Fact-checking humor

David Sedaris is a humor writer who has a standing gig at National Public Radio news shows.  His schtick is based on his array of personal experiences, such as the time he once worked in a department store as Santa’s elf.  But NPR got burned when it turned out that Mike Daisey’s expose of conditions at an Apple Computer factory in China was largely made up.  And now it has come out that some of Sedaris’s anecdotes–including his  time as an elf–did not, strictly speaking, actually happen.  Sedaris says his material is “real-ish.”  So now NPR is undergoing a crisis of conscience about the extent to which they should fact-check Sedaris’s funny stories.

The David Sedaris dilemma: A fine line between ‘realish’ and real – The Washington Post.

Fiction, of course, by definition is made up.  Sedaris presents his stories as experiences, though the nature of humor is going to require exaggerations, caricatures, and embellishments.

Do you think NPR is being responsible or over-scrupulous?  What is the difference between what Sedaris does and what Daisey did?  Could you propose some guidelines for NPR?

Epic fails

Do you read the mad-cap sports columnist Norman Chad?  His latest column is about the mystery of Albert Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals superstar–who has hit an average of 40 home runs each season with a career .326 batting average–who can now do hardly anything (one home run, batting .196) after being paid a quarter of a billion dollars to join the California Angels.

Chad wonders if the Pujols deal might join his top five flops of all time:

●New Coke (1985): Was anybody complaining about Coca-Cola? What were they thinking? This was like adding skylights and terraces to the Pyramids.

●Chevy Chase’s talk show (1993): Magic Johnson’s talk show actually was worse, but he was a point guard; Chase is an entertainer.

●Ben-Gay Aspirin (1990s): Yes, Ben-Gay Aspirin. For real. I mean, I’ll smear that delightfully smelly stuff on my back, but do I care to swallow it?

●Dennis Miller on “Monday Night Football” (2000-01): I still have nightmares of the former funny guy referring to Coach Mike Shanahan as “Shanny” 37 times in four quarters.

●Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-81, 1999): Hey, I was as big a fan of women’s suffrage as the next guy, but I don’t want some feminist coin rolling around my pocket ruining the feng shui of my favorite quarters and dimes.

via Couch Slouch: Albert Pujols’s California dreams quickly turn to nightmares – The Washington Post.

What are some other epic failures?

A new liturgy

The rumor has been going around that this new liturgy will be replacing Divine Service One in the Lutheran Service Book.   It dates, though, from April 1.  That is to say, April Fool’s Day.  (HT:  Todd Wilken.)  Still, I suspect this order of service will inspire both outrage and the desire to adopt it:

OUR SERVICE
Setting One

GREETING AND AFFIRMATION

A MEDLEY OF MOOD-SETTING SONGS is sung. Stand spontaneously during the final Guitar Solo
The sign of applause may be made by all in gratitude to the PRAISE BAND.

P.    Good Morning!

C.   Good Morning.

P.    Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it. Good Morning!

C.    Good Morning!

P. Give yourselves a hand.
Applause

MESSAGE

Silence for Preparation of the Power Point Projection.

P.    Let’s lift our hearts to God in prayer.

A MOOD-SETTING MELODY is played quietly in the background. This MELODY continues through the prayer and for 2 minutes into the MESSAGE. It begins again 2 minutes before the end of the MESSAGE.

The Pastor speaks an EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.
P. Lord, we just want to thank you…

…because You’re an awesome God. And all God’s people said…

C.    Amen.

P.   Aw, come on now. Say it like you mean it.

C.  Amen!

A RELEVANT, GENERALLY INSPIRING MESSAGE is spoken by the Pastor, as well as a series of ANNOUNCEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS, concluding with another EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER.

MORE AWESOME MUSIC

A MEDLEY OF INCREASINGLY UPBEAT SONGS is sung. Standing Ovation

P.    Have a great week everybody!
Applause

P.   Aw, come on now. Clap like you mean it!

Applaud until the Pastor smiles and signals to stop.

P.  Give yourselves a hand.

Lutheran insult generator

You will need this:  Lutheran Insulter.

HT:  Mockingbird

Put a bird on it, but not a real bird

More Portlandia. . . .

This is more than a satire of artsiness.  It cuts to the human condition:   how we idealize nature while also loathing and fearing actual nature.

HT:  Joanna

The chicken’s name was Colin

Have you seen Portlandia, the TV sketch show that skewers today’s fashions and mores, as manifested in Portland, Oregon?

Nothing against locavores!  Or localism!  Or Portland!   It’s just the pose and the righteousness that begs for satire.  (And if you care so much for Colin, why are you going to eat him?)

HT:  Joanna


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