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On satire

Beth, I think you might be interested in Time for the last post from the Financial Times. The interdependence of kairos and satire plays some part in it:

And if Gawker was a kind of guilty pleasure people enjoyed after the horror of 9/11 had lingered just a little too long, it is a pleasure that has begun testing readers’ limits. A posting in August noted that a woman had been knocked down and killed crossing the street in front of an Urban Outfitters store: “You know we’re completely in favor of anything that suggests NYC is edgy,? wrote Gawker. “But we’d argue things have gone too far when shopping for ironic T-shirts becomes a potentially fatal extreme sport.?

The woman turned out to be an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, which lead The New York Times to accuse Gawker of turning “everyday heartbreak? and “heinous? crimes into “inflection points for irony?.

Much as the outpouring of humour in New York in the 1920s that gave rise to the Algonquin Round Table was a temporary post-traumatic cultural reaction to the shock of the Great War, the Gawker spirit is wearing a little thin in light of a seemingly endless bloody insurgency in Iraq, a mesmerising failure of government to deal with the massive catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, and revelations of corruption on Capitol Hill. “Satire,? said Choire Sicha, “is the most useless cultural effluvia one could possibly produce out of the cultural situation in America right now.?