Your RDA of Irony

The Libel Arts

The truth can always be improved. We see it all the time in ads for films. For example, let’s say the movie reviewer writes, “once again that puerile bore Rob Schneider attempts to be funny,” The ads for the movie will quote this from the review:”funny.” That may be slightly out-of-context but the quote is technically correct.

Now the same creative technique is being applied to political ads. Your newspaper may have written, “In his proposal to outlaw any sexual position he can’t spell, State Senator Wendell Gopper reveals himself an execrable buffoon”. The ads for Gopper will quote the newspaper praising Gopper as “able” and “buff.”

There are other ways to create such quotes. Gopper’s campaign could put an ad in the singles’ section saying, “I am looking for the type of person who thinks that Wendell Gopper is a brilliant statesman and God’s gift to our district.” Since it is in the newspaper, Gopper’s TV ads have every right to quote it. So what if it wasn’t exactly on the editorial page!

Of course, the same creativity can be applied to negative ads. The Gopper staff, remembering to use blank stationery, could submit this letter to the newspaper. “It is long overdue that candidate Drake Preenwell deny that he is a necrophile.” If the letter is published, then it is technically a quote. And the Gopper TV ads will publicize the line as if it were a Pulitzer Prize-winning pronouncement.

But what if the letter is not published? There is a way around that.

Show an unflattering picture of Drake Preenwell. The ad’s voiceover begins and the following words appear on the screen:

Your newspaper says, “a drunken degenerate”…”a ludicrous public spectacle”…”a disgrace to his family”…”dying of syphilis.”

And every quote would be true. Of course, the quotes were from an article on Toulouse-Lautrec but that is a trivial detail.

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