Remember Jon Stewart‘s mantra? “Comedy FIRST.” That’s a very tough ideal to follow for many (including yours truly) when you’re so vested in a particular political issue but you want to poke fun at it or make people laugh about it while also expressing your opinion.
This wasn’t your typical bake sale. Nope. The pricing structure at this bake sale was based on their interpretation of the affects of affirmative action and was listed as follows:
- Whites: $2.00
- Asian: $1.50
- Latino: $1.00
- Black: $0.75
- Native American: $0.25
- All Women: $0.25 off
Needless to say, many students were outraged. And the media could not make sense of what the hell was going on. According to the San Francisco Gate:
More than 200 students responded to the event, most opposed, and some violently so. One threatened to burn the table and set the cupcakes on fire. At least four student groups sent complaints to campus administrators, and a student-only meeting was set for Friday evening to discuss it.
Violence is obviously ridiculous. For bleeps sake, were talking about cupcakes here and they are trying to make a point, a point many may not agree with, but a point nonetheless.
This is similar to one of the best pieces of political satire ever written. A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these guys are Jonathan Swift. But if you’ve read A Modest Proposal you’ll understand what I mean.
Back in the 1700s, the Irish poor were being exploited by the wealthy and Swift was adamantly opposed to this. But instead of writing a piece saying, “I’m opposed to exploiting the Irish because blah, blah, blah, boring, boring, no one is going to read this or care, yada, yada,” he wrote A Modest Proposal which was anything but modest.
In the essay he suggests that poor Irish folk ease their economic woes by selling their children as food to rich folk. He goes into great detail about how this would solve the poor Irish folks‘ problems as well as the problems of the rich folks including everything from their problem with the Irish to their economic problems. It’s absolutely hilarious and by the time you get to the end if you’re not convinced of the ridiculousness of the policies the English have been imposing on the Irish then you don’t understand satire.
The problem with this bake sale is that they forgot about the comedy. They didn’t push the satire, and they added a bizarre extra detail that “If you don’t come, you’re a racist.” WTF that has to do with anything, who the f*** knows, but they obviously thought that would make the liberals at Berkeley bust a gut laughing.
Colbert Reads from Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal