The Death of Parody, the Death of Punditry

three acre wood

Andrew Egger, Sharpie-gate Proves We Are Living in a Real-Life ‘Onion’ Article: What is dead may never die, they say. Except for parody. Trump killed parody.

Never one to suffer a dunking lightly, Trump has spent the rest of his week rooting around for weather maps that appear to prove him right and the LYING FAKE NEWS wrong, culminating in an Oval Office appearance Wednesday at which he displayed an official forecast chart on which—we are not joking—someone had edited Alabama into the blast zone with a Sharpie marker.

None of us can improve upon this magical moment; it is holy high art. Politicos like to sound off solemnly about how this or that momentary spat will be judged by history. Ordinarily this is pure bloviation—history will forget practically all our squabbles—but any writeup of the early 21st century that fails to mention Sharpiegate won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on. As Trump moments go, this is practically a Wonder of the World.

But if this kind of thing is bad for humorists, it can be bad for pundits too. … The takeaway from the Sharpie story is obvious: “the president is a media-addled old fool who can’t be trusted to read a map, let alone operate our nuclear arsenal.” How are 500 columnists supposed to pad that out to 800 words?

The unfortunate result has been that much anti-Trump punditry is simply boring.