Unrest continues for a seventh day in former British colony
June 27, 2020 4:14 AM   Subscribe

Unrest and protests continued for a seventh straight day in the former British colony of the United States as the government vowed to use its military to end the demonstrations, US media reported on Tuesday.
The Thai Enquirer reports on the ongoing unrest in the country that the natives call America.
posted by MartinWisse (54 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
How very droll.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:25 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


The premise of 'reporting' on the US as its journalists often report on events in other countries is dependable, but that really wasn't very good.
posted by wreckingball at 4:36 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I don’t know, it seemed like a good summary to me. Good enough to go in the Hitchhiker’s Guide, certainly.
posted by Robin Kestrel at 5:13 AM on June 27 [12 favorites]


I saw this shared elsewhere and I commented that it's both entirely accurate and excellent satire of reporting in the US on foreign affairs. For instance, writing as if a country is only important based on which European country used to rule it. And calling the Midwest the "Middle West" is the sort of mistake reporters in the US make all the time, a mistake that would be immediately caught if they would just ask a single native speaker to look at the article before publication.

Nearly everyone else jumped down my throat to say this isn't satire, it's just a report. Now I don't know what to believe.
posted by Tehhund at 5:15 AM on June 27 [35 favorites]


it seemed like a good summary to me.

Me, too.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:25 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Tehhund: I believe, based on reading more pieces on the website, that you are correct. Many seem to be straight information but reported with a satirical twist.
posted by Botanizer at 5:29 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I like this genre, but it's been around a while so I'm pretty much only in the market for examples that are particularly sharply written or move the joke forward in some way. This was neither.
posted by matthewr at 5:33 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I quite like seeing not amazing examples. It kind of cements how normal the straight bias is in media I usually consumer and there's something in it being 'not really that funny or clever' that helpfully illustrates the point it's trying to make.
posted by plonkee at 5:44 AM on June 27 [28 favorites]


Looking through the publication it's a challenge to gauge satire vs simple accuracy:

Eating American hamburgers require little effort but the heartburn is real
posted by sammyo at 6:00 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The point is that it's not especially funny. Why would it be? Also, nothing they say is inaccurate in any way, except for the "Middle West".
posted by signal at 6:11 AM on June 27 [17 favorites]


I enjoyed it.

It shows my age, but my way of thinking about international politics has been defined by the Balkan wars, the civil war in Rwanda and then the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In all those cases the news were inundated with stories like this, depriving the individuals of those countries of personal identity and agency.
posted by mumimor at 6:12 AM on June 27 [22 favorites]


I enjoyed that but, nit:

The US gained its independence from the UK in 1783 or arguably 1781, not 1776.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:26 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


1776 is close enough. I mean, who but a few specialized historians know anything about that country anyway?
posted by Mogur at 7:13 AM on June 27 [75 favorites]


The point is that it's not especially funny.
Seconding this. It's "good point" satire, not "haha!" satire. The way it pillories reporting in the USA is entertaining, but I don't think they were going for a laugh.
posted by Tehhund at 7:28 AM on June 27 [11 favorites]


Are these "this is not good satire" comments supposed to be wry commentary on cultural imperialism? Asking because I genuinely can't tell.
posted by pipeski at 7:47 AM on June 27 [29 favorites]


Choosing to comment on whether or not this satire is "good", rather than talking about the heart of the matter - imperialism, racism, and colonialism in U.S. journalism, seems to miss the point so distantly I feel like I'm listening to fashion commentary at an execution
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:52 AM on June 27 [38 favorites]


1776 is close enough. I mean, who but a few specialized historians know anything about that country anyway?
posted by Mogur

I know. But this is interesting..."When King Hsinbyushin finally died on June 10, 1776, Maha Thiha Thura decided to call off the invasion. He wanted to ensure that his son-in-law and heir-apparent Singu Min succeed the throne.The withdrawal's longterm impact was that the Burmese would lose most of the old Lan Na Kingdom, which had been under Burmese suzerainty since 1558."
posted by clavdivs at 8:04 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


American black minority groups were under a program similar to South Africa’s Apartheid policy until as recently as 1964. Today, the ethnic black community is still detained and killed with impunity by the state security forces and black Americans make up the majority of those incarcerated under the country’s archaic judicial system.

But yeah, not really moving the joke forward or something, so let's ignore it.
posted by signal at 8:05 AM on June 27 [14 favorites]


It's "good point" satire, not "haha!" satire.

It's not satire.
posted by carter at 8:08 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


The irony is the point.
posted by Mrs Potato at 8:11 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


It's not satire.
I'm not sure we disagree. This article seems to be both accurately describing the situation in the US and its history, while also satirizing how the US reports on other nations. It can be both accurate and satire.

That said, enough people seem to disagree about the satire part that I could be wrong.
posted by Tehhund at 8:18 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]




Sorry Tehhund - that was a little abrupt on my part, so apologies. It's a bit of a duck-rabbit.
posted by carter at 8:22 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


carter, I appreciate your first comment because it made me fix a potentially-problematic thing I said. Calling a perfectly accurate representation of US history and the current situation "satire" would be a very bad take, so I appreciate the opportunity to clarify what I think is being satirized (US reporting) and what I think is accurate (the aticle's facts).
posted by Tehhund at 8:28 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


It's perhaps a little regional and dated, but "Middle West" is a fairly common way to refer to the Midwest. There are books about it and everything.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:33 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


I thought the article was great, and enjoyed how much it jarred me to have it truthfully pointed out that the US works like apartheid South Africa and the supreme court makes decisions based on personal religious beliefs.

I think that the comments saying "it's all been done before and I'm bored" don't belong in this thread.
posted by medusa at 8:55 AM on June 27 [33 favorites]


I've read this sort of piece before from American publications, but this is the first time I've seen it in an overseas publication and I have to say it was a little harsher to see such a dragging from outside the house. And then it literally crossed my mind that if Donald Trump read it and had it explained to him he might realistically attempt to declare war on Thailand, so. Yeah.
posted by potrzebie at 9:08 AM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Publications around the world are increasingly scathing in their remarks about the exceptional American response to being questioned on accountability and responsibility, be it public health through virus or policemen. It has also been noted that much of this is being filtered for the domestic audience by all social platforms. Twitter's collapsing of such threads and stories is clear from comparing the website with tweetdeck. My concern is what happens when actual Americans are permitted to travel to other locations and the cognitive dissonance comes as shock to the system
posted by Mrs Potato at 9:12 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


Satire or not, I'm seconding what medusa and others have said about how refreshing or validating it is to see these obvious truths reported in such a matter-of-fact manner from a non-US perspective, especially counting the number of American media organizations who would never (through passive or active ignorance) publish something like this.

It's telling that I saw a special report cleanly tie together the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities with their treatment as second-class citizens and the sentiment behind the civil unrest after George Floyd's murder from an outfit like NHK rather than American corporate media. (Of course, this was after NHK fucked up a previous attempt.)
posted by Arson Lupine at 10:45 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry that I started the derail about whether there is a satirical element to this article. As Arson Lupine and others have pointed out, the best part of it is the very frank description of the reality of the situation here in the US. For example, the connotations of the term "state security forces" portray the reality on the ground much better than the word "police".
posted by Tehhund at 11:36 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


It's sort of hilarious watching Americans get pissy about this single article not being good while the rest of the world puts up with "not very good" genuine news media from the US all the time.
posted by knapah at 12:18 PM on June 27 [35 favorites]


Bummer - the site won't load for me, I even tried in different browsers. I was looking forward to reading TFA.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:26 PM on June 27


Never mind, it finally loaded. Yay!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:29 PM on June 27


(knapah, i favourited that comment as someone whose posting history on this site is apparently nothing but durian education. But it's okay, it's just exotic food, amirite, I'm not even talking about serious news)
posted by cendawanita at 12:31 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


It's sort of hilarious watching Americans

Who you calling American, pal? :)
posted by matthewr at 12:35 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


To criticize it for not being funny enough for the people being discussed seems to imply that it was done with the purpose of making the people being discussed laugh, which seems to be a tremendous miss of the point. We don't do this to other countries to make them laugh. Why would we expect them to do anything to make us laugh? It's an absurd idea. You want to laugh, read the Reductress.
posted by bleep at 12:55 PM on June 27 [12 favorites]


I liked the quotations around "elected".
posted by hoodrich at 1:00 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


For example, the connotations of the term "state security forces" portray the reality on the ground much better than the word "police".

For ICE/DEA, sure. For local police departments, “armed gangs” or “local warlords' forces” is probably more accurate.
posted by acb at 1:11 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Also from the same site, and relevant to recent MeFi activity: Thai netizens angry over first New York Times article they’ve read in 10 years.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:38 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I sent this to my friend (Native American, in case it matters), and she said in response:

That is the best article on the situation that I have ever read. I love it!!!!
It's so pointed. Factual. Direct. And super accurate. The way a news report is supposed to be. Whoever the journalist is, they adhere to journalistic standards to the letter!!
And slightly hilarious too.

posted by nanook at 2:22 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


He's also got a blog that he hasn't posted to in a while. One such post:

Dear Britain, Congratulations on your independence. Here’s what happens next. –The Global South.


I strongly recommend exploring this blog, it's hilarious.
posted by mumimor at 2:57 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


For example, the connotations of the term "state security forces" portray the reality on the ground much better than the word "police".

I would have gone with "militants."
posted by klanawa at 3:24 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this was good. I didn't ever get that it might be a bit satirical. A lot of NHK World English is a bit like that, some programs are so obviously so carefully scripted (probably things that they film twice, once in Japanese and again in English) as to sound really odd. Then the news is so just factual like "M says: blah blah", "N says: blah blerg". But sometimes I get a twinge of snark sneaking in because of what they choose to say and how they phrase it. It's pretty subtle. Anyway, compared to what passes as U.S. World News, almost any foreign World News program is 10x more actual World News. Long winded way of saying good article.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:03 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]




The Thais might be engaging in a bit of snark because they are one of only a very small few countries never colonised by Europeans.

Lists vary, but only Thailand, Japan, the Koreas and Liberia were never colonised at all. Others like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nepal, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Bhutan weren't colonised but "under European sphere of influence")
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Tonga was also never colonised.
posted by lollusc at 2:44 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Mate Ma'a Tonga!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:26 AM on June 28


Every single one of those countries was colonized, just not by Europeans.
Japan is the only debatable one, but talk to the Ainu about that.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:28 AM on June 28 [3 favorites]


and Liberia were never colonised at all.

debatable.
"...Others believed African-Americans should remain in the United States to fight against slavery and for full legal rights as American citizens. Some whites saw colonization as a way of ridding the nation of blacks, while others believed black Americans would be happier in Africa, where they could live free of racial discrimination. Still others believed black American colonists could play a central role in Christianizing and civilizing Africa.

The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. By 1867, the society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants."
posted by clavdivs at 11:23 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


Although I participated in it (apologies), this who was colonised by who thing seems like a weird derail. It's one of those things that stoneweaver once pointed out as a typical way mefites like to distract from uncomfortable discussions.
posted by lollusc at 5:02 PM on June 28 [5 favorites]


Haha, I'm the last person to find America self-destructing to be an uncomfortable discussion. It's fascinating to watch from afar, though.

Didn't mean to start a derail, just pointing out a piece of Thai national pride that others might not have been aware of.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:39 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I agree. I find it interesting that a satrical news story can garner a discussion on colonialism.

IMO, I don't read anyone distracting from the main thesis, if anything, folks are adding to the info. Now going on about Japanese occupation of Thailand might be a derail.
nice post.
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]



Also from the same site, and relevant to recent MeFi activity: Thai netizens angry over first New York Times article they’ve read in 10 years.
posted by Harvey Kilobit


I like the equal opportunity skewering that site is doing.
posted by thaths at 11:41 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


paywall!
posted by clavdivs at 3:08 PM on July 2


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