People shouldn’t go broke at Christmas, so I am doing my part to help you all out by providing the perfect gift. For a mere $2.99 you can download the surefire hit novel of the season: Dirty Laundry. Dirty Laundry is a bit of media satire written by yours truly. From the not wholly adequate product description:
CF Stone is a columnist for a well-regarded but not well-read Washington DC newspaper. After having written a column that has all but guaranteed him a Pulitzer he runs into blogger and all-around gadfly Darius Gilbert, who lets him onto a story that will guarantee them a place in history next to Woodward and Bernstein. Stone goes undercover in order to expose a right-wing plot to bring down the American government. Stone dreams of the accolades that he will receive after publishing his expose of the ultimate manifestation of political extremism in the United States – that is if they don’t find out who he is first.
You’ll especially love the antics of Gilbert, the gay, Irish blogger who has an unhealthy obsession with a former candidate for high office.
Even if you don’t own a Kindle, the Kindle app is available on just about any device that you use to read this very blog.
A slight content warning: the book isn’t quite G-rated, but it’s a solid PG. Some salty language is employed, but it’s not Pulp Fiction.
I’m doing this all on my own, so please spread the word around if you can. I’ll also be launching a webpage – paulzummo.com – to help promote the book and also to serve as a platform on other random musings.
Last night I posted a link to this brilliant bit of satire about internet snark. Here’s a taste:
Hey, 2005? Your meme is calling. Get into the weeds. Shorter generic liberal blogger: I’m angry and don’t understand syntax. Teh gay, it burns!… The stupid, it burns. There, fixed. Awesome sauce, the Villagers have held their grand powwow and declared that all the Very Serious People must use Abundant Capital Letters to convey irony. Line of dialogue from The Simpsons during the Clinton era.
That gerund-employing, chain-of-modifiers-involving, consumer-items-invoking, would-be rant directed at middle-class liberals? Meh. Just breathtakingly meh. Worst. Recycled. Gimmick. Ever.
Further useful phrases. Stay classy, concern troll! A smart take on entitlements “reform.” That whole coherence thing? Whatever. Smackdown. Beatdown. At a time when [minor incident involving identity politics] and [another minor incident involving identity politics] and [another minor incident involving identity politics], why behave “reasonably ” regarding [another minor incident involving identity politics that is in no way the responsibility of the person being addressed]?
It is easy to rely on snark as a means of dismissing other viewpoints, I might be guilt of occasionally employing snark as a rhetorical weapon. Yet it can be overused, and writers who use snark as a rhetorical crutch can choke on their own nastiness to the point that it becomes a bore to read them.
As if to demonstrate this point comes this piece from Think Progress titled “We Could End Homelessness With The Money Americans Spend On Christmas Decorations.” The post itself is not intensively snarkish, although substantively its premise is absurd, as aptly demonstrated by Stacy McCain. The comments to the Think Progress piece, on the other hand, are a virtual wasteland of snark. A sampling:
how dare TP open a front in the war on christmas by using christmas as a way to do christian things instead of engaging in celebration!
Hahaha… how dare they indeed. Who do they think they are Fox News!
I wonder which one Jesus would really like for his birthday?
the real Jesus or supply side Jesus?
If those of us who love and admired Jesus just lived and loved Jesus this would be a moot discussion.
To be fair, there are people who left meaningful and more insightful comments. Also, snarkiness is certainly not endemic solely to the left. But look at how those responses basically dehumanize and debase people who might have different viewpoints. They display obvious disdain towards Christians and our supposed hypocrisy for hanging Christmas lights as though we are not also devoting time, talent and treasure to help the homeless. It’s an easy way to demonstrate one’s moral and intellectual superiority without actually addressing the issue.
On the other hand, while snark can be overused, there is a role for humor and light-heartedness in our communications. The flipside of the snarksters are those dour individuals who are under the impression that laughter is a mortal sin. Seriously – there are people who point out the lack of bible passages referring to Jesus laughing as positive proof that he never laughed, and as such neither should we. One wonders what other human activities not attributed to Jesus in the Scriptures these literalists also forgo, but we’ll leave that one to the imagination.
Sure, some topics merit nothing but serious discussion, but the perpetually straight-laced and humorless are frankly tedious. I know Rush Limbaugh is not everyone’s cup of tea, even for those on the right, but one of the primary reasons – if not the primary reason he has been as successful as he has is that he is able to treat political topics with humor. Contrary to popular belief he doesn’t just go on the air and scream into a microphone. And as his show has aged his satire has grown sharper. If Limbaugh just went on the air and day after day just ranted and raved unhumorously, he would not have 20 million listeners. Okay, he might have ten million listeners, but he still wouldn’t be as popular. Similarly, Mark Steyn is able to get away with publishing columns full of doom and gloom because he does so with a sharp wit that prompts the reader to laugh and cry at the same time. Glenn Beck is at his most enjoyable when he’s not going off about Agenda 21 but instead when he’s simply satirizing some bit of liberal sillyness. I think one of the reasons MSNBC is so unwatchable – other than its decided left-wing slant – is that most of the on-air talent lacks that element of light-heartedness and humor.
It’s hard to distinguish between snark and humor, and at times they are in fact indistinguishable concepts. In the end, one can be satirical without necessarily being nasty, a concept obviously foreign to some of the followers of “Think” Progress.
(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)
(AoftheAP) Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2012 Summer Olympics, President Barack Obama announced that, while he was pleased with the sportsmanship and sense of fair play exhibited by all the U.S. athletes, he was disappointed at the level of their success.
“Let me be clear. The Olympics are so much more than mere winning and losing. I believe, and there are many who think as I do, that the Olympics are about fairness, about a cooperative spirit. I think what we as a nation ought to be asking ourselves is, what kind of country do we really want? The way I see it, and again, the way so many others around the world see it as well, is that what you have here…
“Look it, the United States took home 104 total medals. That’s more than the bottom 45 or 46 nations combined – not including those countries that didn’t even receive one medal. The United States took home 46 gold medals – that’s more than all but 3 countries’ – our good friends from China, Russia and Great Britain – total medal counts. Think about how unfair that is. For example, our country received 46 gold medals, while Germany received a total of only 44 medals – gold, silver and bronze combined. The way I see it, the U.S. took too many medals.
“So, in order to make this more fair, I’m issuing an Executive Order this morning declaring that the US Olympic Team will redistribute up to 75% of their medals to nations who received very few, or none at all. I think it’s okay that we keep some of the medals, just not all of them. And I urge our good friends from China and Russia to consider doing the same. What I’m not proposing here is unilateral dismedalment, which I’m sure my critics will accuse me of doing. I’m doing this in the spirit of cooperation and fairness, the sort of values that the Olympics, and our nation, are built upon.
“I think most people would agree, that we ‘won’ those medals because so many others ‘lost’. As proud as I am at the effort and hard work put forth by our nation’s athletes, I just have to say to them, listen – you didn’t win that. Somebody else…made that happen. And that ‘somebody else’ happens to be nearly all the other nations of the world, who just didn’t have the same opportunities, the same quality roads and bridges, which obviously did not lead to equitable outcomes. This Executive Order seeks to remedy that.”
(Cross-posted at Acts of the Apostasy)
(AoftheAP) Attendees at the Call-to-Action National Conference, held earlier this month in Milwaukee, were treated to a special announcement that brought cheers and tears of joy: the apparition of “St.” Martin Luther, who had appeared to an Omaha woman over a period of seven years, has been designated as “worthy of belief” by the CTA Board of Directors.
Marjoram Fennel, a former catechist in the Archdiocese of Omaha, was warmly accepted by the CTA crowd, as she spoke to them about whom she calls her “special friend”. “At first I thought I was seeing things, or going crazy,” she explained. “But I soon discovered that we shared much in common, and his messages to me were comforting and uplifting.”
She was grateful to the Board for their pronouncement. Fennel told the crowd about the apparition’s circumstances. Continue reading
There has been much discussion regarding the unsustainability of national entitlement programs – specifically, Social Security and Medicare. These programs are either a) dangerously underfunded; b) out of money; or c) figments of all our imaginations. We can eliminate (c), unfortunately. Which leaves us with varying proportions of (a) and (b), depending on the time of day, wind direction and particular news network reporting the issue.
Current political circumstances dictate that these programs remain untouched by the scalpel-wielding budget writers. Suggesting cuts in disbursements from any of these tax-payer supplied ATM’s would be political suicide, and the last thing any elected official is prepared to do, is to take the knife intended for an opponent’s back, turn it on themselves and slide it neatly between their third and fourth ribs. Additionally, newly elected conservatives, who ran on promises of curbing spending and reducing the size of our bloatocracy, are trying to maintain their footing in the quagmire of political compromise, with a nervous eye on their calendars, recognizing that the summer of 2012 will be soon be upon them. Thus, few, if any, politicians will recommend increasing tax-payer contribution levels to these programs.
Instead, our legislators have done what they do best – they have rolled up their sleeves, sat down to serious business and played “trim the fat off the fat side of the fat” with the budget, which affords them the luxury of appearing engaged without angering any particular large financial donor group. Since each political party controls one house of Congress, it’s not surprising that stalemates and gridlock clog up Capitol Hill. Normally, I applaud such a condition. The less legislation that gets enacted, generally speaking, the better off the populace remains. However, our present circumstances require swift action. There is no time to waste.
Which brings me to my modest proposal. It will require no reduction in Social Security payments, or Medicare coverage; nor will it demand an increase in taxes of any sort, to anyone. Furthermore, my proposal will help propel the “green power” agenda forward, for what it’s worth, as well as ease the burden on middle class America. The final result will be a return to solvency of the aforementioned entitlement programs, and place our great nation back on the road to prosperity and security for all its inhabitants. Continue reading
As a person who has voted for a Republican, I am a fascist. As you may know, fascists want to control every aspect of people’s lives (and I don’t want to hear any fancy political science definitions to the contrary). With the college football season starting tonight and professional football starting a week from now, it is the perfect time to consider the ethical approach Catholics must take towards professional football. I have attempted this once before, but like Cassandra, no one really listened to my wise teachings. Therefore, I must witness once again by examining afresh all the professional football teams in light of Catholic teaching in order to determine whether Catholics may root for them while avoiding the fires of hell.
I finally returned to internet connectivity this week, which has meant catching up on news & blogs I have neglected. Part of this “reconnecting” included denying a facebook friend request from someone I never heard of-only to find out that this someone was a fake online persona created in the Catholic Fascist’s attempt at satire. Having looked over all of the posts there, I was struck by how eerily similar the site was to another parody group blog-The Spirit of Vatican II.
Both blogs employed a host of satirical characters with enough resemblance to real life to make laugh (I think whoever thought of danmclockinload deserves a guest post on TAC) at first, both got roaring laughter from their own partisans-and neither blog was funny after a few days.
Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him, as the new ambassador to the Holy See. The secular media and Catholic Left has been hailing Mr. Diaz as a Rahner scholar and “pro-life” Democrat. Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine, who recently claimed that Obama is not pro-abortion, has praised Mr. Diaz for being a Latino, in addition to being a “faithful” Catholic and for receiving a degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey had this to say about Mr. Diaz’s Latino and theological credentials [emphasis mine]:
“He is a strong proponent of the necessity of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural [I guess we need priestesses to be more multi-cultural], to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith [sounds too much like a living, breathing constitution]. Born in Havana, Cuba [Being born in Havana, Cuba is a good start in creating his Latino credentials.], he is a leading Hispanic theologian in United States.”
Courtesy of the most reliable source for news on the net, the Onion. You know, the odd thing is that I have seen stranger Congressional hearings. It is hard to satirize Congress. Rather like attempting to satirize chaos. An institution has to have some standards before satire is effective.