Why Does Satire Keep Coming True?
Premium · Feb 1, 2022 · BabylonBee.com

At The Babylon Bee, our main goal is to be funny. Why, then, do we so often find ourselves in the business of predicting the news?

For instance, there was that time we made a joke about a church hosting a drag queen Bible story hour, and then it came true:

By now, it's a familiar pattern: some cultural/political event stumbles out onto the public stage in a highly mockable way. The writers at the Bee then respond to said event with appropriate ridicule by taking the internal logic of the thing and stretching it out to absurd extremes. Then, almost before the laughter has had a chance to die down, actual events catch up to those absurd extremes, and in some cases just keep right on going.

What was once a joke becomes the actual news shortly thereafter. This is the "Prophecy Fulfilled!" phenomenon, and it happens over and over again.

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Of course, this kind of thing isn't limited to just The Bee. There's a lot of satire that tried its best to be insanely outrageous but turned out not to be insane enough. Satirical website The Onion provides plenty of examples of this. Back at the dawn of the how-many-blades-can-you-fit-on-a-razor arms race, The Onion ran a story about Gillette deciding to make a preposterous five-blade razor (caution: copious naughty words at link). And then a couple of years later, Gillette made a preposterous five-blade razor.

On TV The Simpsons have had plenty of crystal ball moments of their own. In 1998, they made a joke about 20th Century Fox, which produced The Simpsons, being bought out by the Walt Disney Corporation. It seemed outrageous at the time because it was a simpler era when Disney didn't own everything. But now they do, including 20th Century Fox and The Simpsons.

And in 2007's The Simpsons Movie, Tom Hanks appears doing a ham-handed pitch for a shady government operation. ("Hello, I'm Tom Hanks. The US government has lost its credibility so it's borrowing some of mine.") Which is crazy and would never happen in real life except that it did at the beginning of 2022, when the Biden administration used Hanks and his credibility in a video to pump up their (*cough*) wildly successful first year.

There are different reasons for jokes coming true. Sometimes it's just because there's nothing new under the sun. As one writer for The Simpson's said, "It's mainly just coincidence because the episodes are so old that history repeats itself. Most of these episodes are based on things that happened in the '60s, '70s or '80s that we knew about." Satire by its nature rides very close to reality, so they are bound to sideswipe each other on occasion.

But there's something a little different about the Bee's "prophecy fulfilled" moments, almost like we've seen this movie already and are blurting out spoilers in the theater. Not in an obnoxious nerd way, though; in a way that everybody can enjoy.

So how is the Bee able to do this? Are the writers Jedi masters, able to see things before they happen? While it's true that several of the Bee writers do have very high midichlorian counts, the explanation for their prescience is much simpler than that.

We live in a time when people have abandoned God as the source of righteousness and spiritual fulfillment and instead seek those things through their own efforts. This has led to a skyrocketing market demand for ways to demonstrate one's holiness. New, progressive ideologies - with their ever-more-intricate ways of distinguishing the elect from the non-elect - are constantly springing up around us like vape shops around a community college. And each one promises to be the true way to enlightenment, justice, and popularity with whichever gender or genders you find most attractive on any given day.

But these ideologies have no object, no destination. Progressivism demands that you must eternally one-up everyone around you and everyone who came before you. If you don't, then you're not progressing, you're status quo. And as we all know, status quo is the worst possible quo. 

You put a "Black Lives Matter" sign in your yard or a pride flag on your profile picture, and you can feel good about yourself for a little while. But then you see the next person actually throwing a brick through a Starbucks window with Antifa and suddenly you're the poser until you can come up with the next, more radical revolutionary act.

And that's how you end up taking your elementary school class on a field trip to a gay bar, which, coincidentally, we also predicted:

So we see this game of woke leap-frog playing out every day on CNN or TikTok or whatever other nightmare fuel you may be bombarded with during the day. A belief system that demands adherence to whatever is the newest, most transgressive idea leads people deeper and deeper into absurdity.

And that's where the Bee comes in. In the end, the satirist and the progressive end up in the same place, not because the satirist can predict the future but because the progressive must inevitably progress into the realm of self-satire. The satirist gets there first because he says to himself, "Given this circumstance, what would be the most ridiculous next step?" Then the progressive has the same thought and says, "That's a great idea!"

The Christian perspective of the Bee is key in this, because as Christians we understand both that man is imperfectable and that man will do all kinds of goofy things in an effort to attain perfection while dodging God. This provides an innate sense of the direction in which progressives will try to progress, which will tend to be the direction that provides the best opportunities for personal validation. Whether it's a moral or sensible direction gets little to no consideration, which is great for people who want to make fun of them, but not so much for people who have to deal with the consequences.

In the Bible, prophets weren't really fortune tellers; they were people who spoke the truth boldly. Sometimes that bold truth was something like, "Your dumb decisions are going to lead to your ruin." And then, when dumb decisions did in fact lead to ruin, it seemed like the prophet had seen the future.

The Bee has the dubious blessing of daily swimming through an ocean of dumb decisions, pointing out the ruin that lies ahead if you take it to an absurd conclusion. But while we explore down that path toward absurdity to make a satirical point, progressives go down the same path in search of salvation. We'll end up in the same place, but one of us will be a whole lot funnier.

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