Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.
Reading about Ed Klein’s new “biography” of Barack Obama, Amateur1, I was inspired to come up with “The Obama Corollary” to Poe’s Law:
Without explicitly labeling it as fiction it is impossible to create a parody of a smear of Barack Obama that is distinguishable from an actual smear of Barack Obama.
American political campaigns have always been dirty, but I always had a sense that there was a line somewhere that people didn’t cross. When it comes to smearing Barack Obama, there doesn’t appear to be a line anywhere. St. Paul wrote:
Remember, in the time to come they will find healthy teaching intolerable and provide themselves with a host of teachers more to their liking who will massage their ears. They will turn away from hearing the truth and turn to toward mythology. You must keep a clear head amidst all that, keep struggling on, and do your job as a messenger of the good word, giving full service.
2 Timothy 4, Gaus
Paul is not talking about politics, but the insight about people surrounding themselves with sources of information friendly to their own beliefs could have come right out of a modern book on the information society.
I don’t know a lot about Klein’s book, and as for whether any of it is true or not, see “The Obama Corollary”. The Think Progress web site has a nice smear of Klein, if you’d like to read it.
The reason that I was motivated to write this article is that with the Republican nominating process over and the general election heating up, I expect to see more and more smears aimed at Barack Obama over the next 6 months, and there are a bunch of folks who will be on a steady diet of these smears, excreting them in blogs, and posting them as comments. It’s going to get ugly before it’s over and I have to “gird up my loins” in preparation, or maybe I should just focus on my stamp collection.
1I understand the title, Amateur, is from an alleged quotation by Bill Clinton, who is described in book as having strongly encouraging Hillary to run against Obama in 2012. Klein also “quotes” Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s former pastor, as saying that he was offered money to keep quiet during the 2008 election. Bill Clinton called Klein a “liar” (pot, kettle, black).