Somehow, The Babylon Bee managed to trigger conservatives on Tuesday. That came after a satire piece targeting Vivek Ramaswamy dropped.
The headline reads “Trump Promises Vivek An Administration Position Running The White House 7-Eleven,” an obvious illusion to the “Vivek is not MAGA” to “Vivek is MAGA again” whiplash we saw over the three proceeding days from the Trump camp.
Of course, good satire includes a lot of layers, and there’s much more to the joke than that.
What are the other angles? Trump’s top advisor had just ruled Ramaswamy out as a vice presidential pick while not doing the same for Nikki Haley the day before. The joke would then be that Ramaswamy is getting the scraps despite his devotion to the former president. “I’ll take what I can get at this point,” is one of the fake quotes in the piece.
Then there’s the Joe Biden connection to consider. Back in 2006, the current president infamously made this comment about Indian-Americans. I would assume that influenced the bit.
“I’ve had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
Despite the Bee making fun of everyone throughout its history, this bit of satire hit differently. The comments were full of conservatives who seemed genuinely offended. That included some very large pro-Trump accounts.
Since Biden is the one who made the comment, the joke should have been something with him in it. Then it would have been funny.— MAZE (@mazemoore) January 17, 2024
Chill… y’all are doing Vivek dirty with this one. pic.twitter.com/mj1RSC7U3y— Clandestine (@WarClandestine) January 16, 2024
So is the joke that Trump values him so poorly that he only sees him as a clerk at 7-11… or that you think he's a clerk at 7-11 because of a tired stereotype about Indian people?— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 17, 2024
Are we really at a place on the right where we are going to start putting boundaries around comedy? Isn’t that what the left does? I know people like Trump and Ramaswamy, but it is actually funny that Ramaswamy spent his entire campaign supporting the former president only to be immediately ruled out as a VP candidate while someone like Nikki Haley is still in the running.
Are we not allowed to joke about that while mixing in some stereotypes? No doubt, had this piece directly targeted Joe Biden, everyone would have found it hilarious.
The Bee’s CEO, Seth Dillon, gave the perfect response.
Some of our readers have expressed concern about this report, suggesting it did not meet the high journalistic standards they've come to expect from us. We want you to know that we've listened to you. We've heard your voices. And they are stupid. https://t.co/7uJVsnUbYA— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) January 17, 2024
Of note is that Ramaswamy didn’t complain about the joke. A general rule of thumb is that if the target of something didn’t get offended, you probably shouldn’t be getting offended for them. The Bee is satire, and they have no sacred cows. That’s what makes them consistently funny compared to The Onion. Embrace it.