Satire retired in the country, no joke | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 19, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 19, 2020

Satire retired in the country, no joke

Any and every form of satire in Chapasthan has been stopped, and not because of a government edict or court ruling, but because blossoming satire publications had to devote majority page space to explain the word satire alone.

The situation arose after people began taking each and every headline seriously, even though said headline was under a satire banner. Things reached a head when, after the publication of an article which, in an effort to lampoon advertising tendencies, talked about a body spray that cancelled gravity, hundreds were injured jumping off their balconies.

All satire publications then decided to dedicate some column space to explain that satire articles were a light-hearted take on events, and at times social and political commentary.

But that did not do the trick. On social media site Facepalm, readers kept lambasting every article.

"How can such a serious publication make such obvious errors? Hell will freeze over before Messi comes to Chapasthan to play," scream-typed one particular reader after spending a whole day in front of the gates of Faka FC.

There were also instances when some readers actually pointed out that it was satire and not to be taken seriously, but they were shouted down by the vocal majority, the refrain being that it was "irresponsible journalism".

So, slowly, each satire piece had a companion article next to it -- often longer than the satire itself -- explaining line by line what the satire meant. But even that came to no avail, because no one read the companion pieces.

Experts put this sad state of affairs down to two factors -- a humour deficiency (when the humour comes from someone else) and Headlineitis.

"Headlineitis is a new phenomenon," said Ratul Batul, an expert on everything. "In today's world, people don't have time to read articles; they just read headlines and draw their information from there. You can tell because within the first few lines of the article you will know it's satire -- fictional country names, etc. 

"But Chapasthanis do have time to write 300-word Facepalm comments after reading the headlines," added Ratul Batul.

Laden Roman, an editor of a prominent satire publication, subscribed to the Headlineitis theory but disagreed with Chapasthanis having humour deficiency.

"It is a strange thing, which I think is unique to Chapasthan. Sometimes you can't tell the difference between satire and real news. A few days ago I read that a group of government servants were planning on a lavish foreign tour to learn how to make khichuri. How is that not satire? Then, I read that transport minister said that Covid-22 loses all power inside public buses…

"Oh, that was satire? See what I mean? I don't even know why I started this. Obviously, I don't know what I am doing," he said exasperatedly, before spraying himself with Zero Gravity and flying out the window.

This article was satire.

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