A message to “satirists”: do better

A message to satirists: do better

Once a year, The Trinitonian opens its pages to satirical articles. The issue is named the Trinibonian, and it offers students gifted with the skills of wit, humor and taste the opportunity to apply them on  a written page. But in last week’s issue, we hesitantly allowed the publication of a “satire” a few weeks earlier than our annual allowance. We did so after publishing a news story which covered how members of the Trinity community responded to Trump’s executive order barring travel between the United States and seven Muslim-dominant countries.

Alexander Jacobs attempted to satirize the travel ban in his piece “Spring Break,” which was published after several editors decided that the value of inclusivity was more important than powerful writing. Pestering for the privilege to represent how a Trump supporter may view the executive order broke through the barrier that usually stops articles from being published: quality of writing.

We have a multitude of Republican and conservative voices on campus, and some seem to possess the understandable desire to have their voices and opinions represented in their university’s newspaper. It was under these wishes that we allowed for the publication of “Spring Break,” which I energetically opposed.

My opposition comes from a shared desire to feature right-leaning, Republican or conservative voices in the Trinitonian. Politics center on discussion, and without arguments and inputs from students across the political spectrum, the entire field becomes dull and monotonous rather quickly.

Yet I do not value inclusivity more than meaningful contributions. An opinion section ought to necessitate that people not only present opinions, but defend them as well. The loudest fault in Jacobs’ submission is its blatant lack of process. How his creative process runs isn’t worth dwelling on for long, although one assumption I have is that it involves next to no time trying to understand any nuances, complaints or criticisms of the executive order. Instead, for the sake of a few meager laughs, he decides to view the issue from the standpoint of a stereotypically liberal, straight man. His character is going to Baghdad for the food, buildings, “nice” people and beautiful women, as though taking a trip to the Middle East were the same as walking through the Red Light district in a city like Amsterdam.

It’s from here that Jacobs starts his satirical diatribes on the injustices caused by the travel ban, a hinderance to his consumption-oriented voyeurism of the Middle East. He plays on the violence plaguing some of the country of Iraq and paints a portrait of the country as a barren desert riddled with veiled women, deteriorating buildings and bursts of gunfire. It’s the picture of Iraq that someone makes when their only exposure to the Middle East, apart from ISIS videos, is a movie like “An American Carol,” which I’m guessing someone like Jacobs would find hilarious.

But Trump supporters seem to really appreciate short-sighted simplicity. If its role in creating his presidential platform is ignored, it’s also the only way that any Republican could be pleased with the way that Trump’s travel ban, or presidency, has been implemented thus far. Whether issue is taken with the ban’s poor reference of national intelligence, poor application or its Bannonesque level of discrimination, a rational defense for this ridiculous act is sincerely needed in public discourse.

Instead of offering such a necessary view, Trump supporters like Jacobs seem content basking in the ignorant bliss of victory. Their candidate won, so it’s unnecessary to hold him, or his ideologies, to any sort of critical light. In the coming weeks, as more of Trump’s actions land on rocky ground, it’d be nice if right-leaning voices could simply do better in defending their President.