With a comic incision on traditional ideas, satire mirrors the dreadful aspects of society. Satire, like great speeches and novels, is a fundamental tool of social creation that is intended to encourage, teach, and mock wrongdoings. Notably, humor is portrayed as a critical instrument in exposing instances of cynicism, inequality, and tyranny plaguing culture. As a result, satire is more than just a means of entertainment; according to LeBoeuf, “it is a critical feature of a democratic society and a way to broach taboo subjects, especially in times of crisis” (LeBoeuf 18). Satire emerges when political discourse is in crisis, and with respect to this, it becomes significant to utilize satirical comedy in order to deride any abuse of power. In fact, it denotes to be a form of political engagement in the current modernized society. As such, the use of irony, humor, ridiculing and exaggeration, as well as criticism on the people vices in the context of contemporary politics, helps in realizing profound changes in the society.
Political satire in the SNL Republican Debate (Cold Open)
This is an SNL sketch that stands out, in particular, owing to its political satire that is strongly highlighted. The show satirizes the republican dates. “Alec Baldwin is playing Republican Donald Trump and Kate McKinnon playing Democrat Hillary Clinton” (On Point). The viewer notices that some of the satire depicts to be plainly silly for example when Taran Killam states that “Canadians are well-liked. I’m not” (On Point). However, the majority of the parts evidence vital satire that touches on the political situation at the time of its performance. Darrell Hammond is portrayed as Donald Trump, and he torments poor Jeb Bush. Notably, this is undeniably correct. This satire was shown when the country was anticipating an election where Hillary Clinton-the Democratic presidential candidate and Donald Trump – the Republican presidential candidate were a battle for voters. They performed the “Debate Cold Open” sketch. Gladwell notes that “We live in the golden age of satire. It’s almost to the point where we seem to conduct as much of our political conversation through humor as through the normal media”. Character assassination has been a critical factor used by politicians to destroy other politicians’’ reputation.
This political satire manages to bring out one of the best political humor in history and especially during the election season. Evidently, political journalists across wide ideological spectrum tried to make an understanding of Donald Trump and his voters. The satire depicted that Trump was a unique candidate. This satirical sketch also sought to highlight the flaws of every political candidate before election. Through the satire, it is revealed to the audience that political figures view that racial profiling should be a de facto anti-terrorism policy. Again it is insinuated that the second amendment communicated to Hilary; a presidential candidate that the policy of gun control had to be established. It is satirical that Donald Trump uses words such as “nasty woman” and “bad hombres” whereas he claims that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” this makes the audience laugh and think of his contradicting statements (On Point). Still, McKinnon voices out the imaginable frustrations that an actual candidate such as Clinton faces that are left unsaid in the political atmosphere. Satire is also evidenced when McKinnon questions “What two better people are there to talk about women’s issues?” She says that “Me, a woman who has had a child and has taken birth control, and him, a man who is a child and whose face is birth control” (On Point).
The satire works towards addressing political policies and doctrines that deviate from the social order in the American society. It derogates a subject through making it appear ridiculous as well as evokes attitudes of amusement, scorn, contempt, and indignation through using laughter as a weapon of communication. These vices are exposed in the satire for the betterment of the society. In view of this, the satire helps to make a difference in the way matters were in the political situation. Here, one learns what citizens need in wide sources of life, for example, the anti-terrorism policy which should be established to keep people safe. Gladwell says that “liberal Israelis began to despair about the direction of their government under Benjamin Netanyahu” (Gladwell). The satire manages to make a connection between the audience and the political figures who are the vital agents of change. Notably, the entire depict to be a literary and artistic cultural response that features the social-political parameters during political tensions. Satire helps to highlight serious concerns along with illuminating societal scandals and injustices.
Many people criticize satire as being offensive and view it as a form of disrespect. However, satire is a power of ridicule and an influential form of art having the ability to pinpoint the deficiencies in certain human behaviors and the social issues. Satire is entertaining and hilarious and has the ability to reach a wide audience. Satire has been a significant tool in criticizing political vices, folly and human behavior with the intent of persuading the audience in viewing disdainful and thus encourages a social change. Notably, it uses irony that is humorous in pointing out these critical challenges.
Gladwell Malcolm. Satire Paradox: Revisionist History Podcast. September 14, 2016. https://blog.simonsays.ai/satire-paradox-with-malcolm-gladwell-s2-e10-revisionist-history-podcast-transcript-37119b0bf8ae. (Accessed 13 October, 2017).
LeBoeuf Megan. The Power of Ridicule: An Analysis of Satire. University of Rhode Island Digital Commons. http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1065&context=srhonorsprog (Accessed 13 October, 2017).
On Point. Saturday Night Live’ Hits A Home Run On Political Satire. October 28, 2016 http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2016/10/28/snl-election-2016-clinton-trump. (Accessed 13 October, 2017).