How can you satirize a president who says sh*t more ridiculous than anything you’d make up?
In 2006, Mike Judge—the satirical genius behind TV shows like Beavis and Butthead, Silicon Valley, and King of the Hill, and cult classics like Office Space—co-wrote and directed Idiocracy. In that movie, Luke Wilson plays an average guy who is accidentally put to sleep in suspended hibernation for five hundred years. When he is awakened in 2505, he realizes that the people’s level of intelligence has dramatically declined to the point where he is now the smartest man on the planet.
Terry Crews plays the U.S. President—Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho. The president of the united states is a professional wrestler.
This seems so bat-shit insane and over the top. It’s hilarious in both the execution and the very notion that you would even think this country would elect such a person, even 500 years from now.
Then, on November 27, 2019, the current president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, tweeted this:
There was no caption. No reason was given. Just Trump’s head superimposed on Rocky Balboa’s body.
I give you, the leader of the free world and the most powerful nation on earth.
So in addition to blowing up Godwin’s Law, Trump has now ruined satire too!
What do you do when real life exceeds your nightmares?
There’s a great line in the 1987 film “Broadcast News,” when William Hurt’s character, Tom, says of his privileged, uber-successful career, “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?”
Well, Tom. I have a similar question. What do you do when real life exceeds your nightmares? Or more specifically: when real life is more outlandish than satire!
Trump has really screwed things up for satirical authors everywhere. How can you satirize a president who posts images like that? How can you satirize a president who…
- First and foremost is a reality TV star (let’s never forget this)
- When commenting on what might happen to the economy after the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, he says, and I quote: “I think it’s gonna go up rather quickly. Maybe very quickly. And maybe slowly.”
- Of the coronavirus pandemic, in the early months, said it would magically disappear a few months from then.
- Makes the most non-sensical cabinet appointments
- After a 40+ year history of documented racists statements and actions, says on camera, that he is the least racist person you’ll ever meet
- Says the Bible is his favorite book, but can’t name any verses from it and pronounces II Corinthians as “two Corinthians.” (And to add to the comedy, evangelicals in America lap up every religious lie from this multi-divorced, philandering, self-admitted pussy-grabber as if he’s the second coming. One guy I know literally said that Trump was ordained by God. ORDAINED BY GOD! You can’t make this sh*t up. And it wouldn’t matter if you did, because someone in real life probably already beat you to it!)
In Idiocracy, we have another 400 to 500 years before we get to that level of idiocy. I’m not so sure we’ll need to wait even another 40 at the rate we’re going.
All satire is ruined!
And it’s not just political satire he’s messed up. I have a theory that satire, in general, is forever ruined. Why? Because, and this is the God’s honest truth, no matter how ludicrous a situation you conceive, chances are, this administration has done or said something just as looney.
We all have seen some things we would NEVER in a MILLION years have guessed would happen. So we’re not so quick to assume a clearly satirical situation is actually a joke. In today’s day and age, anything could be true.
I the past few days, I posted two satirical pieces that seem pretty blatantly satirical, yet in both cases, more people than I thought, actually believed them.
The first was an April Fools joke where I apologize to Trump supporters and list six attributes as to what makes them great people. Me. After nearly four hours of bashing them. The acronym of all the attributes spells out IDIOTS. Even if you haven’t followed my writing, and if the acronym was too subtle to detect, I end that essay saying that in honor of Easter, we should change MAGA to mean “Make America Gentile Again.” And I wrote all of this ON APRIL FOOLS DAY! Come on!
I then published a post where I said “Citizen Kane” is crap, and not nearly as good as “Transformers.” Again. Why would anyone, for one second, think I was seriously saying that what is universally regarded as one of the greatest creative and technological achievements of its time in cinematic history, is a worse cinematic experience than the Transformers?
I’ll tell you why. Because when you live in a world where the “President of America” posts this…
…anything is possible and everything is believable.
Also published on Medium.