WINOOSKI – The biggest news story of this week left many local satirists scratching their heads as to how to cover the passing of H.57 in the Vermont House. The bill was passed to insure protections in the state for abortions in the event that national laws and policies change in the future, although it does not change anything about current practice in Vermont regarding abortions.
“It’s a huge story,” said Adam Hall, Senior Editor of The Winooski, a local satire site that is both funny and stupidly terrible, depending on whom you ask. “When something happens in Vermont that puts it on the front page of every news site in the state, we feel an obligation to cover it as well. But there’s nothing we can really say about this that won’t get us in hot water.”
Bryan Parmalee, who writes the Parmalee Post for local paper Seven Days agreed with Hall, and noted that he was staying away from the topic. “If I poke fun in either direction, there are going to be hordes of angry Vermonters coming after me demanding an apology. Allowing abortions is not funny. Banning abortions is not funny. I’m going to write about a cheese festival or something instead.”
Angeline Chiu, an associate professor of classics and satire at UVM, says that “satire is meant to push the boundaries of comfort. Just because a topic is going to upset people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at it through a satirical lens. In fact, those topics are often the most important for the satirist to tackle. Except abortions, obviously. I wouldn’t touch that with the proverbial ten-foot pole.”
With no one in Vermont willing to satirize the subject, some worry that an important part of the critical thinking process regarding abortions may be lost, and that residents will remain polarized about the topic, unwilling to discuss, analyze, or in any way compromise. Without the ability to see things in a new light, to exaggerate possibilities to the absurdist extreme, to put everyone in someone else’s shoes, it can be hard to learn and grow as individuals, and as a society. We promise to continue to hit the uncomfortable subjects head-on, even if it is upsetting to some of our readers. Please come back tomorrow to read our insightful and pointed take on cheese festivals or something.
Image Credits: VTDigger.