Note to Andy Borowitz: There’s a time and place for satire; this isn’t that time or place
Andy Borowitz’s The Borowitz Report – Not the News satirized President Trump’s escalating conflict with Iran today. Here’s the problem – what Trump did, how he did it and how he’s following up on it, is not funny. It doesn’t call for satire or jokes; it requires a serious discussion and a thorough, in-depth review by Congress and by the fact-based media on how this happened and what were the undisclosed “intelligence facts” that led Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to declare that the assassinated general, Qasem Soleimani, represented an “imminent” threat.
Borowitz is the superstar of printed political satire. The Borowitz Report served as my model for Around the Block – News with a Twist. But there’s a time and a place for Not the News or News with a Twist. And right now, with this president and with his Republican enablers, this is not the time or place.
Back in 2015 – 2016, during the primaries, Around the Block was almost exclusively devoted to News with a Twist posts. Just think of the cast of characters to make fun of: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Dr. Harold Bornstein…; the things these folks did and said were so ridiculous, so preposterous, they almost wrote the posts themselves. And the pieces are still funny, years later.
And then, disaster. Trump became president. Around the Block took a short break, but after a brief period of mourning, Trump-focussed News with a Twist posts started again. Because, in the beginning of his term, the things Trump said and did called for satire. But then the things he said and did became more grim, more (to use the current GOP go-to term) “troubling.” And I stopped writing Around the Block for six months. When I restarted satire took a back seat to non-political commentary and observations with the occasional News with a Twist thrown in. I think the current balance works. I hope you agree.
I’m not going to detail all the things that are wrong about how this current Iranian crisis began and is unfolding. Depending on your point of view, you can get all that information from your preferred source of news – from the Times and Post to Fox News – your call. You can read about why Trump relies on (undocumented/unrevealed) intelligence now but disparages intelligence that doesn’t support his positions; why Congress wasn’t consulted before the attack; why the required Congressional notification two days after the fact was marked confidential so the American public still has no clue as to the why’s and what’s; why Republicans in Congress are not weighing in on any of this.
I will only say this. How can any President of the United States who is in his right mind announce to the world, in a Tweet, what is in essence a war crime:
“….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”
And then double down in his best middle school voice:
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”
Wherefore art thou, America?
Or even more to the point: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.