I and my friend TD are relaunching a video series that we created way back in the George W. Bush Error … um, Era. It’s called Orwell Was An Optimist. They’re short satirical videos. Think of them as live action editorial cartoons. Why are we doing this? To rephrase Lenin, sometimes you just have to be “as ridiculous as reality itself.”
Lenin’s actual quote, as reported by a companion at a restaurant in Zurich, was “One can never be radical enough; that is, one must always try to be as radical as reality itself.” Sound advice still.
TD and I made 47 episodes for the original Orwell Was An Optimist series, beginning in August 2007 and continuing through September 2009. You can see all those episodes at the original Orwell YouTube channel.
But of course things have really changed since we shot that first series. Back then, for example, we had an idiot in the White House. These days, there’s a morally reprobate idiot in the White House.
And then there’s the pandemic. For the original series, TD and I could actually get together to shoot a video, and we often shot on location. These days, I do all the camera work in a jury-rigged home studio and upload the clips to TD, who works his editing magic on the footage. And it is magic.
We hope you get a laugh or two out of these. We certainly need some laughter in these stressful days. But there’s power in laughter and satire, too. As Mark Twain wrote in The Chronicle of Young Satan (who is addressing humans in this quote):
“For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon — laughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution — these can lift at a colossal humbug, push it a little, crowd it a little, weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.”
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