Some things are worth waiting for
By Brett Kelly
A 10-minute coffee break has turned into a four-year ordeal for Red River College student Casey Challes.
In January 2016, the 31-year-old Red River College student stopped by for a midday pick-me-up, only to be left stranded and alone for years in what some experts are calling “typical Tim Hortons practice.”
“I’ve managed to survive solely on leftover Timbits and peach-flavoured beverage,” said Challes from her makeshift tent in the cafeteria. “I’m still trying to figure out how a business can survive if it takes more than four years to serve a damn coffee.”
Challes recently added an extension to her crude dwelling made primarily of newspapers, binders, and lost student cards. Her husband occasionally makes Red Cross-style supply drops but hasn’t been seen in months.
“It’s really putting a strain on my marriage,” she said. “I built the extension for him.”
At press time, Challes was burning lost student assignments to stay warm.
The above story isn’t true.
You’re a discerning reader—you knew that already. But did you consider the impact a little chuckle can have on our capacity to absorb and retain news?
I started thinking about this a lot after The Beaverton took aim at Tim Hortons—wasn’t the first time, won’t be the last. The headline, published in January 2015, read “Tim Hortons layoffs coincide with launch of new DoubleMeat Breakfast Sandwich.” The writer went on to imply the company used human bodies as the main ingredient in the new sandwich, describing rather bizarre and graphic scenes.
But the essence of the real-world news story was there.
Satire makes news palatable. Good satire writers distill current events to their essence, find an implied or—in some cases—an unrelated incongruity, and give us easily digestible bites of news as comedy.
Most critics say John Oliver is the new gold-standard of satirical news, due in large part to Last Week Tonight’s adherence to accepted journalism standards. Oliver—and many current topical and political satirists—understand their role as irreverent educators. They make us care about issues through comedy.
Laughing at issues isn’t an indication you don’t care. If anything, it’s an indication of the opposite. This is something that has been on your radar or in your mind enough that it sparked a reaction in you.
All comedy starts with a universal truth, and journalists are in the truth business. Taking the truth to an unexpected place breaks through the noise of monotony and despair to serve a public that desperately needs to re-learn laughter.
Satire is proof-positive that irreverence is the antidote to irrelevance.