April/May 2006 (v8 i6)
Crossing Your Border 1997
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Satire has no place in polite society
by Eric Seufert, Associate Editor

The written word is the most effective form of dispensing information. Writing is straightforward and unambiguous — there aren’t any facial gestures or tonal intonations to take into account, and it lends itself to strict interpretation. I joined the Travesty not because I wanted to deliver commentary through absurd nuances of reality, but because I felt an accurate depiction of reality was absurd in itself.

I don’t write “funny” articles. In fact, I had to look up the word satire before even writing this. The truth is, satire doesn’t exist — it’s a product of our society’s fear that we are too dysfunctional to survive much longer. We have collectively conspired to label every dishearteningly factual piece of writing as satire in an effort to dismiss it. Everything I have ever presented in writing should be taken at face value and as fact — this sentence included.

Why would I write something that I legitimately do not believe? Writing is extremely difficult and time-consuming — would it make sense to put effort into something that isn’t genuine? Anyone who claims that my writing is intended to be humorous is a liar. My busy schedule and rigid upbringing dictate that I emit absolute honesty at all times. And trust me, it’s no picnic.

Imagine how awkward an otherwise enjoyable night out with female friends can become when you have to answer the question “How much have you had to drink?” honestly.

“Enough to compromise our friendship, but not enough to call you the next day.”

Holding everyone else up to my impeccable standards becomes a problem, too. Can you imagine how disenchanted I was to discover that it wasn’t Charles Taylor, deposed former President of Liberia, who was emailing me to find refuge for his contested fortune, but a plumber from Long Island who was successfully scamming me out of $2,000? I was equally disappointed to learn that Barry Bonds’ elephantine biceps were not the result of hard work and genetic perfection but controlled substances. An athlete abusing drugs to unfairly attain an advantage over his peers? The truth, sadly, is stranger than fiction.

When you pick up an issue of the Travesty, you should regard it as you would a Wall Street Journal; actually, in light of the recent economy-draining accounting scandals of the telecom and energy industries, the Travesty probably has more credibility. The point is, I wouldn’t spend a single precious second making fun of my country or university. To me, the truth is no laughing matter.
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