I’ve heard people say that we need a sarcasm font, or some sort of new punctuation mark to denote satire. Seems reasonable in the internet age, right? Wrong. The idea that we can no longer distinguish between sarcasm and sincerity, between satire and veracity without help should be deeply troubling. The idea is called Poe’s Law. Here is the definition according to Wikipedia:
An Internet adage which states that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will, to some readers, be indistinguishable from sincere expressions of the parodied views.
Ladies and gentleman, we are living in the age of Poe’s Law. Am I reading the New York Times or The Onion? Is this cable news or an SNL skit? With the 2016 presidential campaign just getting started, I have to wonder, could 2016 be the year satire dies? Will we see it swallowed up in a tsunami of insane campaign ads, oddball interviews and misguided stunts? Our nations comedians could be in for a rough year. After all, how do you mock mockery?