As an aside, this Ministry of Chindian Affairs thing is a long-running joke between me and my friends.
The last time I posted about it was in 2014 – and in how things have changed since then.
I thought it was telling – and a bit sad, really – that today, I had to explicitly tag/indicate that this post was #satire.
I had a conversation a while back with a fellow writer about art, where we talked about the tension between accessibility and obscurity when it comes to writing.
We don’t have to be too obvious, she said. The reader should get what it is we want to say, without us trying too hard.
And if they don’t get it, so what? Their loss.
It’s a different age now.
It’s become compulsory to make clear that what is written is satirical, just to prevent keyboard warriors from coming up with trumped-up charges of “fake news”.
Perhaps the writing was on the wall in late 2016, after Trump got elected.
Back then, I noticed how The Borowitz Report’s slogan quietly changed from “The news, reshuffled” to “Not the news”.
Subsequently, the column name itself evolved from “The Borowitz Report” to “Satire from the Borowitz Report” sometime in 2017.
It’s sad when the assumption is that the reader will wilfully misinterpret what it is we are say, so all subtlety has to be forsaken.
And it doesn’t say much about the state of intelligence in society, as well as skills of critical thinking, media literacy and all that jazz.
Then again, maybe it might make for a more compelling reason for why learning literature should be compulsory.
Because if a child can’t even interpret irony, then how is she going to begin to figure out fake news?