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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Have we finally entered the post-satire world?

I woke up this morning to the news that BP has requested that the hilarilous Twitter feed for “BP Public Relations” label itself a parody. It seemed, to my eyes, to be so obviously a parody that no one could mistake it for the real thing, but BP felt otherwise. Via MediaBistro:

Twitter VP communications Sean Garrett told PRNewser today, “BP requested that the account holder be asked to comply with Twitter’s guidelines regarding parody. Twitter subsequently provided the account holder suggestions of best practices that are found on our parody policy page here.”

And maybe BP is right to be worried that readers might mistake the parody feed for the real thing, at least after the steady stream of astonishing bullshit that has actually come from the genuine BP, from the denial of easily provable scientific fact — such as the presence of oil plumes in the Gulf of Mexico — to CEO Tony Hayward’s “I want my life back” comment. Because the “BP Public Relations” is full of stuff that sounds no more ridiculous:

Will Twitter please shut down @BP_America – no one can tell if it’s a joke! #bprebrand

Surprised ourselves by getting emotional on the coast today. Turns out the wind blew dispersant in our eyes. #BPrebrand

Money can’t buy happiness. But Tony Hayward did buy a giant yacht he calls ‘Happiness’. It has a frickin’ helicopter pad on it!

We’re paying Google a lot of money to make sure you only have access to the best possible info on the oil spill: our info.

(Hayward does actually own a yacht — no word on its name — as noted in a Times Online article from November 2009 with the unfortunate headline “Tony Hayward makes his mark on BP: Ruthless cuts by the new boss have produced results in higher than expected profits.”)

So I got to thinking about some of the other news this week that anyone would be forgiven for suspecting could have been the invention of the wags at The Onion. But all of these are real headlines:

Demi Moore Reportedly Sells Memoir for $2 Million

Mr. T Bashes New ‘A-Team’ Movie

Elton John Not Feeling the Love After Playing Rush Limbaugh’s Wedding

Boehner Defends Bush, Demands That Paul McCartney ‘Apologize’ For His Crack At The Former President

Elton John played at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding? That has got to be a joke, hasn’t it? Demi Moore is writing an autobiography? About what?

Has the world just gotten so ridiculous that it is now beyond ridicule? Have we finally entered the post-satire world?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • JoshDM

    Boehner Defends Bush, Demands That Paul McCartney ‘Apologize’ For His Crack At The Former President

    Emphasis mine.

  • Funwithheadlines

    We are not in a post-satire world, as the popularity of this BP feed suggests. What we are is in the contiinuing corporations-don’t-get-satire world.

    All the more reason to do it.

  • I’m not sure which surprised me more, that Elton John went to the wedding, that he was invited, or that four women have married Rush.

    But I think corporations do get satire. That’s why they’re afraid of it. There are many people/businesses in this world you can’t tell the truth about without being insulting, but that’s impolite and only appeals to Ditto head types, so you cloak it in humor like a spoonful of sugar to help the medicene go down, and people accept the truth because they are laughing.

  • misterb

    Yes, since Constantin called DMCA on the “Downfall” Hitler clips, satire is dead.

    It’s Godwin’s law: once Hitler has been brought into the thread, the conversation is over.

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