This diary is not about the content of the HUFFPOST PERSONAL essay “I’m Trying To Raise My Kids As Homosexuals (And I Never Even Have To Say ‘Gay’)” although I expect some Kossacks will want to focus on this in their comments here. What struck me about it was the comments which showed that many readers didn’t “get” that it was meant to use satire to make a point.
Of the sample of comments I looked at a it stood out to me that many commenters didn’t read the essay closely and missed where author wrote that the story was meant as satire. The essay at this writing has over a thousand comments so obviously I didn’t read them all.
After skimming the essay I saw the following comment and replies listed as the top of “The Best” category.
Wow, is she ever going to get socked in comments here. As a psychologist having an awareness of gender and sexual orientation issues, one of the basic points about this matter is normative, literally statistical. Basically, most people are heterosexual, period, as most people can see the full range of colors (not color blind in the medical sense) or are right-handed. Sexual orientation isn't a "grooming" process--heterosexuality is simple assumed by most parents because most parents are among the norm. Again, by "norm," I don't mean normal versus abnormal but simply a statistical fact--a majority--due to various factors. Like what happened with managing left-handedness (forcing use of the right hand), problems arise in upbringing when people begin to observe features of homosexuality in children and then actively (or even subtly) try to redirect them, as part of denial. The author of this article would be ironically advocating the very tactics in reverse that have been used with that denial, that is, if the children's behavior showed any features of orientation toward heterosexuality it would be redirected. The grooming concept is dangerously close to the bigots' claim that sexual orientation can be taught. Any normal thing to do is simply to provide love and acceptance of healthy behaviors and then let things take their course.
It's interesting that with all of your education as a psychologist you never learned what the word "satire" means. Or did you not read the whole article like most people commenting here?
Reply: David Hungerford
You claim to be a psychologist and her point still went right over your head? You didn't recognize that she was so obviously using the turnabout to show bigots how absurd their reasoning is when it is applied from a different vantage point? Something isn't right here.
I didn’t “get it” at first reading when I skimmed the essay. Thanks to David Poston and David Hungerford I went back and reread it carefully.
This was my comment to the HuffPost story on the right. It pretty much sums up my view:
Oh, I think I get it after giving this a cursory reading as a "personal story" with a clickbait title and having the same negative reactions as some of the commenters did and then wondering if in fact it was meant as a satire. I read it more carefully and saw what I missed: "I wrote this piece as satire to make a point ― even if my wife and I actually spent every waking moment trying to force a 'gay agenda' on our kids, they may still turn out straight. But that’s not what any of this is really about. Now it makes sense, kind of that is, considering that even in writing that the piece was meant as a satire in the same sentence the author writes that she and her wife spends every waking moment trying to force a 'gay agenda' on their kids. Hmmm... every waking moment? I assume this is satire too.
One commenter wrote “Stop sexualizing kids, Democrats. You're disgusting.”
More examples of those who didn’t read the essay carefully
- “Was this essay satire? It's quite difficult to discern.... And just as the author found her own way in her life, I hope she wrote in tongue-in-cheek... for the sake of her kids...”
- Let’s kids be kids. Stop projecting everything on them. What’s wrong with you people. You woke up and say what I’m gonna write today. If you need some attention, go take hike in the mountains. My goodness.
This is a comment for someone who, like me, also “got it:”
So wait a minute...Y'all don't like people raising their supposedly gay children (like children even know what sexual preference really is, other than interesting new clothes) as heterosexual...And, YOU are doing something WORSE...Trying to FORCE homosexuality on your children...Sounds like CHILD ABUSE!OH! You are being satirical/sarcastic...
My point in writing this isn’t to discuss the issues that those who commented on the essay in HuffPost addressed, but rather about how often readers both here and on other websites have to clearly label satirical articles as satire lest some readers miss this.
I have seen this on Daily Kos when a contributor whether in a diary or comment fails to make it clear that what they write is meant to be sarcastic by using the /S notation. Generally this is meant to indicate sarcasm but I think can also be meant to stand for satire. Here’s the Urban Dictionary definition with two examples:
The /S is known as the sarcasm switch
. When you are typing
a post use it at the end of your post so people know you are actually being sarcastic.
One good thing
about you being wrong
is the joy it brings to others. /S
It may be that your sole
purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. /S
Of course the definitions of sarcasm and satire aren’t identical but the meanings overlap:
- Sarcasm: The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Lexico
- Satire: The 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. Lexico
Not everyone knows what /S means so I wonder if it is best to spell our the words satire or sarcasm.