White House Sued For Stealing Humorists' Material
White House Sued For Stealing Material From Political Humorists
Satirists' class-action law suit alleges concerted effort by administration to undermine impact of irony worldwide.
Satire from freepressed.com
CAPTION: More than 200 American soldiers have died on active duty in Iraq since the President told the American people that major combat operations were over while standing in front of this banner that the White House produced but the Navy put up. What else can I say?
Washington, D.C.--Writers of political satire are scornfully mocking a cynical attempt by the Bush administration to co-opt irony and satire for its evil ends.
In a paradoxical twist of fate, the Satire Writers Guild of America has filed a class-action lawsuit against the White House, accusing it of theft of intellectual property from multiple political satire websites, fake news shows and TV and movie spoofs.
In its brief to the court, Guild attorneys cited numerous cases in which completely outrageous parodies of the Bush administration quickly became real policies of the US government, minimizing the hyperbolic affect and element of juxtoposition the satirists were trying to achieve.
Guild President Ernest Straitman said if this trend continues, satire could become obsolete.
"The danger here is that at some point in the farcical future, political reality could become indistinguishable from even the most ridiculous lampoon," he said. "In such an unthinkable alter reality, there would be no need for sarcastic dissidence or the smart-asses who create it. This law suit is really a fight for the survival of our craft and our culture."
Brent Flynn, the publisher of the wildly popular satirical website, freepressed.com, said one of his send-ups was ripped-off by the president himself.
CAPTION: Will Farrell and Dana Carvey poke fun at Dubya and Poppy Bush in a Saturday Night Live skit. Both actors have hung up their Bush costumes now that real events have become more absurd than any premise for a comedy skit.
"I couldn't believe it. I wrote what I considered to be a totally absurd story about how Paul Wolfowitz was spinning the rocket attack on his Baghdad hotel as some kind of US victory in Iraq," he said. "When I heard Dubya telling the world that the attacks were a sign of desperation on the part of the resistance and signaled the coalition's progress in winning the peace, I nearly fell off of my high horse."
The story (Wolfowitz says attack on Al-Rashid hotel proves Iraqis want freedom) was released Tuesday morning and suspiciously found its way into Bush's speech later in the day.
"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become...the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society," Bush said in his speech.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan sought to emphasize Bush's link between progress and heightened attacks-- the hilarious premise Flynn used as the basis of his story.
When confronted with the accusation that Bush had plagiarized the biting social commentary of Mr. Flynn, McClellan claimed the president came up with the idea early on in the occupation of Iraq.
"We've always said the more progress we make toward a free and prosperous Iraq, the more desperate the killers will become," he said.
But experts note that this is not the first time the Bush administration has hijacked a satirical work of fiction.
CAPTION: Dick Cheney stole the plot from this movie in order to hijack the energy policy of the United States. Detective Frank Drebin would be rolling over in his grave right now if he were dead.
Soon after taking office, Vice President Dick Cheney took the plot from the movie The Naked Gun 2 1/2 in which big energy interests dictate the country's energy policy. Instead of funding research and development in renewable energy sources, the fictional presidential administration gives tax breaks to coal, oil and nuclear power companies. The concept was meant to be so ridiculous that any idiot could see how corrupt the process was.
Unfortunately, when the Bush administration did the same thing in real life, even refusing to release information on those who helped shape the energy policy, no one seemed to care.
One unidentified White House aide said the whole idea of this campaign is to take the shock value out of satirical headlines.
"By actually doing stuff that is more insane than anything the comedy writers can dream up, we are ensuring that they can never get the best of us," he said. "Pretty soon the real headlines will be even stupider than the fake ones...Actually, who am I kidding? That's already happening."
Flynn said this will make his already thankless job even harder.
"You know, at first satirists everywhere thought having this crew in the White House was a god send. Every day they were doing something completely asinine. It was almost too easy," he said. "But now they're beating us to the punch. The 'Mission Accomplished' banner scandal, the mass produced form letters from 'soldiers' that appeared in newspapers across the country, Bush falling off of the Segway--You can't make this stuff up."
The unnamed White House aide said those examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
"Look for the Virgin Mary on the White House lawn heralding the beginning of the Apocolypse," he deadpanned. "Gotcha!"
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