Humanities

In a World of Horrors, Satire is Dead

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The reason why people didn't get it is because they are being traumatized every day of their lives:

This New Year’s Day, Amazon tapped Saturday Night Live alums Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon to host its live coverage of the annual Rose Parade as fictional local news anchors Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan from Pasadena, California. As least some viewers were not amused. 

A look through the nearly 1,400 one-star reviews of the streaming special, produced by Funny or Die, reveal some seriously confused customers who somehow had no idea they were watching a comedy show. 

“I have watched the Rose Parade for over 30 years. I'm so frustrated that the hosts have absolutely no respect for the parade or the entrants,” a woman named Beth wrote. “They seem to be more interested in doing bits than talking about the bands/floats. I would have enjoyed the broadcast so much better without hosts. I'm EXTREMELY disappointed.”

“Way to go, Amazon ... totally RUINING the Rose Parade with 2 inane idiots who thought the event was ALL ABOUT THEM!!” Sue screamed. “(Do you really think fear of horses and depression are fitting parade commentary?!!) First, we muted. Then we missed several bands and floats while trying desperately to find a decent live-stream. Finally landed with ultra-professional KTLA. You might review them to learn how it's done!!!”

And then there was this one from John: “Fantastic camera work, but someone replace the two morons hosting this!!!!!!” 

There are hundreds more in the same vein, though the average has risen to three stars thanks to an even larger number of five-star reviews from those who understood that the commentary was supposed to be awkward and uncomfortable.

I watched the parade with the normal commentary, and I can get why people were thrown off. The Rose Parade is an anachronism. Nobody works with their hands anymore. No one has patience. And to actually create something that, in a matter of hours, will fall apart after turning brown for the sole purpose of entertaining others is so 20th Century. It takes three hours and covers five miles. America can't handle those dimensions anymore. Next year's Rose Parade will be twenty minutes and cover three blocks.


Burying the Heart of the Last of the Hapsburgs


This is the end of a historical epoch--and they're sticking with medieval tradition and they're burying his heart in a separate place. This is the sort of thing that wouldn't have raised any eyebrows a hundred years ago. Today, you wonder if someone isn't going to file a lawsuit to reunite the man and his internal organ.

This is Sexist


Veev vodka is hoping you'll accept the joke here. Unfortunately, it's a transparently sexist and somewhat culturally insensitive ad.

The stereotypically harsh and unattractive Russian/Slavic/Eastern European depiction of a hectoring wife is supposed to sell alcohol to who, exactly? I'm not sure who the target audience is but any man married to a "beast like this" (which is what the advertiser is signaling here) must want to drink themselves into a state of unconsciousness.

When you're using humor to kick down here, you have to remember that there is a fine line between satire and being stupid about cultural signifiers. You're not supposed to link your product to something that doesn't have some sort of redeeming quality. Being smashed, cheating on your wife, and fostering a stereotype isn't exactly the smart or uplifting quality being sought here.

Veev makes a vodka that is useful for your suicide by drinking because your horrible wife is a sexless babushka? Really? And now that means you gotta get a third or fourth bottle for your bros?

Stupid. And, of course, sexist.