And Now For Something Completely Stupid: The Unethical Satire Of Joe Matthews

Joe Mathews is co-president of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. He has written an op-ed piece arguing that California should “abolish parenthood.” The usually astute people at Legal Insurrection (if someone can explain why  all of those annoying breaks are in the title, please do) apparently think he’s serious; I don’t, but it doesn’t matter. If your satire is so inept that nobody can tell it’s a joke, then it is more hoax than satire, a deliberate lie to make people feel dumb who believe it so you can mock them afterward for being gullible.

This thing by “California Joe,” as he calls himself on-line, is worse than that: in this environment of near-complete progressive derangement, his absurdist piece is like a flaming match tossed into a dry forest. That’s wildly irresponsible.

Joe will doubtlessly defend his satire as “Swiftian,” but there was never any danger that the English would start eating children to solve poverty, over-population and hunger. That’s because Jonathan Swift’s satire was funny, as competent satire is supposed to be, and because the British of his era were not insane. “California should abolish parenthood, in the name of equity” is not funny, and it is not far enough removed from other truly terrible, totalitarian ideas being advanced by Woke World that the author can be confident that his gag won’t find its way into a movement. Remember too, that the state taking children from parents has been a totalitarian strategy in the Third Reich, Soviet Russia, and Red China. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Update: This Is The Student’s Controversial Essay Emulating The Satire Of Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal'”


The indefatigable Charles Green delivered a tough critique of Connor Poole’s essay fulfilling the requirement of an assignment asking  high school students to emulate the satire in Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” and similarly propose an outrageous solution to a contemporary social problem. There are really two issues here, and Charles only deals with one: I believe Connor’s paper was an excellent attempt at Swiftian satire, especially for a high school student, and this is Charles counterpoint to that position. He does not, as far as I can perceive, try to justify the school, North County High School, turning the essay into a controversy and Connor into a pariah.

Good. That, which is the primary ethics issue, is beyond rational dispute. What the school and community are doing to Connor is the equivalent of ordering a kid to juggle flaming torches, and then attacking him when something gets scorched.

Here is Charles’ Comment of the Day on the post, Update: This Is The Student’s Controversial Essay Emulating The Satire Of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.

I’ll be back at the end.

Here is what I think Poole’s teacher should have written to him in response to his essay:

Connor, I’m giving you a grade of C+ on this paper. Here’s why.

Continue reading

Update: This Is The Student’s Controversial Essay Emulating The Satire Of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”

Now THIS, arguably, is taking satire too far...

Now THIS, arguably, is taking satire too far…

Here, thanks to some links provided to Ethics Alarms by students at North County High School, is the essay that was written in response to a teacher’s directive to write a satirical solution to a current societal problem in the style and spirit of  Jonathan Swift’s famous essay advocating the conversion of excess Irish children to foodstuffs.

Student’s name: Connor Poole

Verdict: Pure satire, bold and for a writer so young, brilliantly executed.

Grade: A+

Here is the paper that  prompted administrators to try to turn Connor into a pariah, so precisely delivering what was assigned that it has exposed mass incompetence and cowardice at North County High School:

Modest proposal

Wow. Continue reading

Why Public Schools Are Too Incompetent To Be Trusted To Teach: The Swift Assignment

Now, if those children were black, this would really be offensive...

Now, if those children were black, this would really be offensive. Luckily, they are Irish…

My head hasn’t exploded over this one yet, but I am in extreme pain.

A teacher at North County High School in Maryland assigned her students to write essays that would embody a contemporary  satirical solution to a societal problem, emulating satirist Jonathan Swift’s famous 18th century essay, “A Modest Proposal,” in which the author  proposed, tongue firmly in cheek, that poor Irish folk sell their children as food, thus solving both a population glut and a food shortage.

One student fully embraced the spirit of Swift by suggesting that America should consider deporting African-Americans to the Sahara Desert to address U.S. racism.

A perfect execution of the assignment, wouldn’t you say? The “proposal” is outrageous and offensive; it would indeed address the problem, and, as with some in Swift’s time, literal-minded reflex hysterics won’t understand that the suggestion is satire! Give that student an A!

Or, in the alternative, make him a pariah who wishes he was dead, and may be at risk to be so soon. For other students were offended and complained, and instead of using the incident as a lesson in political satire, the school system turned on the student who had done exactly what was assigned, and sided with the Political Correctness Mob, with Bob Mosier, speaking for Anne Arundel County Schools saying,

“The student chose a subject matter that was clearly insensitive and struck a nerve with students here and staff members here. And so, they have been meetings today where the staff has tried to allow students to express their opinions and say why they’re hurt, why they’re angered.

Oh, he chose a subject matter that was insensitive, unlike, say, selling and eating children, it that the school’s official position? Continue reading