Friday, July 15, 2016

How not to be killed by Satirists

Last week Wednesday as newspaper readers like me went about our business, checking our lotto numbers, reading our horoscopes, and perusing the classifieds for a personal masseuse; tragedy struck. There, lurking in the middle of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper was a satirical column written by Kevin Baldeosingh, entitled “How not to be killed by Islamists”. 

 Mr. Baldeosingh was lampooning religious extremists who exploit religious scripture to justify their acts. Like all satire, the article was a blend of risqué humour, parody and social commentary. And like all satirists, Baldeosingh didn’t care about the hundreds of innocent readers his article killed because they didn’t share his sense of humour. I barely escaped alive. My uncle Ishmael wasn’t so lucky. His head exploded as he sat in his hammock.

The next day, terrorist leader and Editor, Orin Gordon, claimed responsibility by the Trinidad Guardian for the attack, saying while the loss of life was regrettable; religious extremists are a legitimate target for satirists. Even if the article in question kind of sucked. It’s clear that satirists like Baldeosingh don’t care who they harm as they inflict their 800 word columns of mass destruction on us. All in some deluded crusade to encourage Trinbagonians to think about challenging issues in an entertaining way. Here then are some bullet proof methods you can employ to protect yourself from being killed by a satirist:

Believe in free speech

Any right thinking Trinbagonian knows that freedom of expression only applies to people who think exactly like they do. But there is way of thinking about freedom of expression that can save your life. You will be amazed how paragraphs filled with sentences you don’t like bounce off you; by adopting the mind-set that in a democracy the freedom to satirize religion, or to express unpopular and stupid ideas also facilitates the freedom to practise religion. Just imagine you can’t have one without the other. Like a horse and carriage, the stars and the moon or Sat Maharaj and an incendiary statement.

Understand the mind of a Satirist

Trinidad and Tobago has had many socially acceptable columnists like Pastor Clive Dottin, Pastor Winston Cuffie and Michael Harris. What separates satirical columnists like Baldeosingh from these fine writers is the sinister desire not to simply pander to readers’ prejudices. 

Using a dangerous mixture of compounds banned in T&T, like sarcasm, irony and facts, satirists love challenging readers to think about ideas from different perspectives. And in doing so, make readers heads explode, like my poor uncle Ishmael. If you are ever cornered by a psychotic satirist wielding a book by Mark Twain or a copy of Monty Python’s “The life of Brian”, shut off your brain and stop thinking immediately!

Don’t be a fanatic

In T&T fanatics come in all shapes and sizes; politicians, religious leaders and even foreign used car dealers. One of the joys of being a fanatic is that you get to berate anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you for being a traitor. Unfortunately, fanatics make prime targets for satirists. The best approach is to mask your fanaticism is by using the word “but”.

 For example if you’re a PNM fanatic, try saying, “I know Dr. Williams walked on water but I know he had his flaws too”. If you’re a UNC fanatic try saying, “I know Mrs. Persad-Bissessar raised people from the dead but I know she’s not a miracle worker”. Or if you’re a religious fanatic try saying, “I don’t think people who satirize religion should be killed but they are asking for it”.

Satirists will see right through this technique, but nobody else in T&T will, and they will defend you against them.

Spot the Satirist’s weak spot

Conventional weapons don’t work on satirists. Forget bullets or knives; the best way to take them down is to tell them you didn’t read their satirical article. Or better yet, that you were unaware they were a satirist working at a daily newspaper, even though you have been working at the Trinidad Express for a year now. They will instantly plunge into a crippling depression questioning their existence.

So don’t let satirists kill you. Follow these steps and protect yourself from dangerous ideas.


NomisTT said...

And yet still those same idiots caused a massive jam on the south bound highway protesting outside Guardian.

Doshi Mohan said...

I cant believe the garbage this Boodan guy writes. This guy writes such primary school comments. Is it that the Express is so desperate for columnists. My five year old nephew writes more sensible things. Really disappointed in the Express.

Anonymous said...

Doshi Mohan is a typical dunce Trini.