With my book How To Confuse A.I. coming in May, I feel a need to set the table regarding who and what exactly I am parodying, or satrizing, and anticipate any need to protect myself from wealthy men with lawyers.
The book has a short introduction, where I spell out a long list of comedy and science fiction works (books and movies) that I reference in the story (dystopian future as a comedy anyone?).
I might not have included every reference, though, Maybe with this post, I am rewriting my introduction a little bit.
For example, I did not spell out exactly which country I have borrowed a few of the more disturbing high tech surveillance practices from. It's a big country. One of the biggest. Lots and lots of people, all of them living under constant government surveillance. The country's name rhymes with Bina.
I'm actually not too worried about that country getting mad at me. I would love nothing more than to have my book banned in some huge country, simply because I made fun of them a little bit. That would be awesome!
I'm more concerned about a few rich Americans, who...sort of...well, let's say, I satirize them a little bit too.
But first, no, let's bring up the First Amendment, and talk about a lot of other satire that has been protected by courts over the years. Why? Because - I'm just being honest - I actually am a little scared of rich guys with lawyers, and I want to preemtively stop them from suing me.
We don't have to look any further than Saturday Night Live, especially the entire four years of Alec Baldwin satirizing our previous bumbling, egomaniacal, President. If Trump COULD have stopped SNL and Baldwin from making fun of him, he definitely would have. The fact that Trump was powerless to stop them is a testament to the power of the First Amendment, as tested in many many courts over the years.
I looked this up. I'm at scholarship.law.unc.edu reading about this topic. I'm quoting: "Satire may be more readily deserving of Frist Amendment protection because it can be viewed as a form of commentary." The write-up goes on to list and discuss several cases where plaintiffs tried to sue someone for making fun of them. Courts have overwhelmingly sided with the defendants (the comedians).
So... who is this guy, Tyrell Elon Zuzerzos? He's nobody, of course. He's a fictional character. In my homage to previous works I have of course borrowed the name Tyrell from Blade Runner. Eldon Tyrell runs the Tyrell Corporation. He is the maker of the 'Replicants,' the simulated humans. I just took his last name and made it my character's first name. 'Elon'? I don't know. Just a good-sounding collection of letters. Zuzerzos? Hm, starts with 'Z," ends with 'Zos.' Who knows? What do you think? I think it's all made up and isn't based on anyone. (If you saw my facial expression right now, you would see how SINCERE I am.)
Maybe you can help me. If you can think of any high powered tech CEO's out there, who run multi-billion dollar corporations, who believe that they are doing something AMAZING for humanity, who maybe, just maybe have too much of a Messianic view of themselves, let me know. I would LOVE to know if there is anyone like this in the world. If you can point me in their direction, maybe I still have time to include them in my..in my, uh...First-Amendment-protected satire.
March 14, 2022