Thursday, August 3, 2017

Poe's Law proven by Mad Magazine

Poe's Law: It is impossible to create a parody of extreme views so obviously exaggerated that it cannot be mistaken by some readers or viewers as a sincere expression.

Originally: Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article.

Satire fails because reporting of genuine views have already beat them to the punch.

I've been pondering this ever since the Charlie Hebdo massacre. That forced me to actually look at Charlie Hebdo material.

It's all crap.

There is nothing funny in it to be seen. And it's not a French vs American sense of humor thing either. The magazine is simply not funny. It's not sophisticated satire. British are better at this than the French and they're better at satire than Americans as well.

Satirists are basically quite stupid.

I wondered, what magazines do Americans have devoted to satire? The Onion is famous. I know that from online. College Humor as well. Harvard and National Lampoon,  Cracked Magazine. Wikipedia gives a list of satirical publications. My boyhood favorite was Mad Magazine.

But I stopped reading that at twelve years of age. It simply was not funny anymore. It was stupid. Although it still has features I like. There are still traces of creativity. All the marginalia throughout, for example, and Spy vs Spy and especially the fold-in back cover feature are all great innovations.

As a boy I admired the fold-in feature so strongly that I copied their style and learned how to do them. You must reduce both picture and text. But how?

You have to think of something becomes something, you must see it and say it.

Draw the reduced picture first and make it simple as possible. It must be taller than it is wide. Write your simple concluding text. Use multiple lines for a simple message that way it can be broken most easily. Then divide the picture in half and separate the picture so that 50% empty space fills the middle. And then fill the empty space with cogent filler material. Move the original text around and add text however you wish, divide words if necessary, make extra lines if necessary take a free hand at adding text cogent to your something becomes something picture. Once you do one of these the rest come naturally and flow with ease. You start thinking in these terms of something becomes something; a teacher becomes tyrant, a school class becomes hell, a soccer team becomes a mugger, a picnic becomes an anthill, a scene of heaven becomes a storm, those sorts of things.

It's an impressive innovation that has endured decades. It still gets me every time. It's still a favorite feature.

On a group flight to Mexico an acquaintance bought a Mad Magazine before boarding. He was bent over laughing so much the magazine was passed around. The whole group was cracking up over this magazine for its ridiculously juvenile satire. They passed it to me. They pointed to the items they found hilarious.  I read through and thought, "Jesus Christ, my friends are all idiots. No wonder they're so easily put in stitches. They're dopes. All my friends and acquaintances are complete dopes."

It was a sad fact that Mad Magazine exposed.

It's worse than that.

On anything political, Mad Magazine is pure crap. It is not possible for Mad Magazine to satire what we already hear and read. They draw their satire directly from news. There is nothing original. There is zero comedic inspiration. They simply hop on the bandwagon of common reporting.

I think this is my last copy to my one-year subscription. I'm not sure. Maybe there's one more. Possibly two. The previous copies were all worse than this one for their political unoriginality. The writers hate Trump, obviously, while their parroting of common liberal talking points is simply obnoxious. A rip off so far as satire goes.

As if your court jester simply reads the news straight.

And conversely as if news readers are simply court jesters.

There is no distinction between them.

Poe's law all over the place.

This issue is softer than that. This last issue is not so bad as the previous Trump related issues, and Trump has dominated their satirical attempts. In Mad Magazine universe there are no other politicians. Democrats do not exist. Such a rich area to mine for humor is left entirely untouched. It simply cannot be outdone. No Hillary, no Podesta, no Maxine Waters, no Debbie Wasserman Schultz, no Al Gore, no Bernie Sanders, and so on. Trump has destroyed their minds and killed satire.

Having said all that, this issue isn't so bad. I can see a ten year old boy along with my one-time adult friends finding humor in it. And that's who the magazine is for, after all.

Here are the Trump related items this issue, if you care to continue. They're not the slightest bit sharp.

Cover. Alfred E. Newman paints Trump in Picasso cubist style. It's rather good, actually. Both hands in "ok" position.  Inside: Our Trump art Gallery.

The Trumpalini Pages:
Changes being made to White House Press Briefings
1) Each briefing will start with the Trump loyalty oath
2) Sean Spicer will soon have a “Phone a Friend” option
3) Correspondents will be barred from reporting on anything said at briefings
4) Sarah Huckabee Sanderes will now be doing 50% of the lying and misleading
5) Reporters will be discourged from making hand-jerking motions after Spicer speaks
6) Correspondents from CNN, The New York Times and the Washington Post will receive special “Fake News Credentials.”

The note Trump Left on Israel’s Western Wall:
Dear God,
Please contact me
with the name of
the contractor who
built this wall.
I have a similar
project and would
like a quote.

Overheard at Trump’s Meeting With Pope Francis
* I can bring my attorney into the confessional, right?
* I’m telling you — Trump-branded communion wafers would be the greatest thing to hit Catholicism in 2,000 years.
* Mike Pence really wished he could be here — He actually believes in God, you know!
* So after I got Miss Universe alone, I … But why am I telling you? You know how it is, you’re famous, they don’t stop you…
* Love the Sistine Chapel — It’s like a smaller version of my New York City Apartment
* I could violate six of the ten commandments in the middle of St. Peter’s Square and I wouldn’t lose any supporters.
* I apologize for the brimstone smell — I didn’t have time to shower this morning.
* I’m glad you replaced that pope Benedict — He was crazy. A real nut job, am I right?
* I’m sorry your wife couldn’t join us today, Pontiff.
* I brought over some new hymns Ted Nugent wrote — Maybe you could get them into this Sunday’s mass?
* A new casino would look mighty fine in the basilica. That’s all I’m sayn’…

Why Jared Kushner Secretly Met With the Russian Ambassador:
* He and Ivanka just couldn’t get their borschit to come out right.
* Trump asked him to squeeze in between negotiating a Palestinian agreement, hashing out a North Korea strategy and signing him up for Hulu
* He was inquiring about job openings in the Russian government, because his current gig just isn’t working out.
* He wanted ot give the Russians a heads-up that his father-in-law is bats#it crazy
* The whole thing was actually coincidental Grindr hookup

A Public Service Poster for President Trump

Loose lips sink ships.
drawing of white house tilted and sinking as Titanic.

Trump Discusses Presidential History.

Picture of Lincoln
Trump:  “Lincoln would still be alive today if he’d just stayed home and watched Netflix that night, as he’d originally planned!”

Picture of Jefferson
Trump:  “What’s really inspiring about Thomas Jefferson is his childhood in Las Vegas where his father was a part-time blackjack dealer!”

Picture of Washington
Trump:  “Washington never once flew on Air Force One — he didn’t trust air travel!”

Picture of Nixon
Trump:  “Nixon hated CNN and other fake news outlets — that’s why he always tweeted about them!”

The Stupider Six
Surprises in Ivanka Trump’s Book

1) She mistakenly thinks she’s third in line to the Presidency
2) Her first word as a baby? “Bankruptcy”
3) Many of the book’s “inspirational quotes” attributed to famous women are actually old Pepsi slogans.
4) Even she voted for Hillary.
5) She only started dating Jared Kushner because she thought he was the guy from the Subway ads.
6) Ivanka feels so strongly about opportunities for women, she insisted on a female ghostwriter.

The Madropolitan Museum of Art
The Trump Collection 2017

Trump Crosses the Delaware
Trump as Washington, Bannon and Ivanka behind him, various other administration officials rowing, poling, fretting, boat approaching a waterfall.

The Blue Spokes-Boy
Spicer as Blueboy standing next to American flag, White House seal behind his head.

Arrangement in Gold and Black #1
Melania Trump as Whistler’s Mother

Jared Kushner: The Birth of Treason
Jared naked as Venus, Two administration officials as angels blowing the shell toward the shore, Trump receiving Venus holding an outstretched printed cloth.

Kellyanne: Dancing Around the Truth
Kellyanne as balerina grinning toward the viewer, stylized after Edgar Degas’ End of the Arabesque

Girl with the Really Expensive Line of Earrings
Ivanka as Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with Pearl Earring

Donald’s World
Donald Trump in golf clothes holding ball and club, Mar-a-Lago in background as Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World

Mad Fold-In back cover
picture of surgeons surrounding a patient locked onto an operating table, with assistants mixing hazardous materials on a small table and moving tanks of gas.

There are always winners and losers when fundamental changes are made in Congress by Federal Directives, losers suffer as benefits go to all the victors

Fold to connect B arrows to A arrows so the center portion is eliminated to reveal a simpler picture and new message derived from original text. The oddly shaped walls of the room form a coffin and the text changes to “Funeral Directors.”


Mumpsimus said...

Chip: I hope you've seen this Mad Magazine parody from the great early years of the National Lampoon.

edutcher said...

2 points to consider - satire is hard, that's why very few people do it at all well. If you aren't willing to go after everybody, it fails because it's biased.

Second, Moslems are insane. They are so weak and impotent, they think everything is a shot at them. Winston Churchill once compared Islam in men to rabies in dogs.

I hope that clears things up.

William said...

The meeting with Pope Francis had some good stuff, but the rest was predictable......Would it be even possible for a humorist (the professionals) to make fun of the ineptitude and frothiness of Trump haters. They're easy targets but pass unmolested by the comics. I have never heard a joke directed at Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters. ......I recently saw an interview with Sarah Silverman, the comedian ho was recently good looking. She was talking about the PC crowd on college campuses. Without irony, she said that for the past fifty years college students have been right about the important social issues so she was reluctant to criticize them.....Who will guard the guardians and who will mock the dense comics?

chickelit said...

Poe's Law. Now we know