Thursday, December 04, 2014

Poe's Law and the Landover Baptist Church

There's a thing called "Poe's Law" which holds that "without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism".

Or, as George S. Kauffman said, "Satire is what closes on Saturday night."

Context may be everything, but sometimes even that is not enough. Which brings us to the topic for today, the Landover Baptist Church.

Go ahead and check out their websites here and here. The smart reader (and everyone who reads this blog is, by definition, a smart reader) gets it immediately. But tell me you don't feel kind of sorry for some poor wide-eyed "really-and-truly true-believer" sap who happens to accidentally stumble onto those sites.

Yeah, I didn't think so. Me neither.

Two years ago I wrote a post entitled Oh Woe Is Me ... Ten Things That Spell THE END of America wherein I stated, tongue firmly in cheek, what the 2012 election really meant, among them that "my wife and I had to get a divorce since gay marriage was legalized in Washington State and that destroyed 'traditional marriage', the god damn Fascist/Communist/Socialist/Atheist/Islamist gov'ment has put its lousy stinking hands on my Medicare and my Social Security and my Veterans benefits, and gotten them all dirty and greasy and stinky and fingerprint-y", and so on in that vein. ("Humor in a jugular vein" as Mad Magazine used to call it back when it was still a comic book; of course at my age it's now "humor in a varicose vein"...)

Anyway, afterwards I had to go in and edit it with the mock-HTML tags <satire> </satire> -- these tags don't actually exist but should -- clearly marking it as "satire" since apparently Poe's Law was in effect and the casual readers of even this blog were taking it seriously.