TARGET! Repeat, Fire!
“Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help,” continued Commissar Phillips. “If you get an email or see something on the web about health-insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Reporting dissent is the highest form of patriotism! Is your neighbor suspiciously “well-dressed”? Is he mouthing off about cancer-survival rates under socialized-medical systems while wearing a cravat? Give us his name, and we’ll give you his spats! Just go to email@example.com, not to be confused with firstname.lastname@example.org, which is the e-mail address for reporting President Obama’s latest approval rating. Go to email@example.com if you’d like Speaker Pelosi to walk across your back as a whip-wielding SS dominatrix barking “Vee haff vays of making you tokk less casually, dummkopf!” Go to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need parts for your new government car, or your new government hip replacement. Go to email@example.com if you’d like a special preview of President Obama’s latest bare-chested pictorial for Vanity Fair. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to report your neighbor’s cow for excessive CO2 emissions.
Ridicule is a powerful weapon.
It is the use of humor at someone else’s expense. It is a zero-sum game destructive to one of the parties involved. Like a gun, it is a dangerous weapon. Even in trained hands, it can misfire. Used carelessly or indiscriminately, ridicule can create enemies were there were none, and deepen hostilities among the very peoples whom the user seeks to win over.
In nearly every aspect of society and across cultures and time, ridicule works. Ridicule leverages the emotions and simplifies the complicated and takes on the powerful, in politics, business, law, entertainment, literature, culture, sports and romance. Ridicule can tear down faster than the other side can rebuild. One might counter an argument, an image, or even a kinetic force, but one can marshal few defenses against the well-aimed barbs that bleed humiliation and drip contempt. Politicians fear ridicule. Some take ridicule well and emerge stronger for it; others never recover from it. The perpetual circle of democracy absorbs and even breeds ridicule against individuals and ideas, while the system itself remains intact. While ridicule can be a healthy part of democracy, it can weaken the tyrant. — J. Michael Waller
More from Waller:
Dictators, tyrants, and those aspire to seize and keep power by intimidation and force can tolerate no public ridicule. They generally harbor grandiose self-images with little bearing on how people really think of them. They require a controlled political environment, reinforced by sycophants and toadies, to preserve an impenetrable image. Some are more tolerant of reasoned or principled opposition but few of satire or ridicule. The size of their egos may be seen as inversely proportional to the thickness of their skin. However, few are true madmen; most are rational and serious.
And here is one to remember:
“No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled,”