Publication / The Daily Beast
September 12, 2013
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How to Kickstart World War III in Syria: A YouTube Parody Primer

Are you a hip young Obama supporter? Interested in helping to raise $1.6 trillion for his administration’s latest miscellaneous military action? This Second City parody might be just for you, says Miranda Green.

What the world needs now is a strong dose of satire.

Faced with a near-broke nation and the moral imperative to punish Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria for using chemical weapons, an intrepid group of young Obama supporters has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for World War III—or whatever the president wants.

The online crowdfunding petition—helpfully named “Help Kickstart World War III!”—is part of a parody YouTube video from the Second City comedy troupe asking donors to help raise $1.6 trillion to support the Obama administration’s latest miscellaneous military action.

Since the video was uploaded to YouTube on Monday, it has racked up more than 800,000 views.

“It was kind of two-prong,” said skit writer John Loos. “I was interested in the nation’s reaction to the Syria stuff and seeing the political sides kind of flip sidesfrom where they were five or 10 years ago with Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The video asks what type of people support Syrian intervention and why. Their answer: it’s reflexive Obama-voting liberals who support the president for the best reason there is: “Because Obama.”

The video features four people who fit the stereotypes of an Obama campaign ad—mixed race, young, and entrepreneurial. Talking directly to the camera, they explain why they want to help fund World War III under the auspices of their group, “Americans for Whatever Barack Obama Wants Did You Know He was Friends with Jay Z?”

After all, when they voted for him in 2008 and 2012, they “promised to support him no matter what.”

The video goes on to provide each character’s reasoning for supporting the next world war, ranging from “It’s a very important war that Obama tells me is very important, so it must be” to “The $1.6 trillion that we raise will help us truly put the liberal in neoliberal.”

“Comedy can work as a sugar coating for tough topics. We live in a time where people are pretty sensitive.”

Conservative publications such as Glenn Beck’s The Blaze first championed the video for its depiction of Obama voters as mindless followers, but Loos said liberal publications later followed suit, helping it to attract thousands of views.

“The idea is so ludicrous, it’s obviously something that no one would support, so I think there’s a commonality in that,” he said. “Comedy can work as a sugar coating for tough topics. We live in a time where people are pretty sensitive.”

The video goes on to sell the proposed war as sustainable, social media–based, and carried out by “rockets controlled by iPads” and “drones that play the Lumineers while they attack.”

So what are the benefits of donating to this fake Kickstarter campaign? According to the video: getting a shout-out from the group on Twitter, a piece of rubble from a war-torn country kissed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), or a day pass to leave your local refugee camp—since after the war it’s likely you’ll end up in one.