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Serving Sentences Online

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The famous/notorious satire publication the Onion posted this story:

SACRAMENTO, CA--Faced with a mandate to cut the state's prison population by 30,000, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced Monday it would begin allowing prisoners to serve their sentences online. "Inmates are required to log in promptly every morning at 6 a.m.," CDCR secretary Matthew Cate said. "But make no mistake, this is not some online holiday resort prison. Offenders spend at least eight hours a day entering data and can only see visitors in the chat room once a week. The real advantage of the Internet penitentiary is that it streamlines the entire corrections process, allowing a standard five-year sentence to be completed electronically in as little as three weeks." Cate added that while there was still a problem with prison rape, inmates could report an assault or any other issue by clicking on the "Ask the Warden" button.

That's funny enough, but even funnier is that Doug Berman posted it at SL&P, identifying it as from the Onion but not otherwise indicating it was satire, and one of the more excitable and clueless commenters there went ballistic.

There is a principle I call Swift's Law, in honor of the great English satirist Jonathan Swift.  Any time you write satire or use irony, no matter how obvious you think it is, somebody is going to take you literally.

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That is both astonishing and hilarious. I wonder if the commenter on SL&P would believe that this story from the Onion was true:


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