Political Satire

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Political Satire and Presidential Decorum: How to Take a Joke

Discuss the ways in which past elected officials in the U.S. have found themselves the center of one comedic play or another. How have these individuals, from presidents to senators, reacted to the satirical jabs directed at them? Is it possible to maintain the decorum of an elected official in face of a grinning Voltaire? Be specific and really focus in on one or a select core of presidential and or political figures that really fit the bill. Focus on a genre or style of humor like satire and really explore the mechanics of this humor as used for substantive critique. Great potential here, enjoy the adventure.

  • just an awesome topic considering the political season is coming to an end. Use things such as late night comedy to analysis deeper. Saturday Night Live does an awesome display of political satire and persuasion. It also holds a bias that makes it even more interesting. – Brittanie 7 years ago
  • Don't leave out Amos and Andy. A political satire about the trial of Rodney King. – Munjeera 7 years ago

Political Satires - Old and New

The skepticism towards Politics is nearly as old as history of political system. Various literature throughout the history, including the Attic Comedy of Aristophanes, satirize the political systems and the prominent rulers.

In many ways, Aristophanes can still appeal to the modern audiences thanks to his unforgiving wits and humor against the leading politicians like Cleon. Comparing Aristophanes to the modern satirists such as stand-up comedians or cartoonists could help us understand which aspect of politics changed or remained the same since the ancient Athens.

For example, One thing to note is that Aristophanes frequently used ridiculous characters and exaggerated personalities to make this point. Has this been changed much? Does Aristophanes’ model lose its charm to the modern audiences?

Compare and analyze the characters, the comic elements, and the message of Arisophanes to the modern comedy(such as the Simpsons, South Park, etc) and others.

  • I really like the idea of comparing really old stuff to really contemporary stuff. Maybe it would be better to approach this as a comparative essay between, say, two well selected works, one from antiquity and one contemporary? Rather than a history, which just puts way to much on the writer's plate. – TKing 8 years ago
  • This could be a great topic for someone knowledgeable. Maybe you could help by listing some of the connections you want to make with today's satirists. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • I think it would work really well comparing Atistophanes with a modern satire (I wouldn't worry about the distance in time you're covering, just state you're taking two examples and not attempting to track everything in between). Politics/satire is one of those things that never changes over a thousand years, so depending on your modern source I'd imagine that in core content and method there is little in way of 'advancement'. Perhaps a history of satire/explanation of two dominant schools Horatian and Juvenalian would be a good place to start your article (and help articulate your own direction in analysis). Other interesting areas to explore may be the production of these satires/risk posed in publishing or performing, popularity of approaches/reception to a particular style then and now, etc. I'm sure you'll have a lot to say when you get narrowed down to examples, especially with the current media circus in American politics which is almost satirising itself!! It reminds me how the writers of the British Tv series The Thick of It, in response to calls for them to do a referendum special, said that they wouldn't/couldn't because the political game playing and internal chaos they used to satirise is now fully exposed and playing out in front of us. – JamieMadden 8 years ago
  • Ridiculous? Exaggerated? "Wag the Dog" is all of that and more. It's real "purty." – Tigey 8 years ago