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What’s the Deal With the New York Times and Really Bad Drone Humor?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 10:09 PM

As the co-creator of the Lawfare Drone Smackdown and the publisher (though not the baker) of this drone strike cake, I should perhaps check myself before cringing at other people’s drone humor. But I can’t help but ask at this point what’s going on over at the New York Times? The staid paper of record is on a roll of truly terrible—deeply unhumorous—supposedly comic drone pieces.

The other day, our friends at the Times published perhaps dumbest piece of Op Art I have ever seen. Entitled “Brave New Drones,” it featured a series of fictional new drone models, allegedly developed in response to criticism of the administration over civilian casualties in overseas strikes. They include (I am not making this up), the PJ-451 Humiliator:

Loaded with intimate psychological details about its target, this advanced drone seeks out potential enemy leaders at their most tender moments and exposes them to troubling images from their early childhoods. Though the Pentagon has refused to comment on the exact contents of the Humiliator, sources indicate that the drone is prepared to reveal explicit information on a bed-wetting incident that took place with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 1962 at the Iranian seaside resort of Babolsar. The device can also allegedly dress any dictator in a set of childish pajamas and present him, unprepared, before a high school math class.

The also include (I’m not making this up either) the Momi 269 Oedipal Complexor:

Capable of drawing a dictator’s sons into upsetting conflicts with their overbearing fathers, the Oedipal Complexor drone tempts young potentates-in-training by assuming the likenesses of their very own mothers. The drone dances in sexy youthful outfits, feeds boys luscious grapes and other succulent sweetmeats, and designs scenarios in which oppressive fathers catch children at the heights of maternal infatuation. Violent clashes quickly ensue.

I let this pass without comment. Anyone can have a bad humor day, after all.

But then this evening, I noticed this video on the Times’s web site–on the front page, actually.

Look, guys, I’m all for drone humor. And I’m not above drone humor in questionable taste. But it’s got to be funny!

UPDATE: This is how it’s done. From The Onion:

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