Oftentimes, the best way to connect with people is through humor. Whether you’re trying to sell something, prove a point, lighten up a serious situation, or even just be friendly, nothing endears you to somebody else like making them laugh. That’s because there are few things that feel better than a hearty, genuine laugh.
That’s part of the reason that Adam Ford founded The Babylon Bee in 2016. Ford founded the company with the intent to create a satirical news network that could promote Christian and conservative values, something that is noticeably absent from mainstream media and social media. Ford sold The Babylon Bee to entrepreneur Seth Dillon in 2018, and the company has exponentially grown over the past five years, boosted by comedically viral stories such as “Motorcyclist Who Identifies As A Bicyclist Sets Cycling World Record”, “Trump Announces He Has Hidden 5 Golden Tickets Among Stimulus Checks”, and “NBA Players Wear Special Lace Collars To Honor Ruth Bader Ginsberg”.
CEO of The Babylon Bee, Seth Dillon, recently joined Morning Air to speak with John Morales about the influence of his company, the purpose and method of satire, and why it’s important to tell the truth.
“We’re often described in the media as a conservative version of The Onion,” began Dillon. “A lot of people have heard of The Onion, and I think that’s why people put it in that context, and I think that’s accurate to say.”
The Onion is a satirical news organization with secular roots that was founded almost thirty years before The Bee.
“We basically take whatever’s going on in the world – or the Church – and we satirize it; we caricature it to kind of draw out the absurdities of what’s happening, and draw attention to double standards, hypocritical behavior, and things that we need to examine and take another look at. Satire usually has that moral lens that it puts on to expose folly for what it is, in the hopes that we engage in a little bit less of it.”
Dillon continued, saying that if he had to summarize their mission statement, it would be “Ridiculing bad ideas”. And as John pointed out, we are not witnessing a scarcity of bad ideas in today’s world.
“It’s funny: I often quote G.K. Chesterton, who said in 1911 that the world has become too absurd to be satirized,” said Dillon. “That was over a hundred years ago, and I can’t even imagine what he would say if he stepped into today’s world where ‘math is racist’ and ‘men can become pregnant’.”
But as dark as times may seem, Christians know that we have the best news of all. Christ is risen and He will conquer all evil, sin, and death. It is with this attitude and demeanor that The Babylon Bee effectively takes the news stories and problems of today and presents them in a humorous and lighthearted way.
Dillon explained that hardwired into the human heart are both the desire for humor but also the desire for truth, beauty, and goodness. The more that you deprive somebody from the things that they are designed to desire, the more that they crave it. Bringing joy and some level of information to its audience through satire is The Bee’s unique way of delivering on these desires.
Dillon admitted that, by the very nature of comedy, all jokes will offend somebody on some level, but his hope is that their readers and viewers are mature enough to be able to laugh at themselves. Because comedy has been under so much scrutiny in past years, it hasn’t exactly functioned like that. And whether Dillon expected it or not, The Babylon Bee has been on the frontlines of the battle for free speech as they are fact checked (funnily enough) and de-platformed from different social media and services.
Dillon closed by recalling the beginning of his tenure as CEO of The Babylon Bee when they were faced with their first bouts of censorship. He admitted that he had the wrong reaction back then, believing that censorship was just and it was being carried out in the name of protecting people from being offended. However, he’s come out on the other side of that, saying that censorship is actually about controlling language, ideas, and expressions.
There are insane ideologies being pushed in today’s mainstream society, and they are a system of ideas that do not hold up to scrutiny. As Dillon explained, Christianity and humor are the best at exposing this insanity and evil for what it is, so the world will try to silence them first.
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