Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where is humorous satire when we need it?

The Cuban Missile Crisis was in 1962.  Dr. Strangelove came out in 1964.  The Internet and the 24-hour news cycle has sped everything up.

In his column today Roger Cohen weaves a fictitious, but plausible, and definitely not funny, story about how World War III might start, updating the Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand to match contemporary events in the Ukraine.  After reading the piece, I desperately wanted a Kubrick-like alternative to put me at ease.  Doesn't it seem there should be something in that vein in tomorrow's paper?  If you can make fun of it then it's not so scary.

On a different note, you might think it's in the NY Times long-run interest to try to lure current college students and recent grads who get their news from The Daily Show and Colbert to read their newspaper on occasion.  What is in the paper now to attract this audience?   Most of the TV humor on these show is burlesque-like.  On that level the Times can't compete.  Instead, might the written form offer up wit with pith?  At present Gail Collins is the only columnist to venture into this terrain.  I love her writing for that.  But her style reminds one of Bob and Ray.  Maybe these potential readers require a bit more edge.  Where are the latter day Mort Sahls and Dick Gregorys?  Would some of the up and comers in this vogue be willing to deliver their material in written form?  And would the Times be willing to publish it if they were?

Then there is the geriatric set, which I am to soon enter.  (Sixty is the new seventy.)  They have their own tsoris.  They don't need the news to pile it on.  But Soaps, Oprah, and Dr. Phil are not the answer.  The Onion appeals to a younger crowd.  Might not Larry Doyle or someone else of his ilk be the ticket? There is a need to fill here.

To borrow from Gail Collins, "Come on people!"

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