When Satire is Mistaken for Reality

Recently, I mistook a satirical article for a real one. This seems to be more common in the last few years.

There are three reasons satire gets mistaken for reality.

Reason #1: Too eager to confirm unrealistic biases.

You can be taken in by satire if you have an inaccurate or exaggerated worldview and you are emotionally dependent on finding confirmation for your worst assumptions.

We’ve all seen it. None of us wants to admit when we fall prey to it.

Some group you think is horrible or ridiculous is satirized in a completely over the top way and you want it to be true so bad you accept it and start sharing it as justification for your opinion of them. Oops.

Reason #2: Bad writing.

Not all satire is good. In fact, a lot of it is ham-fisted and fails to identify what’s funny about reality and how to properly push it to the obviously over-the-top point that reveals the absurdity underneath.

Satire that is too realistic, too subtle, doesn’t overplay reality in a big enough way is just not good satire. Sometimes it’s mistaken for reality for no other reason.

Reason #3: Reality has gotten too absurd.

After all the Official Authorities spent months boldly proclaiming no one could get sick with Covid if they received government injections, people who got injected started getting sick with Covid. Some died.

More than once, I saw stories reporting on the Covid death of a vaccinated person that said it “could have been worse” if they hadn’t received the shot.

I assumed these were satire. I verified. They were not.

The problem with a reality like this is you can’t satirize it. There is no more extreme, absurd, over-the-top evil/hilarious/utterly incredible thing you could possibly do than to say of someone whose fate for following your advice was death that it “could’ve been worse”.

The Black Knight in Monty Python at least still had legs when he insisted he’d “had worse” than losing both arms.