As real life moves beyond parody, columnists like Sloan face a daunting challenge. How do you make fiction sound stranger than fact? The Washington Post apparently feared we'd take Sloan's idea seriously. Hence the warning, "Budgetary satire."
Hollywood screenwriters also have it tough. How on earth do you satirize Congressional politics? Reviewing "The Campaign."the new comedy with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, New York Times film critic A. O. Scott concludes that you probably can't:
[T]here may be comfort in the thought that the American people would never elect clowns like these to any office. But then a glance at some of the clowns we do elect, perhaps especially to our national legislature, might lead you in the opposite direction. Really, the movie could not possibly go far enough unless the screenwriters (Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell) had abandoned all invention and transcribed the script directly from C-Span.
As for Wall Street, just imagine a screenwriter pitching his over-the-top financial farce: "This brokerage firm installs new trading software, see? It runs amok and costs them a fortune. All because they can't find the 'off' switch!"
Doesn't Sloan's scheme to take the Fed public sound more plausible?