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Does satire strengthen or weaken public perceptions of politics? While political satire is nothing new, talk shows and news parody shows have taken this form of entertainment to new—and arguably powerful—heights. As the social media-savvy millennial generation enters the voting pool, they continue to redefine notions of engaged citizenship and activism. Referencing scholarship on the state of democracy and media, McClennen and Maisel examine the critical potential of satire and the satirists most prominent in the nation today. They show us that one thing is certain: post-9/11 satire exercises tremendous influence on public opinion and is shaping a new version of US democracy.
The book studies the intersections between satirical comedy and national politics in order to show that one of the strongest supports for our democracy today comes from those of us who are seriously joking. This book shows how we got to this place and why satire may be the only way we can save our democracy and strengthen our nation.
Is the comedy of Stephen Colbert simply fun or is it powerful political satire? Does it entertain viewers or does it empower them? Or does it teach us that in today's media-saturated world those binaries make no sense? Colbert's America claims that Colbert's satire fosters critical thinking about social issues, encourages active citizenship, and entertains the viewer - all at the same time. The first book to cover the various themes and features of The Colbert Report, Colbert's America offers readers insight into the powerful ways that Colbert's comedy challenges the cult of ignorance that has threatened meaningful public debate and social dialogue since 9/11.
In an age when Jon Stewart frequently tops lists of most-trusted newscasters, the films of Michael Moore become a dominant topic of political campaign analysis, and activists adopt ironic, fake personas to attract attention -- the satiric register has attained renewed and urgent prominence in political discourse. Amber Day focuses on the parodist news show, the satiric documentary, and ironic activism to examine the techniques of performance across media, highlighting their shared objective of bypassing standard media outlets and the highly choreographed nature of current political debate.
This work examines what happens when comedy becomes political, and politics become funny. A series of original essays focus on a range of programmes, from 'The Daily Show' to 'South Park'.
A Decade of Dark Humor analyzes ways in which popular and visual culture used humor-in a variety of forms-to confront the attacks of September 11, 2001 and, more specifically, the aftermath. This interdisciplinary volume brings together scholars from four countries to discuss the impact of humor and irony on both media discourse and tangible political reality. Furthermore, it demonstrates that laughter is simultaneously an avenue through which social issues are deferred or obfuscated, a way in which neoliberal or neoconservative rhetoric is challenged, and a means of forming alternative political ideologies. The volume's contributors cover a broad range of media productions, including news parodies (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Onion), TV roundtable shows (Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher), comic strips and cartoons (Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks, Jeff Danzinger’s editorial cartoons), television drama (Rescue Me), animated satire (South Park), graphic novels (Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers), documentary (Fahrenheit 9/11), and other productions. Along with examining the rhetorical methods and aesthetic techniques of these productions, the essays place each in specific political and journalistic contexts, showing how corporations, news outlets, and political institutions responded to-and sometimes co-opted-these forms of humor.
We live in a time much like the postwar era. A time of arch political conservatism and vast social conformity. A time in which our nation’s leaders question and challenge the patriotism of those who oppose their policies. But before there was Jon Stewart, Al Franken, or Bill Maher, there were Mort Sahl, Stan Freberg, and Lenny Bruce—liberal satirists who, through their wry and scabrous comedic routines, waged war against the political ironies, contradictions, and hypocrisies of their times. Revel with a Cause is their story. Stephen Kercher here provides the first comprehensive look at the satiric humor that flourished in the United States during the 1950s and early 1960s. Focusing on an impressive range of comedy—not just standup comedians of the day but also satirical publications like MAD magazine, improvisational theater groups such asSecond City, the motion picture Dr. Strangelove, and TV shows like That Was the Week That Was—Kercher reminds us that the postwar era saw varieties of comic expression that were more challenging and nonconformist than we commonly remember. His history of these comedic luminaries shows that for a sizeable audience of educated, middle-class Americans who shared such liberal views, the period’s satire was a crucial mode of cultural dissent. For such individuals, satire was a vehicle through which concerns over the suppression of civil liberties, Cold War foreign policies, blind social conformity, and our heated racial crisis could be productively addressed. A vibrant and probing look at some of the most influential comedy of mid-twentieth-century America, Revel with a Cause belongs on the short list of essential books for anyone interested in the relationship between American politics and popular culture.
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