Saturday, March 27, 2010

The end of satire (among other things)

Douglas Haddow is mobilizing resistance to a worldwide campaign to punch and kick read-headed kids on what has become virally known as “Kick a Ginger Day” (“A Red Light to Anti-Ginger Abuse”). The movement took shape after a South Park episode broadcast a few years ago which tried lamely to satirize various hate groups. In it, a young guy claims that gingers are something like zombies, and generally drowns them in hate speech. But then his friends dye his hair red while he is asleep, and when he wakes up as a member of an oppressed minority he raises the standard of a ferocious ginger rebellion. The problem is, some young viewers did not quite get the satirical twist. The plot line inspired a 14-year Canadian boy (could it really have been a girl?) to launch a Facebook group dedicated to the promotion of a much needed “Kick a Ginger Day” (Nov. 20). This is what happens when intended irony or satire fall flat in the face of literal thinking. The boy who started it all is now probably on some college campus attempting to absorb the intricacies of “critical thinking.”