A cruel joke: Facebook to rule on what’s funny

A Radio Yerevan listener asks: Is it possible to build socialism in Switzerland?

Radio Yerevan answers: Yes, but won’t it be a pity to impose this on such a beautiful country?

This was one of an almost endless series of jokes circulating in the former Soviet Union. The question would be posed to a let’s-pretend Radio Yerevan station, and that station would provide the answer.

Yerevan is the capital city of Armenia, and most Armenians loved the jokes, too, even though they would mostly originate elsewhere.

Or, how about this one: A Radio Yerevan listener asks: What’s the difference between socialism and communism?

Radio Yerevan answers: Socialism is pure shit … bang, crash, followed by silence, interrupted by sounds of atmospheric disturbances.

Six months later, on the same wavelength, but on a weak signal: This is Radio Yerevan, we’re now broadcasting from the transpolar region, through Radio Magadan. There must have been a misunderstanding. We just wanted to say that socialism is pure shit when compared to communism.

To explain: the transpolar region, including the city of Magadan, used to be the main part of the Soviet concentration camps network, a.k.a. the Gulag.

What’s the common denominator for these jokes, other than that they both came from Radio Yerevan, and both would carry a stiff criminal sentence for spreading anti-communist propaganda?

They both would be banned by Facebook.

Fact-checking idiocy

That social media’s fact-checkers would decree that, first of all, nobody’s building socialism in Switzerland, and to describe the country as beautiful is a judgemental call because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and, besides, that the rude word shit is unacceptable for use on Facebook because it can offend a reader or two.

To make sure all and sundry understand what freedom of expression is all about, Facebook has announced that their ideologues are developing and rolling out “a new satire framework.”

To put it in one sentence: Facebook will decide for you, their gentle user, the meaning of fake news, and the meaning of satire. As simple as that.

They tried to silence Babylon Bee, a web site whose official motto is “Fake News You Can Trust.”

If THAT is not a clear sign of their hilarious (and disrespectful) approach to news, then I don’t know what a clear sign is.

After attempts by Facebook to silence them, Babylon Bee got the social media behemoth to apologize and admit that there’s a difference between fake news (reports intended to mislead) and satire (reports intended to make the recipients laugh and think).

This retreat, enforced by the judiciary, triggered a typical reaction within Facebook management ranks. This kind of reaction can be usually found only in authoritarian regimes, be they communist, fascist or in any other way or shape socialist: we’ll create rules to limit and restrict permissible jokes.

You break them, you suffer the consequences.

Facebook’s new rule book will give them a framework to decree what counts as “true satire” and what doesn’t.

In Facebook’s own verbiage, true satire “does not ‘punch down’ (whatever that means). … Indeed, humour can be an effective mode of communicating hateful ideas.”

Hateful ideas? And who defines those, pray? Why, Facebook does, of course.

Interestingly, The Onion, another American satire-based outlet, never suffers such consequences. They are making fun of those the establishment views as leaning towards the conservative side of the political spectrum.

Not that there’s anything wrong with making fun of the conservatives. They deserve most of it, and more, even. It’s the lack of balance that matters.

As the Babylon Bee editors put it, and they have a valid point, they do not punch down, they only punch back.

Who is what, and what is who?

The latest issue that triggered Facebook’s (and mainstream media’s in general) outrage dealt with the idiocy called transgender ideology.

Babylon Bee hit on a very serious issue: women (in most cases) can’t throw grenades as well and as far as men. No need to win a Nobel Prize in physiology or any other medicine-related subject. Just as men can’t give birth the natural way (per vias naturalis), so women can’t get prostate cancer, and just as men can’t suffer menstrual periods with all the pain and inconvenience it includes, so women can’t get vasectomy.

The grenade-throwing issue is much more serious than the Babylon Bee joke made it out to be: it reveals the major weakness that has overcome the U.S. military, from its infantry, through navy, air force, and all the way to the Marines. It is now composed of members according to politically correct identity politics. To point this out must offend anyone who describes her/himself as they, instead of looking between their legs to be able to answer questions about their gender.

And, yet, this may become a question of survival of the United States.

Yes, the country’s military enjoys having most modern, most lethal, fastest, and whatnot military gear. Except, America’s military prefers that its top brass argue about sleeping accommodations for people who think they are sexually special because tickling under their armpit arouses them more than anything. That’s why the rest of the world are aware that America has lost any war it would engage in before the first bullet was loaded, never mind shot.

And America’s liberal mainstream and social media are livid that anyone dares point this out. Tongue in cheek, all right, but point it out Babylon Bee did.

America, unlike the French, used to take the words such as liberty, equality, fraternity literally. Now, she is accepting quite willingly that its powers-that-be deny them as a matter of official policy. We’re witnessing a tragedy in progress.

To hell with liberté, égalité, fraternité, they say.

Who says so? America’s most powerful people, corporations and institutions, that’s who.

If Babylon Bee is laughing about it, it’s laughing through tears. And it’s not punching down. It’s punching up.

On a merrier note, a Radio Yerevan listener asks: can you define chaos?

And Radio Yerevan replies: No. We don’t comment on government policy.

And another one that wouldn’t make it past Facebook’s intrepid illiterates: a Radio Yerevan listener asks whether it’s true that Adam and Eve were the first communists on earth.

Radio Yerevan replies: Quite probably, yes. They dressed sparingly, had very modest demands on food, they didn’t own any homes, or any property, for that matter, and, on top of it, they thought they lived in paradise.

Here’s the progress: under communism, you would have got a few years behind Gulag bars for sharing this “anti-communist propaganda.”

In the world of Facebook, they’d only kick you out.

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