On Poe’s Law

Recently on Facebook, someone posted a quote which, on first glance, seemed totally absurd. It took a bit of googling to realize that the quote was intended as satire. And indeed, a brilliant piece of satire it was. After thinking some more about it, I realized something I’d known for some time: The best satire is that which is virtually indistinguishable from what’s being satirized.

Googling some more, I was reminded of “Poe’s Law“, which states that without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, 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 of the parodied views.

RationalWiki has a good list of examples of Poe’s Law. One of the oldest and still best examples of such extreme parody on-line is the website for the Landover Baptist Church.

Which brings me to the point of this tome, the current president of the United States, whose name I can barely utter without reaching for the barf bag. As many of my friends and acquaintances know, I’m no fan of the “orange asshat” (Also sometimes called the “talking comb-over” or “Decomposing pumpkin pie inhabited by vicious albino squirrels“.)

But here’s one reason why I personally detest the man so much: He has spoiled late-night TV for me. Ever since the “Hairpiece come to life” was elected, I can’t watch such great shows as The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. And especially not The President Show.

After all, how can you satirize someone who himself is such a parody? Who in their right mind can take such a man seriously as a politician? How can you read about him hiring a Disney star to his staff or his lunatic tweets without wondering if it isn’t all some big joke. True satire just can’t compete with the reality of the “Hair plug swollen with rancid egg whites“.

We can only hope that this nightmare of a presidency will soon come to an end. At least we all know that now, fewer and fewer people in politics are taking him seriously, while more and more people are ganging up against him. He is the true epitome of a lame-duck president, holed up in his bedroom in the Executive Residence, simply counting the days before he’s hauled away in chains.

Cheers! Hans