Skip to main content

Tricked into Paying Attention -- Writer's Poke #393




A Civil War rages on in Syria. Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Golden Globes (sponsors by the Hollywood foreign press) rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the hard work of American actors and actresses, who, for the most part, tell fictional stories for a living.

On my facebook feed, The Onion posted this headline: “The 6 Best Dresses at the Golden Globes.” So, yes, I clicked on it, only to find, without any explanation whatsoever, six pictures from the war in Syria. The caption to each picture was apparently real, but taken from a red carpet picture.


The juxtaposition of the images and the captions was, well, quite effective. 

I’m not sure how The Onion got its name, but when I think of an onion, I think of something which is multi-layered -- something that tastes good on hamburgers. I also think of something which makes you cry when you cut into it, and makes your breath stink when you eat it.

All in all, a perfect name for a satirical paper.

If you’re like most Americans, over the past couple of days, you probably at least noticed some of the dresses worn by Hollywood’s top females. But when was the last time you took notice of the images coming out of Syria? Why do we have to be tricked into pay attention?

What makes satire (The Onion, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, etc.,) so effective? Why are Americans apparently willing to get “real news” from satirical sources, but are not willing to pay attention to “serious news” from traditional sources?

“In times like these it is difficult not to write satire.” – Juvenal 

p.s. Just this morning, I read that a bomb hit a school in Syria while students were taking final exams, killing eighty. Should we feel comfortable in America celebrating and watching movies while parts of the world burn?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota


I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …