In my long-running correspondence with my uncle from about 1998-2018, he would occasionally send me articles from The Onion that he thought were real news items. Though that publication did make fun of liberal excesses at times, when it was political at all it mostly skewered cultural conservatives. It was pretty good at being neither, just having an appreciation of the silly and absurd as it played out in front of them. I was irritated and sometimes even offended by them, but I did find them often funny. They did drift over time into being merely partisan, but that's another story.
My uncle was in no way a stupid man. He was an engineer trained at Northeastern after WWII, made enough money to retire in his fifties, and was a Mensa officer in Northern California; once he started volunteering at Habitat for Humanity he was very quickly put in charge of large multiple-dwelling projects in foreign countries, and his men's breakfast group in San Luis Obispo in his last decade was mostly retired Cal Poly professors. Yet he fell for these things repeatedly, and would ask me in outrage "How can you justify this current idiocy from conservatives?"
Look, I have fallen for a few satire news items myself over the years. It's embarrassing, but it happens.
The key item here is that no one thought it was necessary to correct this matter by trying to regulate the content of The Onion. If you got fooled, that was on you.
There seems to be a difference between having the intellectual horsepower to analyze and create with what you've been given, and the ability to evaluate what you've been given--and decide what to ignore.
I wonder if that's what Napoleon was (allegedly) driving at when he said he'd rather have lucky generals than good ones.
To be fair, the content wasn't far removed from what he'd had been seeing on the front pages of the NYT or WaPo. How is a busy reader to notice?
I never got into The Onion. Now, The Babylon Bee...well, I have to say the the Bee has a stinger, that is loooooong, sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrp, exxxxxxquisitely pointed, and has a accuracy CEP (circular error probable) of .000001 micron. Nuclear missiles have much larger CEPs.
My uncle was in no way a stupid man. He was an engineer trained at Northeastern after WWII, made enough money to retire in his fifties, and was a Mensa officer in Northern California;
I view Mensa as an underachievers' club. "Maybe I haven't accomplished as much in my life as I thought I was going to, but I am bright enough for Mensa." As I have been an underachiever, but also eligible for Mensa, perhaps I should have joined. Your uncle doesn't fit my stereotype of a typical Mensa member, as he appears to have been a high achiever.
In addition to Texan99's point that it can be difficult to distinguish satire from what one reads in liberal rags,I'd like to add another point: seriousness. Many on your uncle's side of the aisle view themselves as the Good People fighting the Good Fight against the Evil People. Such earnestness, such seriousness, doesn't leave much room for humor.
After a few years he tired of Mensa, finding that the conversations had a sameness every month.
He could be humorous, but that belief that conservatives were essentially either bad or stupid or both was never far from him. Even when he thought were some reasonable, he expected it to go bad at any moment.
AVI on his uncle:
that belief that conservatives were essentially either bad or stupid or both was never far from him. Even when he thought were some reasonable, he expected it to go bad at any moment.
I was born and raised in true-blue lib-land. Before I got out of high school I was quite aware that some "liberals" were quite capable of letting group affiliation influence their political beliefs- call that stupid- and that "liberals" were also quite capable of in-group versus out-group behavior. Our kind versus not our kind. Call that bad (or something genetically imprinted that needs to be controlled.). "Liberals" were neither better nor worse than others- certainly others had their share of the above shortcomings- but "liberals" saw themselves as much better. Which they weren't.
That was largely a result of being exposed to both sides of group conflicts, such as race and class conflicts. Race: my SW grandmother had her shortcomings regarding civil rights, but I had seen or heard enough in my hometown to realize the North was no paragon of virtue regarding race. Class conflicts of educated versus not-so-educated. At the regional high school I attended, town versus town conflict was actually a disguised form of class conflict.
As far as I could tell before I got out of high school, dumb or bad were well distributed. Myself included.
"Liberals", from what I see and read, aren't. Except for the words they spew.
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