At least twice a week now, old pieces from The Onion will pop up in my Twitter feed. The articles are always different, but they’ll inevitably be from the early 2000s, and will reflect a premise that the writers thought was both funny and well-done satire.
In 2017, the year of the Upside Down, the year of Trumpism, satire is quickly fading into an historical study. My Facebook feed is full of memes and articles that are clearly fake (Borowitz, The Beaverton, Clickhole, etc), but based on the comments**, many respondents believe they’re real.
**I know, I know. Don’t read the comments.
Earlier today, I read this tweet, which is a response to Matt Haig. Matt is primarily a fiction author, but has also written a popular memoir about anxiety and depression. On his Twitter account, he frequently discusses mental illness and reading.
I initially believed Simone meant what she said, as did other users. As I began writing this post, I realized that she was simply annoyed. She told another confused user “It’s possible to find something irritating without implying it’s Bad [sic] in itself.”
Haig’s flowery prose apparently irritated Simone, and while I don’t understand why someone else’s love of reading annoys her, it’s very much her right. But in an age where people are destroying coffee machines to show support for a sexual predator, and where the President of the United States spends a considerable amount of his days picking fights with news organizations who report on what he says and does, it seemed entirely plausible to me that Simone was completely serious about founding an anti-reading movement. Those of us who live on Twitter unintentionally view tweets with that level of fatuity every day. I had fallen victim to the same jokes-are-reality programming I regularly decry.
It’s so hard to tell anymore.