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January 6, 2020

99 Luftballons

Jennifer Baker

Frederick waited with baited breath this week to see if our Washington County neighbors would defy the new balloon release ban and send, as the song says, 99 red balloons over the Frederick County line.

Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s ineptness or vices.

They say satire is dead and that was on full display this week as the Hagerstown Report “punked” the new balloon ban.

The Hagerstown Report recently announced a balloon release event after the passing of the ban by the Frederick County Council this past December. The event was set to release Trump 2020 balloons just west of the county to covertly glide across the line.  It was a floating, modern day tea party protest of the ridiculousness of banning balloons in a relatively small jurisdiction sandwiched between three states and several counties all at the discretionary mercy of the four winds.

The event was posted and readers wondered will they or won’t they?

Readers that is except, Kai Hagen and his supporters who immediately lost their minds online over the mere suggestion of the event. The satirical event then became the usual war of words over deplorable Trump supporters and snowflakes triggered over the event.

The balloon release event grew such attention even the Frederick New Post covered the story complete with quotes from Councilman Hagen on the horrors of such events.

Seriously, it was just a joke, a giggle at modern life not a horrific attack on Frederick County by evil balloon releasing Washington County neighbors.

A random scroll thru the Hagerstown Report page will get readers in on the satire quickly. For example, their next event on January 26th is a “Congrats” on the new baby to celebrate the nine month anniversary of the Antietam Cable Outage last year.

Sadly, what played out locally is just an extension of what comics and satire sites are reporting nationwide.

Standup comics now more than ever, face a crowd not knowing how they will receive anything.  Any perceived slight to anyone or anything can be met with career ending effects.

The great comics in the past were controversial, they picked on everyone equally. The audience laughed at each other and themselves. As everyone was included, everyone could laugh and for a brief time we could say yeah that’s me, and laugh at ourselves.  They also stirred public debate and change because it was done lighthearted and in a “we are all in this together” manner.

If everything is taken personally by everyone, how can we debate ideas on any issue?

So send in the clowns, we sure could use some, but maybe forgo the balloons, at least in Frederick County.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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