I may be awake, but I haven't booted yet.

When is Satire not Satire?

Date/Time Permalink: 12/16/06 11:10:12 am
Category: Site News

This story is about HostGator taking down "Right-Wing Howler", a political shock site, for printing hate speech. The offending post seems to be where the site advocated killing Muslim kids. The story caught my eye because I blog, and I'm hosted by HostGator too.

The protest is phrased in terms of "HostGator doesn't support free speech!" and "It was only satire!"

I just wanted to point out a few things in defense of HostGator: First, their policy clearly prohibits illegal content of all kinds, including hate speech, spam sites, exploitation of minors, etc. This is clearly stated when you sign up with them. Second, note that I, too, have a humor section (clearly labeled same), also blog, and also state quite a few opinions here which the Industrial-Economic complex might find a liking to the idea of shushing me for. Yet I have not even a warning from the Host-Gods on high.

Really, the cries of how wounded the "victim" is have gone into the drama-queen range. All they did was make a joke!, they say. Yes, "Kill all Muslim kids": Ha ha! What a thigh-slapper! You should be working for Jay Leno. And who could possibly have imagined that it might be offensive to somebody?

I've been seeing a flock of these "political satire" sites cropping up lately on the Internet. I call them "troll sites" or "shock sites". I would like to put a new idea before you for consideration: What if they were lying about the satire part?

What if the ultimate defense of every wretched, psychopathic hate-monger out there was to keep pushing it until they got caught, then jump back and say, "It was only satire!" Because the definition of satire seems to be very skewed lately. It seems like you can justify anything just by calling it satire. Including saying the same thing that regular, ordinary, non-funny nuts on the street seriously believe every day.

For contrast, take the concept of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It satirizes religion. There is NO QUESTION ABOUT IT, it is easily identified as satire, it does it extremely well, it gets funnier the longer you run with it, it makes very powerful points, and it justifies its purpose by angering the Fundamentalists. What's more, there is absolutely no possibility of saying that it's offensive, even if it were to be taken seriously. Now, that, folks, is satire.

Look at the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Now look at Right-Wing Howler. One of these is not like the other.

Here, my opinions on the matter must end, because my site's focus is technology. I'm only touching it because it involves my host, and to some small extent technology freedom. For the record, I'm not saying either side is right. I'm just adding some input.

But I know satire when I don't see it. In the Flying Spaghetti Monster's name we pray, amen.

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