Here Comes a Satire

The Rise and Suspiciously Rapid Fall of Freedomland U.S.A. - Atlas Obscura

I’m going to write a satire for Newswithviews this week, and I want to warn my regular readers that that’s what it is–a satire. I’ve already run it up the flagpole for my wife and my editor, and they both found it appallingly believable. Well, we don’t want to alarm anybody, do we?

So I’m going to say the Democrats’ insane spending bill includes $20 billion to set up half a dozen theme parks throughout America. The parks will be called “Commieland.”

When I was a boy in 1960, a theme park called “Freedomland USA” was constructed in the Bronx, NY. Tons of TV commercials! I wonder if any of you remember it. By 1964 it was bankrupt and had to be closed.

*Sigh* It’s increasingly difficult to do satire, these days. You make up something ridiculous and almost immediately something even more ridiculous crops up in real life. Especially now.

The fact that so many people find really wild satires completely believable is not a good sign.



A Satire That Got Out of Hand

Stupid Things Christians Do: “My Bible's Better Than YOUR Bible!!1!” |  Fencing With Ink

Some years ago there was a rash of “new Bible translations,” each one customized to appeal to this or that fringe group–feminist Bible, socialist Bible, New Age Bible, etc., etc. And in each of these translations, the whole Bible was hitched up to pull a political cart.

So of course I satirized it. You know I write satires. And this time I came up with “the New Utopian Translation”–the NUT Bible. And I filled it with a lot of wacko schiff that isn’t in the real Bible. I can’t even remember what specific monstrosities I invented for this parody.

Now any time you write a satire, you risk someone taking it for real. This time was no exception. A pastor in Washington State read my NUT Bible article, took it seriously, blew his top, and gave an impassioned sermon on the subject… during which he couldn’t help but notice a lot of puzzled looks among the congregation. After the sermon, a lot of his people asked him “Where did you get this? What are you talking about?”

Meanwhile his daughter, equally motivated, did a classroom report on the NUT Bible; and she got a lot of funny looks, too.

Finally the pastor, desperate to resolve this somehow, tracked me down and called me on the phone: maybe I could tell him where to get a copy of the New Utopian Translation of the Bible.

“Uh, well, you can’t,” I said. “Because it doesn’t exist. I made it up. The article was a satire. N… U… T… nut…”

A moment of profound silence. Then: “What have I done?”

Well, he was a good sport about it: all his fault, he admitted, for going off half-cocked. I was sorry to have put him to trouble, and I have always made a point of it, since then, to craft my satires in such a way as to render them unbelievable–at least on second reading.

But there’s always someone who’s going to miss the joke.