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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 17, 2008 / 14 Tamuz 5768

‘Idiot's Veto’ not worth the cost

By Roger Simon


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In 1729, Jonathan Swift published an essay titled "A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick."


The essay suggested that Irish parents could alleviate their poverty by selling their children to be eaten by the wealthy.


"A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout," Swift wrote.


He was kidding. But a lot of people got upset anyway.


This is what satire does. It upsets people by being outrageous, over-the-top and inappropriate.


That is why satire works. Swift wasn't really advocating the eating of Irish children; he was attacking the indifference of wealthy British landlords, who owned much of Ireland, to the fate of such children.


This week, the New Yorker magazine published a cover depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as dangerous radicals. In the cover illustration, they are standing in the Oval Office giving each other a fist bump. He is wearing a turban and she is wearing an Afro and has an AK-47 slung over her shoulder. They are burning an American flag in the fireplace, and a picture of Osama bin Laden is hanging on the wall.


The New Yorker was kidding. It was satirizing people who hold stupid misconceptions about the Obamas.


A lot of people got upset anyway.


The Obama campaign, through a spokesman, immediately denounced the cover as "tasteless and offensive."


John McCain said the cover was "totally inappropriate."


Yesterday, Obama himself weighed in, saying: "I know it was the New Yorker's attempt at satire. I don't think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what? It's a cartoon, and that's why we've got the First Amendment."


But Obama also said: "In attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead."


And this was the main line of attack that critics of the magazine took. Sure, the ultra-sophisticated readers of the New Yorker will understand that the cover is a satire, the critics said, but many people will not. Many people, they argue, will take the cover seriously and believe that the Obamas revere Osama bin Laden, hate the American flag, carry assault rifles and are dangerous Islamic radicals.


And, the argument goes, the New Yorker should not have run the cover for that reason.


But this is what is called the Idiot's Veto: If a single person might not get a joke, then you should not tell the joke. All humor (and everything else) should be reduced to the lowest common denominator just to make sure nobody misunderstands anything.


This would, of course, remove a lot of the humor from life. Shows like "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report," both of which are almost pure satire, would have to go off the air. And the late-night comics would have to shut up. And many writers would have to stop writing. All in order to have an idiot-proof society.


Even if this were possible, however, would it be worth it?


There was a movie made in 2006 called "Idiocracy." It was about an America in which people just get stupider and stupider until, 500 years in the future, all they do is sit around and drink and watch really dumb reality shows on TV.


It was a satire. I think.

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