Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Satire or just bad taste? You decide

Gene Weingarten from The Washington Post spent a lot of time today in his online chat talking about this article. It was written by a college student and was intended to be a scathing satire on the subject of racism at his school (think Jonathan Swift and the Irish eating their babies).

Apparently, a lot of people didn't get the joke. The author was forced to apologize and to attend "racial sensitivity" classes, and was suspended from his college newspaper. Which I find, frankly, ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the best example of satire. The story in the beginning about the Asian kid at the racquetball court was confusing, and I don't really see how it fits into the article as a whole. But it was clear (to me at least) from the very beginning that it was meant to be funny. And I laughed out loud a couple times, especially when the butterfly nets were broke out.

But you know what? It was clearly a joke. And the fact that the kid was punished for writing is completely wrong. Satire is supposed to be irreverent, it's supposed to be upsetting, it's supposed to make you THINK about the TRUTH the author is reaching around (pun intended).

In fact, from dictionary.com:

Satire: the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

So, seriously Boulder, Colorado? Are you really that sensitive?

File this one under lame.

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