There is supposedly a big social media controversy over this gag SNL ad, starring Dakota Johnson, that simultaneously parodied an Army recruitment promo and satirized the disturbing trend of brainless teens running off to join that terrorist organization that has nothing to do with Islam.
It’s not a controversy when one side is ignorant, censorious, politically correctness- addled, humorless and wrong and the other side isn’t.
The ad is brilliant black comedy and satire, one of SNL’s all-time best. Those who object to it don’t get black humor and satire, which makes their objections as irrelevant as someone allergic to shellfish saying that Legal Seafoods stinks. Nobody’s making them eat there, and they don’t have to watch Saturday Night Live or think it’s funny either. But I don’t care about their opinion, which is uninformed and useless to anyone who understands and appreciates the issues.
Here’s what was good and funny—and ethical– about the parody:
1. It caught the saccharine tone of its model exactly.
2. Its ending was a surprise.
3. It ridiculed ISIS, which deserves ridicule. President Obama claims that the way to withhold respect for the group is to lie about it being a group of Islamic extremists. This is much better, ethical, and doesn’t mislead anyone.
4. Making fun of evil is a time-honored activity, healthy, useful, and effective. I don’t recall anyone saying that Spike Jones was treading on sacred ground with this song:
or that The Three Stooges were trivializing the death camps with this…
5. The satire even cuts two ways. You know, that sweet young girl is also being sent off to kill people when she’s joining the military in the real ad. Like all great satire, this one is subversive and layered.
6. If black humor doesn’t horrify anyone, it’s not black enough. If satire doesn’t infuriate 50% of the audience, it is too timid. This made the grade in both categories.
7. The best way to undermine a deadly ideology is to make fun of it.
8. It made me laugh. For a comic, one is enough. Nobody has a right to forbid anyone from making me laugh, because they have a different sense of humor.