Archaeologists Unearth Lousiest Civilization Ever
'What A Bunch Of Losers,' Researchers Say
According to Dr. Ronald Farber, a professor from the University of Minnesota who is leading the excavation, the "half-assed" culture existed from about 450 B.C. until 220 B.C., when it abruptly disappeared—an event he said was "honestly no big loss" for our understanding of human culture.
"From what we've unearthed so far, it appears this pre-Columbian civilization was pretty much just copying what other, more superior groups nearby were doing—albeit to a much shittier degree," Farber said. "They sucked. You should see the useless mess of a calendar these dumbasses came up with."
As Stephen puts it, the key question is whether this is whether this is an "effective satire or just not funny?" My thoughts:
On the negative side
On the positive side
What this tells us
This piece could've been better, but I'd say it's a decent satire. In particular, it shows how to use Native stereotypes in humor without attacking and insulting Indians. The key is to know who your targets are.
Like the Sons of Tucson episode I praised, this piece has non-Indians spewing ignorant and stereotypical comments about Indians. But the comments are so obviously bad that they indict the speakers, not the subjects.
They're examples of what we might call the Archie Bunker syndrome. When a moron says something moronic and people react accordingly, he's the one who looks stupid. Archie was exposing his own prejudice against minorities and the context made that clear.
Contrast this with the infamous Dudesons episode. Although the overall tone is comedic, the Dudesons never let on that they know anything about Indians. That they're trying to satirize America's ignorance about Indians. Clearly they're the ignorant ones, not the audiences they're trying to reach.
Worse, they have a real Indian, Saginaw Grant, to praise and encourage their efforts. If Grant had played the Michael Stivic ("Meathead") role, pointing out the Dudesons' stupidity, the episode might've come across differently. Instead he lent legitimacy to the affair.
Imagine if Lionel or George Jefferson or Sammy Davis Jr. had agreed with Archie Bunker about blacks being different and inferior. Then Archie's message would've seemed sincere and believable. It would've seemed to be the show's message--the point Norman Lear wanted to get across.
Instead, everyone on the show undercut Archie. This told audiences that his beliefs were socially and morally unacceptable. The takeaway was that Archie was wrong, not that he was right.
Moral of the story: If you're writing humor about Indians, make sure you know what the target is. Portraying people whooping and dancing in clownish costumes isn't a satire of Native stereotypes. It's a satire of Natives.
For more on humor about Indians, see:
Racism in Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
DJs learn not to satirize Natives
Quileute Chihuahuas okay in spoof?
"Sick" cartoonist Callahan dies
Below: "Researchers examine some 'totally retarded' ancient pottery."