Some people are taken in by satire and fake news, but then there’s the opposite problem. I see satirical gags all the time when I’m reading accurate reporting. Our age of absurdity is getting worse by the year, and here’s just a handful of highlights from the last two:
- An Islamic doctor described her therapeutic suppositories that curb homosexual urges: “The sexual urge develops when a person is sexually attacked and afterwards it persists, because there is an anal worm that feeds on semen. What I did was to produce suppositories, which cures homosexual urges by exterminating the worm that feeds on sperm.” (4/24/19)
- A New York university promoted an academic paper comparing cow insemination to rape, and milking cows to sexual abuse. (8/15/19)
- A Quebec author and his publisher were charged by the Canadian government with producing and distributing “child pornography”, because of a paragraph in one of the author’s novels describing a father who sexually assaults his daughter. (The novel is an adult retelling of Hansel and Gretel and contains no pornographic photos.) (1/3/20)
- The president of the United States recommended bleach injections as a way to cure Covid-19. (4/24/20)
- A large movement of D&D players have objected to the game’s depiction of orcs as “racist”. (4/27/20)
- A physician (who worked as a pediatrician in Louisiana, is licensed in Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky, and is now practicing in Texas) believes such things as, (a) gynecological problems are caused by dreaming of having sex with demons, (b) alien DNA is being used in medical treatments, (c) the US government is run by lizards, and countless other lunacies. (7/28/20)
In each of these cases, I checked Snopes and/or other websites to be sure these reports weren’t false or at least blown out of proportion.
I mean, surely the woke culture of academia hasn’t devolved to the point where scholars are arguing that cow insemination/milking is the equivalent of rape and sexual abuse.
And surely an enlightened nation like Canada would never arrest an author for writing things which published novelists write about all the time. I’m of course aware that Canada doesn’t have a First Amendment equivalent, and that a Canadian citizen can be thrown in jail for arguing a crank theory like “the Holocaust never happened”. That’s bad enough: crank theorists should have every right to espouse and publish their views without fear of governmental obstruction. But for writing a story about sexual assault, on a minor or otherwise? That’s a level of absurdity I couldn’t wrap my head around. On this logic you’d have to arrest Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Raymond Feist, and thousands of other published writers — and then mass purge every library and book store of a lot of mainstream fiction. Child pornography consists of photos or videos, that those are rightfully illegal — not because they are “too offensive”, but because it involves exploitation of real-world children. Narrative descriptions are (or should be) unambiguously legal. Jesus Christ. Good novelists write about offensive things. The best fiction is often precisely that which explores the taboo and disturbing.
And even granting Donald Trump’s countless idiocies, I found his “bleach cure” advice too off the scales — I couldn’t, wouldn’t, believe it until I checked Snopes.
And while I’m acutely aware of how anal D&D players can be, surely they haven’t become so pathetic as to be triggered by the concept of genetically evil fantasy races like orcs and drow. They’ve made me actually nostalgic for the ’80s, when D&D was decried as Satanic by the religious right. I always expected it from the right. Today the moral panic comes from the left, who should know better; they used to be the intelligent ones. Honestly, if you’re offended by a fantasy race for not having human tendencies, then you’re in the wrong game. It’s one of the reasons why D&D has other races — to make things different and more interesting.
And so on down the line. Just a handful of absurdities I couldn’t believe until I fact-checked them; there have been many more. I suppose it’s good to err on the side of being skeptical than hoodwinked by falsity… but it’s dispiriting when reality itself has become this satirical.