Borowitz satire: Koch Brothers to put Scott Walker up for sale

In these dark days of the political humor shortage, with Jon Stewart retired and Stephen Colbert in the hiatus between the old show and the new (scheduled to premiere a week from yesterday) snide liberals thankfully still have Andy Borowitz to feed their hunger for satire.

Writing for the New Yorker, in yesterday’s hot-off-the-presses made-up newsblast, Borowitz reveals that:

“Saying that ‘things just didn’t work out,’ the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale.”

According to Borowitz, the Kochs haven’t felt good about their Walker acquisition for a while, but Walker’s recent suggestion of a fence on the Canadian border was the last straw. Borowitz quotes an unnamed Koch insider as saying that “Ignorance has always been a part of Scott’s appeal, but that Canada thing was just too much.”

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/02/2015 - 09:50 am.

    Borowitz

    I really hate Borowitz’s stuff. Because he attributes specific statements to specific people, he always risks being quoted by people who don’t understand he is lying. This kind of faux reporting is a plague on the internet.

    People always defend Borowitz’s stuff as satire, which seems to justify publication of stuff that isn’t true. I wonder if this has always been true. Did Jonathon Swift put convenient words that were easier for him to ridicule in the mouths of the actual politicians of his day? Did Voltaire? Did Mark Twain, or P.G. Wodehouse? Or is the Borowitzian version of satire or more recent development?

    And by the way, is satire supposed to be funny? Does anyone chuckle when they read “A Modest Proposal”? This line, “”Saying that ‘things just didn’t work out,’ the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale.” is arguably satirical, but did you laugh when you read it? Funny has always seemed to me to be something different from satire. While it is possible for satire to be funny, the reason why something is funny isn’t related to it’s satirical qualities.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/02/2015 - 10:06 am.

      I Laughed When I Read It

      Because who would buy Scott Walker when it would be so much cheaper just to rent him?

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/02/2015 - 03:42 pm.

        I wouldn’t go further than taking an OPTION to buy, …

        …or even an option to rent, just in case he became President despite being such a long shot. These would be much cheaper still – you know, more in line with the value of the product we’re talking about here.

      • Submitted by Maria Jette on 09/02/2015 - 04:49 pm.

        Now THAT…

        …is hilarious! in a sort of crying-through-your-tears sort of way. Thanks, RB Holbrook.

        And I do find Borowitz funny, not so much a belly-laugh funny as a bitter-smile funny.

    • Submitted by Arthur Himmelman on 09/02/2015 - 06:04 pm.

      Humor is in the brain of the beholder

      Hiram – Can’t argue with your experience of Borowitz. Finding something humorous, like beauty, is a personal matter, not an “objective” reality. I agree that a challenge with Borowitz’s satire is that it is so close to what many readers think could be true. Could the Koch Brother’s have said something like this? Sure, and laugh about it as well.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/02/2015 - 04:54 pm.

    Walker

    Is “funny” the best word to describe the fact that two billionaire brothers either own or rent (the precise nature of the transaction is still to be learned, perhaps during discovery) a quasi leading candidate of the more minor of our two major parties.

    Funny is easy, it’s a knack, but it doesn’t have a lot to do with satire. And in it’s native habitat it’s about as political as tying your shoes.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/02/2015 - 06:04 pm.

      If We Couldn’t Laugh, We Would All Go Insane

      Here is a dictionary definition of satire:

      [T]he use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

      Humor has a long tradition of being used as political commentary. Look at the comedies of Aristophanes, especially Lysistrata. A continuous state of war wasn’t funny either, but a commentary on it made for some good comedy. The humor of a lot of old satires may not be apparent to us today (Mother Goose, Jonathan Swift, Ambrose Bierce, etc.), but it was still used to make political points at the time. What about Watergate? That wasn’t “funny,” but “The Missing White House Tapes” album is some of the best political and social commentary of our time.

      Humor has a recognition of absurdity at its root (humans are the only animals who have a physical reaction to the absurd). Can you tell me there is nothing absurd about the situation in Madison?

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/03/2015 - 07:14 am.

    [T]he use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

    Does what Borowitz writes fit within that definition? Does, for example, he employ humor? But I don’t actually question that humor can be present of satire, just not that it is a necessary element. Borowitz work, in that it uses exaggeration and ridicule clearly falls within the dictionary definition of satire, just isn’t, like much of satire, funny. But with Jonathon Swift, the humor in Borowitz’s piece is not identifiable or visible to readers today.

    As for what’s happening in Madison today, I don’t think it’s at all absurd. What’s happening with Walker is, to one degree happening with just about all political candidates. That they all do it, to one degree or another goes along way toward explaining the public disenchantment with the political process.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/03/2015 - 11:53 am.

      You Had to Be There

      Humor, or whether something is humorous, is subjective. I don’t find Garrison Keillor funny in the least.

      “As for what’s happening in Madison today, I don’t think it’s at all absurd.” Let’s see: the people of a state that once led the nation in progressive, forward-looking policies and clean, responsive government have twice elected–and failed to recall–as their Governor a conniving tinhorn who makes no secret of the fact that he was bought and paid for by two of the most reviled figures in America. Said conniving tinhorn’s long-predicted run for the presidency is collapsing, not with a bang but a whimper.

      If that isn’t “absurd,” I need to look up the definition again.

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/09/2015 - 11:24 am.

        Humor v. Satire

        Humor, or whether something is humorous, is subjective.

        What makes us as individuals laugh is fairly subjective, but I think it’s possible in many cases to objectively identify statements that are intended to be humorous. The article has provided us with an example: “Saying that ‘things just didn’t work out,’ the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale.” I think this qualifies as satire. But my questions remain the same. Is this funny? Was it intended to be funny?

  4. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/03/2015 - 03:58 pm.

    Bought and paid for

    Lots of politicians have their backers and that’s true on all sides. It’s the system we have managed to stick ourselves, the system that many see Sanders and Trump as an alternative to. Borowitz chose Walker as his victim du jour but any of them could have served just as well. It it’s an absurd result, it’s also a logical one.

  5. Submitted by charles thompson on 09/09/2015 - 07:37 am.

    Both sides do it

    Hiram – Try David Brooks for some real gut busters. Andy is reality based.

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 09/09/2015 - 10:21 am.

    Reality

    Andy just makes things up. And may gently point out that Walker, unlike Hillary has not been personally enriched by backers seeking her favor. Borowitz may feel free to throw stones, but I am a bit more cautious about that because I live in a glass house.

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