On Drinking Bleach, the Death of Satire, and Friday Happy Hour at Happy Acres

scientist trump

It is Friday afternoon here at Happy Acres, and people in protective gear and masks have just shown up at our door, handing out glasses of wine. This is actually true. I did not make it up. Their timing is good.

On the question of injecting Lysol, Charles Sykes writes,

This sort of thing utterly wrecks satire, because how do you write a parody of a caricature of a hoax about something this stupid? There’s seldom been a time with a greater need for a well-honed sense of the absurd, but admit it: it’s hard to laugh at what we know is ridiculous, but also pathetic and dangerous.

There were few critics who have topped H.L. Mencken’s dim view of political idiocy: “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last,” he wrote presciently, “and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

Today, Trump explained that he was just pulling a sarcastic prank on reporters. It was, in Orange Man’s own words, a “very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.”

Jonathan Chait observes,

In this case, Trump does not seem to be saying it was a haha joke, but some kind of serious prank, in which he would float a completely preposterous idea and see if he could get the White House media to report it as news. The prank required Trump to maintain a completely deadpan demeanor, and to get Birx’s cooperation, and to let the untruth go uncorrected for about 18 hours before finally revealing the gag. Trump was using his briefing on a deadly pandemic that has killed 50,000 Americans already for an Andy Kaufman–esque ruse, with the concomitant risk that his supporters will be killed in the process.