Satire is a perfect subject for today, when we are all breathlessly anticipated which old guy we know nothing about would inherit vast power capable of changing heaven and earth. The byzantine (ha!) rituals involved make it so out of the ordinary that we both believe and disbelieve just about anything that happens over there in Latin.
Similarly, Ruth Marcus writes in her column today, the political parties have made each other so alien and unknowable that what might seem like obvious, ridiculous satire can get credulously reported as fact. In this case a blog opposed to Paul Krugman’s economic theories found a (fake) story about him going bankrupt and was unable to resist believing in it and posting it. And a credible, respected news site’s voracious appetite for more content than it can pay for meant the story landed on boston.com without any editor actually seeing it.
Obviously, lack of editorial oversight is responsible for PostScript’s very existence, the way mushrooms can’t grow without something having rotted. But PostScript the Person (this is a very trinitarian distinction) is also a fan of gullibility based on ignorance and fear. Take this purported North Korean propaganda video she saw this morning, linked to but not certified real by the Telegraph in a blog:
Okay, it’s PROBABLY not real. It’s in fact VERY UNLIKELY. And yet it is glorious at tickling the doubting portion of PostScript’s brain, the part that insists that North Korea’s government might really be this inept at propaganda. And if it’s satire, it’s MEANT to play on that brain tickle, in which case, all PostScript can say is Wow.
And Marcus argues that a similar gulf lies between the White House and Congressional Republicans, a gulf that allows them, and those of us arguing their arguments, to believe just about anything.
The comments sections — rife with debate and true believers on both sides — might be exactly the sort of place we can meet each other and lessen our ignorance about the other side.
Unfortunately, right off the bat MavenUniversity gives us another reason to doubt each other, even in the safety of comments sections. Being trusting enough to learn about one another makes us ever more susceptible to falling for satire:
With so many lies and slanderous remarks out there, it’s hard to actually consider an opposing viewpoint because it’s hard to know when they’re serious.
More reasons not to believe us: CraigMayberry disputes a central fact of the article…
Ruth is implying that Breitbart was fooled by the satire and picked it up fourth hand from some European outlet. Which of course, is not true. I read the piece on Breitbart when it came out and it was presented as satire from the gitgo. While libertal morons are susceptible to being fooled at any moment they are also susceptible to spreading outright lies at all moments of the continuum while referring to it as “News.”
…which in turn is disputed by rtc1 (and a tweet from the Breitbart.com author, as Erik Wemple reported here.)
I looked at it on Breitbart and it doesn’t look like satire – unless of course you assume that everything on Breitbart is satire (not an unreasonable assumption).
Pkpennington also doesn’t believe Marcus’s assertions, such as Barack Obama has made offers to cut entitlements and Republicans profess ignorance about them:
That part about “the substance of the administration’s offers on entitlement reform”…that was satire, right?
I wish Ms. Marcus had mentioned one or two of the administration’s suggestions on entitlement reform, since I am as ignorant of them as the House Republicans. Perhaps they are of the form “we’ll cut $700 billion from Medicare so we can spend $1.2 trillion on Obamacare, thus achieving a negative savings of $500 billion.”
Well, PostScript has no idea what counts as unbiased media for everyone, but she found some articles citing Obama’s willingness to cut entitlements before the sequester and today. Specifically he’s willing to talk about chained CPI, which you can think of as a cut or as a curb of increases, depending on whether you want to believe these are offered cuts or not.
Luckily, both sides can see the other poorly reflected in tedwalsh7’s comment, so PostScript’s going to end it here. Everyone wins:
I think it’s hilarious how many people have gotten on here to post partisan rhetoric on an article about political moderation. Marcus, “Maybe we should have a civilized confrontation and work out our differences.” Commentators “Republicanz b soooooooo dumb. Yay Paul Krugman he never wrong.”