knockoutWhen I started thinking about posting a parody of Obama’s right-wing bashers, people around me recommended caution, saying I might be misread. But did I listen? I, who in the face of mounting evidence continue to deny the undeniable–and still believe that from my computer to your eyes, nothing is ever distorted–stuck to my guns (and that from someone who deplores the tepid gun-control laws!). Nah, I said, no way! People will understand, they know where I come from. My arguments were that regular readers of my blog a) know me well enough by now to be familiar with my precise place on the political spectrum (dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, leaning toward liberal, and b) will recognize parody for what it is.

Was I deluded! The day after I posted “Look who we have in the White House,” I logged in to my Counter Argument mail only to be hit by a relentless cascade of sharply worded comments and “unsubscribes.” On the other hand, I also received kudos as to my “courage” (why courage?), my sharp pen, my right-on parody, etc. Regular readers said that once past the shock of the first lines, they realized what I was doing and that they should never have doubted me. But those who lambasted me did so in no uncertain terms. I was called “scary,” “sick,” “a threat to national security,” possibly an enemy agent. Which I found mildly interesting. So, when tattered remnants of the tea party and conservative extremists such as Wayne LaPierre, Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and other assorted foaming-at-the mouth Obama haters daily call the President a monster on talk radios, on Fox and on conservative rags and blogs, they’re not a threat to national security but if I use the same words as satire, I become one? What they’re doing is to exercise their right to free expression under the First Amendment but when it comes to me, I’ve gone beyond the acceptable?

Okay, I’ve learned my lesson (do we ever stop learning and does all that lesson-learning ever get us anywhere?) and know that “from my computer to your eyes” doesn’t work like that–nothing travels in a straight line. Same “from my mouth to your ears.” How many times do we have to bite our tongue, too late, even with our closest and dearest, as what we express is misconstrued and misunderstood? Ah well, we are buffeted by such harsh winds in our day-to-day life, we are submerged by such torrents of words everywhere, that it becomes hard to know what to do and what to say. Yet I’m a writer. A writer who doesn’t write might as well stop breathing, so I’ll continue–on this blog, in my books, in stories, in poems. The best I can hope for is that others, beside the core group of my readers, sometimes get it right.

  1. February 7, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Ah Saideh, all that I can say is welcome to the club. Words printed on a page can always be misconstrued even by people who know you well. Words when spoken , the very same words, can take on a whole other meaning. But what is past is past and now you will be on to bigger and better things and wiser for the whole experience. Much good fortune to you!


    • February 7, 2013 at 2:15 am

      Wiser? You think? But thanks for the kind words.


  2. Steven Waxman
    February 7, 2013 at 3:01 am

    You are braver than I. I knew it was a satire, just as I knew Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” doesn’t really advocate cannibalism. But I also know that free speech has become less free over the years, and that the Internet has encouraged people to read only those works that mirror their own beliefs. (My opinion is my opinion; yours is treason.) These are challenging times. You are more optimistic than I, or you wouldn’t be brave enough to speak out. Please continue. I read every word of every blog you post.


    • February 7, 2013 at 3:30 am

      See? I do have readers after my own heart!


  3. February 7, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Well, it seems to me that society has become increasingly like a church, mosque or synagogue. One might chose which one to frequent, but when there, one is not supposed to be un-serious about the local creed. Unless, of course, one is officially anointed with that task for the sake of entertainment…


  4. February 7, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I admit, I was ready to unsubscribe. That was the first post I had received from you and I wondered how in the hell someone like this had got my email address? Then I went through your archives, saw the disconnect and assumed satire, belatedly. Relieved that I was not crazy to have subscribed to begin with.


  5. February 7, 2013 at 6:53 am

    It was a very very good parody. I monitor a lot of far right sites and I was almost taken in until I checked out your earlier posts. The trouble here is that the extreme is so extreme its difficult to parody! I don’t think you should stop though, and I do think you should publish some of the responses! It would be an interesting article for soemething like the New Statesman


  6. Narguesse Stevens
    February 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I live in Europe but my sister who lives in the States keeps trying to explain to me how much harder it is getting to speak your mind without someone lambasting you. Now I understand – I thought your article was a spot-on parody. Keep on writing – and let Americans remember the right to free speech.


    • February 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Minette is right. In the Washington Post this morning someone took exception because an article re women in the military had said that women are not as strong as men. The writer found this comment offensive to women! This is the public opinion we have to deal with!


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