A popular fact-checking, myth-busting website has been in something of a stare-down with a popular Christian satire site over everyone’s favorite topic since 2016–fake news. Worries flare over the possibility that readers will take headlines like this, “Portland Police: ‘We Wish There Were Some Kind Of Organized, Armed Force That Could Fight Back Against Antifa’,” as actual reporting.
Christianity Today’s “Quick to Listen” podcast interviewed an editor of the biggest Christian satire and humor magazine in our lifetime on that topic and what Christians should expect from satire.
The Wittenberg Door and other Christian satire at its best would be like the little boy in the old fable who was the only one who would say the king is buck naked. Everybody else was just nodding about how well-dressed the king was. Well, good satire is sometimes that little boy who points out what we’re all either afraid to say or just overlooking.
“That skirt is so short I can see your soul.”
That’s one of the biting lines in Eve Tushnet’s novel Amends. Kate Havard reviews it. The story is about a reality show focused on alcoholics going through rehab for a month.
At first, it appears that [the right-wing journalist] and his fellow cast members [and Internet social justice warrior and a would-be saint, among others] have nothing in common except for their sustained commitment to drinking and “waiting for the alcohol to eat up the present and excrete it as the past.” But it turns out that what this group has in common is a great talent for lying, mostly to themselves. Each cast member has built an elaborate origin story that allows them to keep on living in a way they know, but can’t admit, is unsustainable. . . .
The addicts in Tushnet’s novel who are really in trouble, though, are the ones who have given up trying to justify themselves, and choose to tell the story in which they are not, and cannot ever be, good.
All satire exists in the gap between what ought to be and what is, and therefore remains a powerful skewer against the shortcomings of an all-too-human church. “The hard and sordid things of life are too hard and too sordid and too cruel to touch them year after year without some mitigating influence, some kindly veil to draw over them,” Mark Twain wrote in a 1905 New York Times essay.
Laura Turner reviews a book on religious satire, attempting to tie together the truth and the self-righteous.
Channeling Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine:
Programming notes: Tonight, on NPC, 8:00 pm Eastern: MR. CHIEF EXECUTIVE MAN (Superhero Drama): Tonight’s episode: “The Legitimate Grievance of the Ant People” (Repeat). Following a string of minuscule acts of terrorism, Mr. Chief Executive Man employs his superhuman interpersonal skills to make contact with the Queen of the Ant People. Learning that the Ant People object to humans stepping on them on sidewalks, he assures the Queen that he will draft an executive order forbidding all humans from ever leaving their houses again. Peace is restored. (Reminder: Viewing of this episode is mandatory for all citizens.)