One of the things I like to do every now and then is to insert tongue firmly into cheek and let my sense of humor take off when writing. It’s fun to satirize, to spoof something that’s happening. To put a spin on it, go off on a tangent, and take it to its “logical” extreme. Earlier this week, this story hit the news: Texas wants to allow students at universities to carry concealed weapons on campus. After getting over the “you have got to be kidding me!” reaction, a terrific idea for a spoof news story occurred to me. Then I decided against it, because not only would it be a real possibility, the politicians’ reactions I envisioned would most likely be their real reactions. My initial thought of “what’s the most insane thing I could have a politician say” became “that’s what they probably would say.” There’s a “law” called Poe’s Law: “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.” It can also be put as any parody of an extreme position is hard to distinguish from a sincere extreme position. My idea for a spoof ran afoul of that, and there are other recent stories which make me realize the sad truth behind Poe’s Law.
Over the years, in various Internet debates about abortion, I’ve brought up a fact: 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. The figure may actually be higher, since very early miscarriages may be missed. I’ve gotten sarcastic in my arguments at times, saying “what are you going to do, throw every woman in jail for a miscarriage?” I thought I was being sarcastic, that it was such a ridiculous proposition that not even the most hard-core anti-abortion fanatics would agree with that. I was wrong. There’s a lawmaker in Georgia right now who’s introduced a bill to do just that.
State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Georgia introduced a bill in his state last week that, if enacted, would require proof that a miscarriage occurred naturally. If a woman can’t prove that her miscarriage–or spontaneous abortion–occurred without intervention, she could face felony charges.
In other words, not only would a woman have to deal with having miscarried, she then has to prove that it really, really was a miscarriage to the state. Then we have the increasing number of states who suddenly realized there were Muslims in this country, and decided that they should ban sharia law in the courts, or in Tennessee, a law that doesn’t quite ban sharia altogether, but:
The law is blatantly discriminatory. It doesn’t target terrorist organizations in general, but rather terrorist organizations of a specific religious faith. Under this law, for example, I would not face 15 years in prison if I provide material support to an organization that favors the violent overthrow of government and a return to fundamentalist Christian law.
I might point out that there are quite a number of organizations who seem to be quite intent on implementing fundamentalist Christian laws in this country, and several have made various calls for violent action at times. In any event, it’s interesting to see the sudden interest in banning “sharia law” by people who don’t have a clue about what it actually is, and how it is a consideration in US courts, just like any other foreign law.
It’s the increasing number of news items like this that made me realize it is going to be virtually impossible to write a satirical piece on them. No matter how blatantly illogical, unrealistic, or just outright stupid I’d think I’d made it, there would be someone out there in real life who would promptly show that I was right on the money, or was being understated. As weird as my imagination can be, reality keeps intruding to show it is even weirder.