’s criticizing all the ‘real‘ news that report outlandish things about Obama without checking their facts. It used to be easy to tell apart from real news because it would include outrageous or hilarious snippets and quotes, like this one
The studio audience erupted in wild screams and chants of “Aw, Snap!” “Damn Mo Po!” “What the F—?” “For real?” and “Wait…what?”
The above excerpt was taken from an Empire News report on Maury Povich being the biological father of his adopted son. The article pokes fun at the show and the people on it by exaggerating and ridiculing the normal goings-on. And it’s funny. (Or at least it tries to be funny, not everyone may see it that way.)
The problem now, and one of the reasons so many people fall for satire, is that it’s become common for these fake reports to not be funny or outrageous in the slightest. They read like real news reports, and they explain scenarios that are so unbelievable, they become believable. Mainly because the unbelievable has become common in our world.
Like when National Report published an article about a police officer who tried to arrest a woman for breastfeeding, then yanked her back when she tried to board a bus, thus resulting in her dropping her baby. In this article, the baby died. Then they published a follow-up article explaining that the (imaginary) officer had been cleared of all charges.
None of that is funny. Outrageous, yes, but sadly in a completely believable way.
Allen Montgomery, publisher of National Report, released another article responding to all the criticism aimed at the fake stories. Because, rightly so, people were horrified and enraged. However, I have to admit what he said made some sense.
Satire is not required to be humorous, nor was this particular post meant to be funny. Police brutality is a very real and very serious issue.
. . . the most famous piece of satire in the English language, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, chose the killing and eating of children to highlight social injustice precisely because it was deplorable.
The reason this story struck such a chord with readers is that it hits too close to reality.
The people of the modern world need to understand and develop the ability to corroborate information and not just accept information as true without further inputs.
DEMAND MORE FROM YOUR NEWS and CHECK YOUR SOURCES before spreading false information and getting upset.
While I don’t agree with the publishing of those articles, I couldn’t have said those last two sentences better myself.
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In a click-bait, one-click-fueled world, people want things fast. Amazingly and awesomely, humanity is now eager for information. We want to know everything.
But, we want to know it now and we want to find it easily. We are the click-bait generation. We click on the catchiest headlines, often not even reading the article, as was the case with the 25-year-old drinking age.
We believe everything we read because we’ve been conditioned to believe the internet. Do not believe the internet. Don’t even believe any of what I’m telling you. Go double-check my facts with other sources, and then double-check theirs, and then double-check theirs. It’s demanding and time-consuming and sometimes difficult. But isn’t knowledge worth it?
I heard about that $3 gas tax yesterday from Jack. He likes to tell me anything that might make Obama look bad, because he knows I’m a supporter.
Jack: Guess what your beloved president did now? He’s making gas prices go up to $7 a gallon in January.
Me: Where’d you hear that?
Jack: The internet.
Me: Which site?
Jack: I don’t know, but I saw it on three different ones.
And that was enough for him. A quick Google search told me that it was all made up. A closer look at the actual site that posted the original story told me I never had to do the Google search at all.
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I’ve compiled a handy, extensive list of all news sources from which you should double — nay, triple — nay, quadruple — check any information found through them. (And by double/triple check, I mean through other sources.) Ready? Get out your notepads and pens:
1. Every news source ever in the history of ever.
Seriously, don’t believe the internet, or the newspapers, or the news shows. Don’t believe anything without triple-checking your facts. (Most) real news sources try to report real news, but often they are also roped in by satire.
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However, our responsibility to not be idiots doesn’t release satire sites from all of theirs. They know we’re idiots. They know they’re trying to trick us with catchy headlines and devastating stories.
Maybe we should meet somewhere in the middle — the sites can provide a clear “About” section explaining that they are indeed satire, if we promise to look for it.
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For those interested, I really have compiled a handy, extensive list of satire websites. So before you delve into that next juicy article about Wesboro Baptist Church members molesting children, check the source.
1. National Report
2. Empire News
3. The Onion
4. Weekly World News
5. Empire Sports
8. News Mogul
9. The News Nerd
10. News Mutiny
11. Derf Magazine
12. The Enduring Vision
13. CAP News
14. Unconfirmed Sources
15. Sports Pickle
16. The Spoof
17. News Biscuit
18. Comedy Central’s Indecision
19. Free Wood Post
20. The Daily Currant
21. Cream Bmp
22. Carbolic Smoke Ball
23. Call The Cops
24. The Borowitz Report
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Do you think people should smarten up, or satire sites should dumb down? Do you agree with the National Report’s publisher’s statement, or do you think an article about a cop killing a baby was in bad taste? Have you ever fallen victim to satire? To what? What was the best satire article you’ve read? Let me know!