Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Death of Irony

The other day a bizarre Q&A appeared on Roger Ebert's site that purportedly was a straightforward set of answers to questions about creationism. The post was bizarre because it appeared to give serious answers in favor of creationism. Yet anyone who has followed Ebert through the years would know that he is not a creationist.

So, what happened? Had Ebert gone through a sudden conversion? Was his website hacked? Or was it just an attempt on Ebert's part to satirize creationist viewpoints?

The answer is the latter. Unfortunately, Ebert's piece fails as satire. I'll leave it to PZ Meyers to explain why:
[Ebert] presented a plain statement of creationist beliefs with satirical intent, but that intent cannot possibly be scene (sic) in a world where millions say exactly the same things with sincerity.
I think this is why the Obama as a Muslim cover on Vanity Fair a few months back also failed as satire. It failed because nothing in that cover was in any way out of the mainstream of belief for a significant percentage of the populace. The quotation marks around that cover were as invisible as the ones around Ebert's attempt at satire. But in a world where the bizarre is increasingly put forth as reasonable opinion, those quotation marks are getting harder and harder to see.

Is that a failure on the readers part? Or is it a failure on the media's part for allowing all ideas to be presented as if they had equal validity? If you are going to rail about the death of irony then be sure to correctly identify the culprit.


Blogger Sandy Hereld said...

I must be pedantic, and point out that it was not:
Obama as a Muslim cover on Vanity Fair

But actually as the cover of the New Yorker.

3:17 PM  

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