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Circulating on Facebook is this apparently long-running joke on Slate “in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.” In this world, America’s midterms would be covered thus:
WASHINGTON, United States—On Tuesday, voters in this country of 300 million, the world’s second-largest democracy and most populous Christian nation, will head to the polls for elections that will determine control of the upper house of the legislature and serve as a referendum on the country’s embattled ruling regime. While international monitors expect a mostly free and fair contest, questions have been raised about why the equivalent of the GDP of Montenegro is being spent on a contest to determine the membership of a body expected to accomplish little over the next two years. Human rights observers have also noted a troubling rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric stoked by far-right nationalist candidates.
President Barack Obama’s ruling party will almost certainly lose seats, but whether or not the opposition is able to take over the upper house will be determined by closely fought races in the nation’s torrid southeastern swamps, central agricultural region, and even frigid Arctic villages thousands of miles from the capital…
The vast fortunes spent and passions aroused are particularly noteworthy given that few expect the legislature to pass much in the way of meaningful legislation. America is still governed under an unwieldy 18th-century model employed by few other functioning democracies. With the executive mansion and legislature controlled by two different parties, there’s little hope of large-scale reforms.
While 2014 has seen a rash of military coups and America boasts both a staggering level of income inequality and the world’s most heavily armed populace, political forecasters say a violent uprising is still unlikely. While few are satisfied with the political process as it exists, most Americans are either apathetic about the state of affairs or deeply invested in the current system. Most are already gearing up for the all-important presidential election coming in two years. Not surprisingly, many expect it to be another brutal contest between the country’s two top political dynasties.
Read the whole thing, then tell me. The part that’s supposed to make us laugh — right? — is the comparison between the tone and tropes of this piece, supposedly a parody, and the tone and tropes of the real coverage of the elections. But are they that different? The parody sounds pretty much like a normal pre-election piece, to me.
What am I missing?
Image Credit: Memory Alpha.