There is a point to satire

Published 5:21 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018

No one likes to be made fun of. This is a truth everyone is aware of, yet no one thinks about until it affects them.

This situation has recently been on the minds of Valley officials after it was discovered that a Facebook page titled “The City of Valley” created last year was being used to poke fun at the city. This includes making light of the closing of the Steak ‘n Shake on Fob James Drive and joking that grass on the side of the road had grown so high it could be baled for hay.

Mayor Leonard Riley released a statement earlier this week asking the page to remove the city’s official seal, citing it was trademarked and thus its usage was illegal.

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In a later interview, Valley councilman Randall Maddux added that companies considering moving to Valley might be persuaded otherwise if they viewed the page.

The seal has since been changed and now features old and torn down mills, fast food restaurants, swimming and an alligator.

According to the page, “After the city council meeting this week, it was decided that our Facebook page needed a facelift. While we don’t have a budget for graphic design, some of our staff got together and worked tirelessly on this new logo. We feel this represents the Valley area as a whole. The 4 Mill Villages are represented, we don’t want to leave anyone out. We also have a few things that the area is known for, broken down mills, fast food joints, a nasty river to swim in, and don’t forget the new mascot the Lake Harding Alligator!”

This move continues efforts made to poke fun at the area as a way of drawing attention to problems.

Both sides make a good point. New businesses and industries might be turned away if they see many of the, admittedly minor, issues that plague the area. Conversely, the use of satire to draw attention to societal woes is one inherent to the country.

The City of Valley is well within its rights to ask that the official, trademarked seal be removed, but the page is under no obligation to stop posting. If the posts were overtly mean-spirited, then this would be an entirely different conversation.

Instead, the city should consider the page as a suggestion box of sorts, where someone who obviously loves the area wants to draw attention to problems with the expectation that they can and will be fixed.