Some subjects do not lend themselves well to parody. Either the subject is itself so repulsive that parody is unsavory, or it is impossible to tell parody from reality because the reality is so bizarre. As Mark Twain noted, fiction writing is more difficult because it must stick to possibilities, while non-fiction doesn’t. As Dave Barry noted, “I can’t make this stuff up.”
Tehran, Iran, is hosting a Holocaust denial conference.
“Revisionist fringe,” says the headline in the online Independent. Analysis from The Jerusalem Post says it’s mainly the same old stuff, including the denials that the denial of the Holocaust is anti-Semitic. Iranian students protested the stuff — so often it is the students who seriously read history, now, who see what is going on and what is wrong with it — but the story from the online Times of London also carries the photo of the fringe ultra-orthodox Jewish group who showed up at the conference just to voice their opposition to the creation of Israel. A sub-headline in the Times is “‘Nazis and racists’ gather in Tehran.”
One would be much more comfortable were there a floating picture of MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman coming across these stories on-line. But it’s not humor, it’s not parody. It’s really happening.
The ghost of Santayana rests uneasily today.