A Fine Line Between Reality And Satire

By:  Rachel Marsden

Not long ago, I met in Los Angeles with a Hollywood film director who approached me about doing some comedy writing. Truth be told, any "comedy" in my columns pretty much writes itself. As Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald has said: "The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it." Consider some events from the past week:

* NATO forces in Afghanistan killed an estimated 200 terrorists in Operation Medusa. This good news has been buried under screaming headlines about five Canadian soldiers killed in battle. Why can't more western media outlets run the headline: "Score! 200 terrorist scumbags dispatched"?

At least one person is more fed up than me. The Taliban's Mullah Dadullah -- whom we last heard from a few months ago when he mouthed off about killing Canadians -- isn't too happy about the coverage in the war on terror. He recently announced, in an Associated Press story: "I want to tell journalists that if in future they use wrong information from coalition forces or NATO we will target those journalists and media."

Someone should put him in charge of a newsroom over here.

"Dear Readers: My name is Dadullah, and I'm your new Editor-in-Chief. I'm committed to quality journalism, so if you spot an error by one of our reporters, let me know, and I'll shoot them. Also, try our new crossword puzzle on page 33."

* Remember my fellow Sun columnist, Sid Ryan and CUPE Ontario's boycott against Israel, in support of the Palestinians? According to the Associated Press, Palestinian teachers are now on strike because they want the Hamas-led Palestinian government to make nice with Israel -- and give the teachers some back pay while they're at it. We know they're serious, because they're packing heat on the picket line, and fired a bullet into a 12-year-old student. None of this farting around with signs and cutesy chants.

Now that even the Palestinian teachers want peace with Israel, can we expect Sid and CUPE to stop holding out anytime soon?

* The movie Death of a President is set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. It features the fake assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush, in an effort to "open up debate," according to the director. Film Fest spokesman Noah Cowan says the director "is ultimately interested in addressing today's political issues through the lens of the future."

The future? Doesn't the past already give them enough to work with? Has anyone on the film fest circuit bothered to ask, "Hey, where's Theo Van Gogh?" If they did, then maybe they wouldn't have to invent an assassination scenario that relates to the war on terror.

Dutch filmmaker Van Gogh was trying to incite debate himself when his documentary, Submission: Part I -- an examination of Islam's barbarism toward women -- aired on TV in 2004. A few months later, he was murdered by a passionate practitioner of the religion of peace.

Now there's a subject for an assassination movie that I didn't even have to make up. But then, examining real events isn't nearly as much fun for liberals as acting out the fake assassination of a conservative.

Comedy and idiocy go hand in hand. And there's never any shortage of either in a week's worth of news.

PUBLISHED:  TORONTO SUN (September 8/06)