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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 11/23/16

Why I write comedy, satire, and yes, even "fake" news

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Well the Trumpenfuhrer, aka Trumpenstein, has been spouting off all during his campaign about putting limitations on the First Amendment and now I see where "fake news" is under attack.

Let's get one thing clear from the outset: I am not in favor in any way of creating stories of a hard-copy nature that appear to be real news accounts completely devoid of any satirical or comedic substance. Written or spoken accounts of such a nature which have been deliberately designed to misinform people should never be published. Period. They're no good. They should be taken off social media, especially if they include misinformation and erroneous material that appear as facts.

But that is why libel and slander laws are in effect, too. Does Mark Zuckerberg & Co., or the folks who run Twitter or other electronic monster mediums of these varieties fall prey as the police of such "fake news"? Why? How? There really is no justification for this. And how can such policing be done with tens of millions of posts added to social media by the hour? People need to get litigious over such things - that's what civil suits are designed for - hit them in their pocketbooks. Ouch! That's where it hurts the most. They'll stop with this foolishness right away if they have to pay for a hefty slander or libel punishment. A victim of such an atrocity of rhetoric should have no trouble winning a civil libel or slander suit, since loss of some type would surely be a result of such a thing. And when we talk "loss" we're talking monetary loss, for the most part, brought on through a twisted, deceitful, egregious personal attack.

What's really at the bottom of it all, though, I do believe, is that the current Republican-heavy Congress and "The Donald" want to get rid of a longstanding literary art form - satire. They don't like it. They don't like how it works. It's a bold and brazen way to wake up people by saying, "You may think this is funny, but there's something very wrong here."

Yes, I think the real culprit behind all this "fake news" scuttlebutt is some omen - call it a symptom, a harbinger, or whatever - that the Big 'R' guys, those old fat cats who care only about other fat cats - want to finagle with our First Amendment. They'll use the "fake news" angle to take the first slice from our most important safeguard to keeping a free and open society.

Well-written literary fake news., comedy, and satire are so filled with absurdity, nonsense, hyperbole and utter malarkey that nobody sees it as anything other than BS. Like it or hate it, even Benjamin Franklin spent some time writing the stuff.
Well-written literary fake news., comedy, and satire are so filled with absurdity, nonsense, hyperbole and utter malarkey that nobody sees it as anything other than BS. Like it or hate it, even Benjamin Franklin spent some time writing the stuff.
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I write fake news, sure. But it's always so outrageous, so filled with ridiculousness and hyperbole that even an elementary school student would see that it is nothing more than a bogus story. A joke. A spoof. A lampoon. Satire has a place in literature. Some of our greatest American writers used it - like Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Tom Wolf, and Mark Twain - just to name a few. Even Benjamin Franklin penned a satiric fable, twisted tale, or outrageous farce or two - probably to break the stress of being a statesman or to collect his thoughts on how his new invention would come together. Some say that Franklin, an incorrigible jokester, was the mastermind behind Daylight Savings Time, and he even proposed this get-dark-early dread as a joke. A hoax. A joke. He never really meant for DST to be implemented, according to historical reports. That's satire, friends - at its best!

And those National Lampoon writers of old, like P. J. O'Rourke, Chris Miller, and Michael O'Donoghue, they wrote some dandies. Chelsea Handler's joke writers do the same, as did David Letterman's and Jay Leno's skit-and-joke-writing staffs. Yeppers, a lot of their jokes could fall prey to that ugly name "fake news" too. And let's just throw into the mix every skit writer who's ever worked at Saturday Night Live. Yes, friends and neighbors, to a stoic, rigidly stolid, humorless, authoritarian regime, we could be left watching only Lifetime-like movies, along with children's cartoons, where the Evangelical empire hooks our future entertainment as third party monitor.

Some people write nothing but fake news, comedy and satire. They do it for kicks. And there's some money in the game, too, so let those fuzzy dice roll, man.

I write comedy and satire as an outlet. It's really not my main interest and it's certainly not my forte', I don't think. But just like a gym rat changes up the exercise routine by using a treadmill one week, then switching to the stationary bike the next, and weights the week after that, I sometimes pen comedy and satire spoofs. I like it. I do it for me. Not you. If what I write makes me laugh, then hey, it just might make you do the same. At least smile, I hope. And I write op-eds. hard-copy news, poetry, short stories, and I'm always working on some sort of novel. That's the writer's life. My writer's life, anyhow.

Comedy and satire have a well-deserved and longstanding place in literature. And hacking away at satire and comedy is a good way for a writer to attack something that he or she feels is dangerous and poses a threat. Most satire is like a writer's hunting trip to slay a nefarious beast of some kind. And after some true writing prowess is gained, lightening up an op-ed with some funny and noisy stuff can draw readers in and spice it up with flavor - Satire Sally can turn a bland piece into something with real kick and punch.

There really isn't a better way of getting people to see a true danger than to throw it down in a joking, maybe even a mocking manner - pen a good piece of satirical writing that is funny, or witty, maybe even zany or worse - inane and/or insane and although some readers may be thinking "WTF", others may be able to make connections, possibly even identify with the plot, theme, and characterization. Political cartoons pack some real right hooks and left curves and some are so funny they can make the gawker fall right out of their seat. But let the censorship beast prevail and these will go by the wayside. Are political cartoons fake news? To a narrow-minded autocrat who only wants "nice" things said about him, yes, yes, they are!

Don't try to analyze or dissect comedy. it's like Mark Twain said, "Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process." In other words, if it's funny, it's funny. Let it go at that.

Being able to write in a comedic or satiric mode is something that's gifted by a God with a sense of humor. Those who have a Higher Power with no slapstick or joking side are left out of it all. Hey, Shakespeare did it, didn't he? He wrote comedies. The crowds would roar in joyful gaiety as they watched his comedies, there's been word told. Wild Bill, or whoever used his pen name, had this gift, too!

Let's face it, an opinion written with exclamatory raves and rants is useless. Put together something humorous that will create some levity and mirth - by saying the same thing - and people will read it and even respect it. Of course, hard-copy news should have none of this stuff. it should be written in a serious and factual tone, free of any comedic slant. It should be devoid of connotative lingo and the copy should be as denotative as possible.

So do you want to try your hand at writing comedy and satire? There's no advice I can give you to write the stuff. The best thing I can say is open an account here, on, pen some diaries of a satiric or funny nature and if they're good enough, Rob Kall & Co. will surely let them fly. And you can say, "I'm a published writer! Yeah!" So sit your butt in your desk chair, open up an OEN diary manuscript and it's all yours, baby. Give us something, anything...Use your own sense of humor as a gauge and a mold. And for heaven's sake, don't try to be anything other than your own wonderful self. - Don't get narcissistic and delusional, thinking that you'll write like Kurt Voneegut Jr. Honestly, none of us can. He was a god - in his own league, and one of a kind. But so are you, my friend. You can give us something good, I'm sure, so start with a "Supporter" membership - or higher - and get to work. Let's keep comedy and satire alive in America. And let's keep people chuckling. Hopefully, laughing hard! And let's bolster our wonderful First Amendment by not falling prey to the PC police. They're the antichrist. Actually, they're too damned dumb for this dishonor. They're the biblical beast.

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Samuel Vargo worked as a full-time reporter and editor for more than 20 years at a number of daily newspapers and business journals. He was also an adjunct English professor at colleges and universities in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi (more...)

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