Tag Archives: satire

The bureaucratic solution to a problem

Sometimes satire is very close to the truth. Take this piece from The Shovel – Liberal Party Commits To Having 50% Women In Seats Shown On Camera By 2025:


Tony Abbott says his party is serious about the advancement of women, and has set an ambitious target to have half of all seats shown on TV filled by women within five years.

“We are deeply committed to giving the impression that a high proportion of Liberal MPs are women,” Mr Abbott said.

“These are plum seats – not just any old seats. They’re right behind where the men and Julie Bishop stand when they’re giving a speech, so it’s not just a token gesture”.

He said women had an important role to play in the party. “The party’s women are crucial for the Federal Budget, for example. They’re on screen for the entire length of the budget speech, which is beamed to millions of Australians. They feature on the front page of the nation’s newspapers”.

A Liberal Party spokesperson said there was still work to be done to meet the target. “At the moment women make up 20% of Liberal MPs, and around 45% of those on camera, so we’re not quite there yet”.

So often on issues like these bureaucrats are interested only in appearances – not correcting the problem. This reminds me very much of the approach taken by Human Resources bureaucrats in dealing with the issue of laboratory safety in my earlier life when I was employed. They talked a lot about “signage.” To them the way to resolve (or appear to resolve) a safety issue was to put up a lot of signs!

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News media – telling us how to think

OK – this is satire and as with all satire the parallels are not completely equal. But it does illustrate what I feel about the widespread pathetic reporting of the Ukrainian events. It’s as if we are bing told how to think – without any exposure to real facts. And it disrespects the innocent victims of such events by effectively covering up their tragic situation.
Thanks to Fort Russ: Edward R. Murrow, reporting from London, has no idea who’s dropping the bombs.


Child with doll after V-2 explosion. Uncertain which side launched the V-2

Satire written — or compiled (!) by Tom Winter

London has been suffering bombs and incendiaries now for over a year. CNN finally published a newsreel of the shelling in London, but put a crawling text across it saying “Uncertain the source of the bombardments.” NPR sent Corey Flintoff to London, who confirmed that London was under the bombs, but could not tell us who was dropping them. Later he telephoned from Kiev, and spoke with a woman in London who didn’t know where the bombardment was coming from either.

Amnesty International said over the weekend that both British and German forces have been responsible for war crimes, and also accused Britain of “fuelling” the crimes.

As for the continuing blasts, it was unclear who had opened fire, though the explosions happened well inside territory controlled by British army and its home forces. “Over the last 24 hours, there was also shelling – the shelling of a cultural center in London. We condemn that shelling that cost at least six lives, and we express our condolences to the families of the victims. It’s, again, too early to determine responsibility for the shelling, but we call for a full and transparent investigation.”  said Cordell Hull’s spokeswoman.

A war correspondent Sasha Upchuk has been hospitalized with a wound from one of the explosions. When asked which side he thought the bombs came from, he said it was impossible to tell.

The Wall Street Journal reported some of the carnage in London “But they told us they wouldn’t bomb London, they told us!” one woman said, in reference to Germany’s pledge to avoid using heavy weaponry on residential areas. “It’s a total nightmare,” said another neighbor as she emerged from the mangled entryway to the apartment blocks. Many of its windows had been shattered in the blast.

The whistling of shells around noon local time pierced the summer silence that has descended on the city, which tens of thousands of people have fled in recent weeks.

There was no immediate confirmation of who had fired the shells, but neighbors and other Londoners blamed German forces, speculating that their intended target was the regional airbase right next door.

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The problem of “Fact-Resistant Humans”


OK, this is satire so don’t take it literally. But this article in The New Yorker makes a good point – Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans.

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.

“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”

More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”

While scientists have no clear understanding of the mechanisms that prevent the fact-resistant humans from absorbing data, they theorize that the strain may have developed the ability to intercept and discard information en route from the auditory nerve to the brain. “The normal functions of human consciousness have been completely nullified,” Logsdon said.

While reaffirming the gloomy assessments of the study, Logsdon held out hope that the threat of fact-resistant humans could be mitigated in the future. “Our research is very preliminary, but it’s possible that they will become more receptive to facts once they are in an environment without food, water, or oxygen,” he said.

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Therapeutic ranting

Book review: The Atheist Camel Rants Again!: more arguments and observations from the atheist front by Bart Centre.

Price: US$10.71; NZ$20.60
Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (May 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1460933915
ISBN-13: 978-1460933916

Personal passion does wonders for one’s writing. Mind you, passion is also polarising. Not everyone is going to love what you say, even though you say it forcefully and colourfully.

I am sure this is the case with Dromedary Hump’s latest book The Atheist Camel Rants Again! But that is part of what makes the book so good – for some of us at least.

The book is well named – it is a rant. But a colourful, humorous and soul-enhancing rant which will appeal to atheists and other free-thinkers. It was not meant to appeal to those who Centre satirically calls the “theologically deluded.” Nevertheless, I am sure there are some more open-minded religious people who will appreciate the humour and colour. In fact these people will probably find a lot they can identify with as they must sometimes despair at the stupidity reached by their more militant and strident co-religionists.

Like his earlier book, this one is a collection of 105 lively blog posts. They are each only about 2 pages long – which makes the book easy to dip into. You can read what you want, when you want, depending simply on what strikes your mood at the time.

In my review of his previous book (see The Atheist Camel Chronicles) I said that when Centre “calls a spade a spade” he “cleverly implies it might actually be a bloody big shovel.” Well he has lost none of that eloquence. Or humour. The satire and cynicism is just as biting.

Theist stupidity

Just as well, because there is still a lot of stupidity out there.  In “Pity the Persecuted Christians,” for example, he describes how some religious leaders:

“make it sound as though Christianity is undergoing a veritable Inquisition. . . .They cannot differentiate between their right to practice their religion (which is never implied) and the rights of non-Christians NOT to have Christian religion forced upon them . .  which is precisely what they are protesting. By impeding their holy charge to proselytize, convert, harass, badger, and impose their beliefs on others, it is they who are being persecuted. That’s about as bizarre a reversal of logic as one could conceive.”

Right on! Someone has to say it. People are fed up with the arrogant attitude demonstrated by non-consensual imposition of religious “values”, traditions and ceremonies. Centre colourfully describes this in “The Invocation:”

“the sky pilot couldn’t care less if it irks some because he sees it as his divinely directed duty to shove his God down people’s throats, welcome or not.”

In “Religion is a ‘Beautiful Thing,'” he asks:

“is it because religious charity is a way to proselytise to those desperately in need of material aid in an effort to gain converts? Is that the ‘beauty of religion’?”

Again, who else has wondered that?

And on a topical issue of marriage equality (“Those Damn Homos are Changing Word Definitions! Stop Them NOW!”) he tells opponents that “you’ll get used to gay marriage:”

“in five to ten years, gay marriage will be legal in a majority of states. And in three hundred to five hundred years, the Christian churches will apologise for their homophobic hysteria. It just takes them that long to catch up to humanity.”

And what about this depiction of a “Beffudled God” who requires a professional army of interpreters and apologists (in “Beffudled God: Good Thing he has so Many Interpreters”):

“Their God, it seems, is an articulate and confused old fool who has to rely on his creations to figure out and explain exactly what his words mean and policies should be. Liken it to a ninety-eight-year-old senile company founder who is kept locked in his office by the board of directors, and who translate his babble into whatever the board wants it to mean to the shareholders.”

Some atheists disappoint

But Centre doesn’t waste all his satire on the religiously inclined – some atheists also get a tongue lashing. He laments:

“a few atheists who, through their own stupidity, feed theist misconceptions of atheism. Some of them call for an ‘atheist church’ or at least see no conflict with the oxymoronic term. These atheists are the Uncle Toms, the embarrassing mentally impaired relatives of the activist atheist movement who are best confined to an attic or their parents’ basement.”

And later adds:

“On the other hand, if by calling every atheist organisation a church, mosque, synagogue, or coven we all get a major tax break . . .  count me in and call me ‘Reverend.'”

But, seriously, he is concerned about the knee jerk reactions of some atheists to current events:

“Perhaps my disappointment is my own fault, as I tend to credit freethinkers with using the same reasoned approach to all issues and events as when they rejected supernaturalism. More credit than we apparently deserve.”

Well, I often think we are not a rational species – even if we sometimes get some things right.

No one will be surprised to learn that Bart Centre is the creator and co-owner of the Eternal Earth-Bound Pets post-Rapture Pet rescue website (http://www.eternal-earthbound-pets.com/).

I started reading this book when I was feeling down. Before long I was laughing my head off. I had forgotten my own problems – except I was wishing I had such satirical skills.

If you are that way inclined, or even just open-minded and unafraid of satire, you will find this a book which you read through quickly. And then will start looking for his last one The Atheist Camel Chronicles.

But if you are sensitive about your beliefs (theist or non-theist) and can’t take a joke, then I recommend you avoid the book.

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“Climategate” – the smoking gun?

Some of the more extreme climate change deniers, and others who have an anti-science agenda, continue to dredge through the domestic debris of the emails stolen by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia. Their conclusions are, of course, predictable.  Meanwhile, the balanced media summary oif this fiasco is probably well represented by George Monbiot in the Guardian: “The leaked exchanges are disturbing, but it would take a conspiracy of a very different order to justify sceptics’ claims.” (see Global warming rigged? Here’s the email I’d need to see ).

I particularly liked his depiction of the email that the climate change deniers and their allies would dearly love to find. It’s a great satire and portrays some of the silliest conspiracy theories promulgated by deniers. Continue reading