And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 (KJV)
Some of the craziness is simply craziness, certainly. But even that craziness is part of a coordinated campaign of “gaslighting” – a barrage of nonsense designed to bring down not just the United States, but her great gift to the world. Make no mistake about it, western open societies themselves are under attack.
A report from the RAND Corporation outlines exactly how the “Firehose of Falsehood” is orchestrated by Russia to sow chaos and destroy their natural opposition. It is the best weapon we have to defend everything we cherish.
In celebration of the first decade of Barataria in one week, I would like to present this post from 2009. It is dark, befitting the time it was written, but it is one of my personal favorites.
“The illusions which exalt us are dearer than ten thousand truths”
– Aleksandr Pushkin
Perhaps it’s the chill of December closing in on me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Pushkin lately – and this quote is a favorite. Pushkin was, like so many Russian writers, a man who found nearly carnal pleasure in staring the essence of humanity straight in the eyes and reporting what he saw in a cold, clear voice. Normally, I don’t like translations that seem florid and over-wrought, but in this case it’s Pushkin. The warmth comes in the delight of distilling the essence into poetry, as any true romantic knows. It’s a glow that warms the heart of Russian fatalism, a crackling fire that accepts with a melting smile. It also represents the exact opposite of how we, as Americans, have come to see our own world.
We live in a time made for satire. Everything is changing so rapidly that the powers that are have trouble holding on, the flood of news is difficult to make sense of, and even our language is often inadequate to explain what’s going on. Everything and everyone seems vaguely hypocritical and irrelevant. That’s why the Daily Show and The Colbert Report are so successful.
Shame then that so much “satire” isn’t really funny – or actually satirical.
You may have unwittingly believed a story shared on basefook or some other social media site that seemed true but wasn’t. Many stories written about Rep. Michele Bachmann (R, MN) for example are based on faked quotes that seem like something she might say – but didn’t. What many aspiring satirists fail to understand is that satire is more than just fake news, it has to reveal an inner truth that, at its best, is slightly painful. Also, satire has to be funny, we can’t forget that.