Apocalypse wow: The death of satire?

How do you explain satire to someone without a sense of humor and an exaggerated opinion of their righteousness? You really don’t. Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket we’re anti-war war films, they were satirical, just like the British sketch The Real Housewives of ISIS was satirical. I am using that as an example because it’s easier to understand what satire is when you use an example of something that virtually everyone hates. For example, one of the scenes in the ISIS sketch is the woman in the hijab complaining that she has “nothing to wear” to the beheading. Don’t we all know that’s a joke, and it’s a form of ridicule. The writer obviously hates ISIS, and is ridiculing their most hated practice. That’s the kind of satire that protests what it’s subject does.

The Vietnam War was not universally hated, especially in hindsight when we can see how benevolent the communists really were (hint: like Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.) but certain practices or ugly actions were. Foremost among them were killing of unarmed civilians and the use of napalm. Joking about such things is ridicule, perhaps the most effective type of protest. The scene from Apocalypse Now has Robert Duvall, a crazy colonel who has just set a swatch of jungle on fire with napalm, strutting around sniffing the air and declaring, “oh how I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” The helicopter scene from Full Metal Jacket is even more evident satire. Matthew Modine is a newly minted Marine who has just arrived in Vietnam. While on a helicopter to his duty station, the door gunner is firing his machine gun at everything and everyone. He is bragging about how he gets them all, “because if they run they’re VC.” Modine is horrified, and protests. “How can you shoot women and children?” The gunner’s joke, which he doesn’t even realize is a joke, shows how calloused he’s become. “That’s easy, you just don’t lead ’em as much.”

Go on, admit it, you get the joke. That kind of satire is impossible today. Apocalypse Now was made in 1979, and Full Metal Jacket in 1987. Underneath the satirizing of what is obnoxious is outrage and the artfulness to cloak the outrage in humor and an audience that still has the ability to laugh…at anything. We still have writers and artists capable of effective satire, but even more we have censors and media protected thugs like Antifa who are outraged only by truth, and cannot express their outrage with anything but violence and threats. Underneath the satirizing of what is obnoxious is outrage and the artfulness to cloak the outrage in humor and an audience that still has the ability to laugh…at anything. We still have writers and artists capable of effective satire, but even more we have censors and media protected thugs like Antifa who are outraged only by truth, and cannot express their outrage with anything but violence and threats.

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

2 thoughts on “Apocalypse wow: The death of satire?”

  1. Is not Babylon Bee and example of satire? Portraying those who are doing outrageous things and thinking they are normal?

    Like

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