Those of you who know me well know that I love satire. One of my fave publications is the Babylon Bee which is advertised as “Your trusted source for Christian News Satire.” Their motto is, “Fake news you can trust, delivered straight to your inbox.” I’m often found reposting their stuff on my Facebook page.
Recently, I ran across one of their articles named “Why Can’t We Return to How Peaceful the World Was Before Guns?” I didn’t repost this one because I wanted to be sensitive to feelings caused by the recent mass shootings in our country. Many people look at the Bee’s articles and actually think they’re serious, so I refrained.
I was, however, intrigued by the Facebook thread that followed the satire on removing guns from the world. As the conversation took the usual twists and turns, people had to be constantly reminded that it was merely satire. Yet, as any good lampooning often does, it sparked some extremely serious dialog (not to mention a few arguments). I found the exchange of ideas to be stimulating, educational, and noteworthy.
So satire, at its best, can indeed be fake news you can trust. Unfortunately, there is satire and then there is satire. In other words, any writer of satire needs to be sensitive to the “line.” There is an invisible line that should not be crossed. It’s not always easy to see or determine. The best of satirists are the ones who are able to sense the line and are able to get their point across before they transect that demarcation. They make us laugh and they make us think. If they’re good at it, they cause us to do both simultaneously.
My attention was recently directed to an upcoming movie that is being advertised as “a satire that follows wealthy thrill-seekers taking a private jet to a five-star resort where they embark on a ‘deeply rewarding’ expedition that involves hunting down and killing designated humans.” The designated humans are apparently referred to as the “deplorables” in the movie. Sound familiar…? One character is quoted as saying, “The Hunt‘s coming up. Nothing better than going out to the Manor and slaughtering a dozen deplorables.”
Over the Line
To the production company’s credit (I think), they are pulling the ads due to the recent mass shootings in our country. From what I understand, however, they are not pulling the movie. In all fairness, I (like you), have not seen the movie. But I’m going to go out on a limb here by suggesting this sounds like a satire that’s gone a tad over the invisible line.
As much as I love satire, this one sounds like a real loser. In a time when everyone is screaming about being more sensitive to each other, about political divisions, and about coming together in unity, this release seems to be rather ill-timed.
Who knows? Maybe it will be a lot more positive than it sounds. I sure hope so. Otherwise, we’re neither laughing nor thinking.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]