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The real clowns

A fascist, a misogynist, and a murderer walks into a bar, and the barkeep says, “Tatay Digong! Would you like your usual drink?” 

While this classic joke format has seen countless variations throughout the decades, it probably still will not get as old and tired as the circus show our government has been putting on for the past year. Come and see the death-defying act of military personnel being injected with an unapproved COVID-19 vaccine! Witness P15 billion vanish into thin air right before your very eyes!

But perhaps the most-awaited part of this circus routine is the endless parade of clowns emerging from a clown car. We ooh as one clown pulls from his mouth a seemingly never-ending colorful string of words “hard GCQ”, “NCR+ bubble”, and “granular lockdown”. We aah as another clown starts throwing red darts at the crowd with inhuman precision. Somewhere onstage, yet another clown is playing with dolomite sand. For the first few minutes, it is mildly entertaining. But as clown after clown crawls out, it quickly becomes grotesque.

The LaSallian is no stranger to dealing with farce, as it is our yearly tradition to publish a lampoon issue every April. While for the people involved in the publication, it is a break from our usual order of business, the edition spells a daunting task as we try to dismantle, criticize, and mock the events shaping our society. Throughout this practice, the publication has received disapproval from some readers who question the need for such content. But as our current sociopolitical conditions prove, it is necessary that we take the boldly different approach that is our parodic writing in order to provoke critical thought.

Comedy, like any other art, has the power to hold a mirror to society and reflect the absurdity, the excess, and the sheer audacity. It renders those who might otherwise seem invincible as mortifyingly human for a brief moment.

We believe that satire, when done well, breaches what is taboo through humor, irony, and exaggeration—highlighting the unpleasant reality of the problems it ridicules. The funny thing is that the truth may not be so much stranger than fiction. We indeed have a president that disrespects women, a spokesperson that goes on a vacation with dolphins, and a task force that releases community quarantine guidelines like the next iPhone.

While comedy presents an opportunity to critique, it more importantly unmasks the truth. Beyond the jokes, the memes, and the sound bites, beyond the gross incompetence and the tantrums, lie the danger—a well-oiled machine of state oppression that knows exactly what it is doing. The killings we hear every night on the news, the increase of poverty, and the blatant corruption are not coincidences that the state cannot control. They are deliberate actions of a ringmaster leading an orchestrated circus of lies. But we are not falling for that spectacle anymore. As we write stories that lash at these machinations with caustic wit, may the silence between our laughter and discomfort reveal the absurd realities of our time—reminding us that we are obligated to disturb the comfortable.

By The LaSallian

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