Laugh 'till It Hurts

[onion]http://www.theonion.com/
[strawman]http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html

From this week's "Onion":onion:

p(quote).. *Libertarian Reluctantly Calls Fire Department*

CHEYENNE, WY?After attempting to contain a living-room blaze started by a cigarette, card-carrying Libertarian Trent Jacobs reluctantly called the Cheyenne Fire Department Monday. "Although the community would do better to rely on an efficient, free-market fire-fighting service, the fact is that expensive, unnecessary public fire departments do exist," Jacobs said. "Also, my house was burning down." Jacobs did not offer to pay firefighters for their service.

p. *This just in:* Mr. Jacobs is made entirely of "straw":strawman.

p. *SPECIAL REPORT:* Apparently, my juvenile pun involving "fire" and "straw" flew over (under?) the heads of our sophisticated commentariat. Ah, the perils of being a child at heart.

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How is this a

How is this a misrepresentation of the libertarian position?

I agree with Jacobs. What's wrong with what he said?

It's a joke news article,

It's a joke news article, not a serious political argument. Accusing the Onion of a logical fallacy is ridiculous.

Jesus, lighten up people.

Jesus, lighten up people.

JTK, the thing that

JTK, the thing that irritated me was the last sentence:

"Jacobs did not offer to pay firefighters for their service."

He didn't need to offer to

He didn't need to offer to pay the public fire fighters, they get his money anyway.

Exactly.

Exactly.

I have sympathy for both

I have sympathy for both sides of the "is it too anal to analyze humor" argument. On the one hand, it is meant to just be humor, and caricaturing a position (innacurately) is an easy way to be funny. On the other hand, humor affects people's beliefs, and can be used to make real points. The Onion, for example, often makes very accurate, very pointed, very harsh political points using humor (ie Mother Theresa goes to hell article, or LBJ Deploys 40,000 body bags to Vietnam).

So it seems perfectly reasonable to be miffed at being caricatured, but we should be used to it. Inaccuracy is a cheap method of humor, but a common one.

All satire is based on

All satire is based on caricature. I thought it was funny because the story was about fire. Fire, straw, get it. Heh. Ahem.

The pun is highly under-appreciated, in my opinion.

Patri, I don't see what's

Patri,

I don't see what's inaccurate about the characterization. Do you have a problem with what Jacobs said? I say he expresses a perfectly defensible libertarian position. It's the analysis of the reporter that's off base, but that's not a mischaracterization of your average reporter either. Both ring true to me.