Re: When Satire Attacks

Subject: Re: When Satire Attacks
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2003 07:33:24 -0700

Darren asks:
> I have recently enjoyed a series of hilarious parodies of the "visual
> guides" to surviving terrorist attacks from It made me
> wonder how the technical writers and illustrators who built that site
> felt. Are they flattered by the parody or deeply offended by people
> making light of their (admittedly important) work? Has anybody ever been
> in this position?

I'm torn on this one. I agree that the parodies are funny - a couple of
them are downright hilarious. But I also feel the real site these sites
are satirizing is of value. People DO need this sort of information. Both
for reassurance, and as preparation for the unspeakable. So part of me is
disturbed by these parodies making light of such a serious message.

I work a block away from the building where terrorist-released Anthrax
killed its first victim - I drive by it every day at lunch time. The
entire property around the building is still fenced off, and there are
always police there; sometimes large crews can be seen working there, with
all kinds of trailers, tents, and FBI logos everywhere.

The post office that serves our building is the one where more Anthrax was
discovered - some of its employees were infected. Mail sorted in that post
office comes into our building daily. I've bought stamps there many times,
although now I tend to use other post offices.

This stuff is real. The attacks were (and are) real. The risk is real.
Maybe the only way to feel comfortable around such uncomfortable facts is
to laugh at them.

I'm not scolding or complaining. Like I said, I'm torn. Those parody sites
are genuinely funny. But I wanted to remind you that this stuff, which our
TVs often allow us to distance ourselves from, really does happen. And
some of us are right in the middle of it. Maybe laughter is the only way
to face this sort of fear...

Keith Cronin

Tech writers everywhere are getting laid off, but Anna Nicole Smith's TV
show has been renewed for another season.
Yeah, life is fair.


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