Two Thumbs Down for Steve Morgan’s Satire
By Alona Demmers
When a writer pens his thoughts on paper, whether it’s the plot for an adventure movie or a witty satirical article for the local paper, one can assume that there is a purpose or a motive behind the effort. After all, why would someone spend all that time formulating ideas on a subject and then typing it in the computer knowing all this hard work is purposeless and futile.
With this in mind and being someone who enjoys a “good” satire (given my sometimes wicked sense of humor), I jumped at reading Steve Morgan’s satirical article “La’au: The Movie, only to find it short of amusing and without legitimate motive. Aside from perhaps a boost to the writer’s ego (if that’s legitimate enough), hard as I try, I could not convince myself that there was a valid, corrective reason for why this article came to be or should even exist , not to mention, published. A satire exposes human folly and vice to ridicule with the intent to inspire social reform. Perhaps I need someone to enlighten me since the only motive I could scrape from this article in its simplest form is ill spirited and in its most productive form inciting intolerance and discord . I would venture to say that even the most positive person out there will fail to squeeze an ounce of inspiration for social reform from the aforementioned satire.
There is no doubt that the fight to preserve La’au has merit but let’s keep it truthful. As the young kids would say- keep it real. I am certain that the label “phobic mainlanders and outsiders” is not on the top of the “Why La’au Should Not Be Developed” list so why ridicule them now if it will not advance the cause. The word “outsider” of course is not the most coveted word in the English language. I have yet to meet a child who wants to be an “outsider” when he grows up. If there are “outsiders”, then there has to be “insiders”. So what qualifies someone as an insider? Does Mr. Morgan qualify as an insider since he is against “The Plan”. Did someone with authority anoint him as an insider or is he a self proclaimed insider? And what does this jab at labeling and stereotyping accomplish anyway? Who knows and God forbid, these cleanliness-obsessed, insect-phobic “outsiders” might be the first one in line to purchase a local child’s fundraising raffle tickets or Laulau plate. I do not know Mr. Morgan personally but I can bet you he was not born on Molokai and I can double bet you that he was an “outsider” at one time and a “mainlander” at best. Let’s keep it real.
One thing that’s real, having lived on the island for two years, is that about 80% of people I know on this island (both mainlanders and non-mainlanders) were not born and raised here and they are wonderful, giving humans who have contributed to the beauty and charm of Molokai. But now that we made it on the island, should we have a closed gate policy? Personally, I would feel very hypocritical if I embraced such an opinion. As humans, we have to be careful that we do not erase the social advancements humans before us have brought to our collective consciousness.
The other parameter of a satire that the writer has failed to meet is the so-called human follies that he chose to address. The cited Advantage #2 hits home for me. Is there human folly in self-preservation? Is there anything fundamentally and humanly wrong about the need to feel safe? Mr. Morgan might not find an occasional stray bullet a serious threat especially if it only exists in his hypothetical mind but for those of us who have had poachers (not hunters ) fire a rifle behind our homes early in the morning or at 3:00 in the afternoon, just in time to welcome the kids home from school, that stray bullet is much too real (mainlander or not).
I do have to take my hat off to the writer for accomplishing the tone of a satire. I could not top the style in which he delivered his sarcastic generalizations . His method of execution leaves no room for criticism but as Henry David Thoreau once said, “ Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something”. We all have special gifts and talents and obviously, this writer has a choice to use his talents to cause division or create unity. I do sincerely hope that Mr. Morgan aspires for the latter.
La’au: The Movie may or may not have the potential to be a blockbuster movie. I will leave that assessment for the movie critics to make. The movement to preserve La’au however is real. It is emotionally charged in and of itself and we all know that it has brought a lot of strife to the island. We do not need to use our neighbors as scapegoats for the cause and we surely do not need any more time and effort put into writing propaganda with divisive undertones that fan the flames of hate by highlighting our differences. Of course we all have differences. It is what makes us unique individuals but we also share a stronger commonality-our humanity.