My first experience with fake news involved a beautiful white rabbit named Toby.
Toby was the centerpiece of SaveToby.com whose owner was planning to cook and eat Toby — unless you donated to the Save Toby fund. $50,000 was needed before Toby would be safe.
It was glorious.
But the best part was that people took it seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that a news crew interviewed the owner of SaveToby.com — who, in a silhouette with a voice disguiser to protect his identity, kept the joke going the entire time.
So seriously in fact that (I believe) this same news crew interviewed a representative from GoDaddy (the website’s host) about why they were doing nothing to take this horrible website down.
Yes, a person who didn’t get the joke interviewed another person who didn’t get the joke, about the very joke they did not get, all to the delight of people like me, who very much got the joke and very much enjoyed that other people didn’t.
And somehow, from that glorious moment of Internet history, we’ve ended up here. Where fake news now does not mean TheOnion.com or Andy Borowitz — it means news that plays into the very worst fears of people who don’t realize or don’t want to realize that it isn’t true. And this time the joke is not just on them, it’s on every last fucking one of us.
I don’t consider myself to be super intellectual, and no one else does either, but my Internet bullshit detector is pretty accurate. It seems like there are a lot of people out there, though, who don’t have the same ability.
Do you know there are people out there who thought The Colbert Report was a real show? That Stephen Colbert was really a conservative news pundit? That the theme song from Team America, “America: Fuck Yeah,” really should be our national anthem?
These jokes revealed the worst nightmare of any blue-blooded liberal, and almost as punishment, the Right has turned those nightmares into our everyday reality.
8 years ago, a white guy wearing a black “Trump that Bitch” t-shirt, complete with skulls and bones and guns would be a brilliant piece of political satire. Now it’s just another Trump rally.
It seems like liberals are the butt of the joke now. We want very badly for Trump supporters to take what he’s doing to this country seriously, but they all think it’s one hilarious joke.
Take a stroll on over to James Woods’ Twitter account if you want to feel your blood boil, but know that your blood boiling is making him very, very happy.
When Trump fired James Comey I about had a heart attack, meanwhile he and others were having a great laugh.
Maybe we deserve the punishment. Maybe it’s our fault for making fun of people who not only didn’t get the joke, but also didn’t realize they were the butt of it.
Political satire has the ability to make the viewer come around to the writer’s opinion by exposing how ridiculous the alternative is. But what do we do when the viewer not only loves the alternative, but they make the alternative ten times worse than what any satirical writer could ever even imagine? Where does this leave us?
What happens when an satirical article titled, “After Firing Everyone, Trump Finally Has Mandate to Continue Playing Golf,” actually becomes reality?