|Monday, April 26, 2004
01:14 - THIS IS A TEST
Okay, so I'm running a little experiment here.
I'm sure we all saw this charming little picture, courtesy of Lileks:
Mike M. at VodkaPundit said:
Every time something like this is published it drives the wedge between liberal and mainstream America just a little bit deeper. The places that this cartoon appears are the same places that have been severely bleeding audience over the last few years. All it does is help cement the dominance of conservative thought in this country. Ironic, ain't it?
And I thought, Well, hey, why not harness that power? Channel it—into the flux capacitor?
What I found myself wondering was this: Do you think it is possible to create a Leftist-type cartoon that is SO offensive that even the hard-core Left will repudiate it? Even if just for fear of their own skins, because they realize that nobody will find it funny—that it will only harm their cause?
What would such a cartoon look like? More to the point, what would a cartoon look like that would unexpectedly fail this test? I have to imagine it would pull together as many Leftoid clichés and conspiracy theories as possible, while yet remaining compact and pithy; it would have to be simplistic in theme, yet subtle in its scope. See, it would have to tread a fine line: it would have to seem like "just another biting and insightful piece of commentary" to people who think the above picture is funny, so that it would at least fall into the same category in their minds; but yet it would have to be so foul in its message that the average person on the street, whether pro- or anti-war, pro- or anti-Bush, would react with horror and revulsion toward whomever would draw such a thing.
If someone were to create such a cartoon, and it were to somehow slip into the network of crosslinking and glad-handing that is the DU/Indymedia universe, without any attendant details as to its source, it would get passed around gleefully from hand to shock-addicted hand, and pushed under at least a few sensible noses which would then turn up at it—and them. Viral marketing works, apparently, if the Ford Sportka ads are for real; imagine what would happen if the usual suspects were to fall into a trap of backing something that's just a bit too visual, a bit too fundamentally offensive, for anyone of good heart and conscience to want to be associated with it even peripherally.
I have a modest proposal here, though if someone else has a more apt idea I'm all ears (as it were):
Remember: if this should somehow get out and off the reservation, it didn't originate here, 'kay? That's why the signature is intentionally illegible. Heh heh.
Here's the thing: All the Left has to do, to prove its decency and honor and to be vindicated in its status as a legitimate political voice, is to find this thing offensive. If they do, then this is just a parody of extremist thought, done to make a point, like the ProtestWarrior signs. But if they don't—if it's something they agree with—well, then finally we're all being honest.
(Then again, I'm a terrible judge of the efficacy of these things, so it might be a) not very good or b) not very offensive, or c) both; I honestly can't tell. If the whole premise is stupid, feel free to ignore it entirely—I won't be offended.)
Sorry, everybody. This has been itching the inside of my brain all weekend. Some things you've just got to scratch.
UPDATE: Well, that was pretty much a bust, I guess. Ah well—that'll teach me to try to pretend I know how these guys think. Or to pretend that I'm mean-hearted enough to go undercover there successfully.
Nonetheless, thanks to Sean S. for doing the, er, artificial dissemination.