I feel bad for younger people who now have to grow up in a world without access to proper comedic satire.
This isn’t to say the world was perfect in the “old days”, but if you are old enough to remember the days before the internet, you do realize there is a distinct difference now.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed is the complete lack of genuine satire and parody on television or anywhere in the mainstream. If you tune into SNL or any late night comedy show, you’ll see a never-ending stream of skits and “jokes” that are labeled as parody, but instead simply push the same narrative you can find on any news channel.
When the satirists are pushing the same narrative as the mainstream media, it’s not satire.
As I mentioned earlier, things weren’t perfect in the previous decades, but at least the satirists and comedians on TV had the courage to make fun of everybody.
For those who lived through the 90’s, you’ll remember that while the media loved Bill Clinton, he was mocked mercilessly by comedians. Countless skits and comedy routines took aim at his womanizing and shifty lying. It was all fair game despite him being a mainstream media darling. But that’s my point, the satirists and comedians were not afraid to go against the grain and against the establishment narrative.
Even if we move to more modern times like the explosion of the Daily Show on Comedy Central and later The Colbert Report. These shows became cultural phenomenons in the early 2000’s, and while they clearly leaned left early on, they did go after everyone almost equally.
Democrats and progressives could get lampooned at least occasionally the same way as conservative figures were.
But then that started changing as well. Suddenly any progressive figure was completely off limits. The only way they could be attacked was if they weren’t progressive enough.
Not only that, satire has lost any connection to comedy. The jokes are all just mean-spirited attacks that lack any nuance or humor. The whole point of satire is that it’s a bit of sweetness to help the medicine go down. A little humor allows people to drop their guard and accept a new perspective or a new angle. It works so much better than trying to beat someone over the head with an idea. That’s why satire has been so influential throughout history when combating establishment forces.
But sadly, it seems those days are long gone. Would you ever see a modern satire show go after Joe Biden like they did Bill Clinton? Would show after show pile on with jokes and skits showing Biden barely being able to string a sentence together?
You’ll never see it. And it’s not out of common decency, because those same shows have no problem showing anyone they dislike as the most evil people in the world. Even comparing Trump supporters or people hesitant about vaccines as “terrorists” or “plague rats”.
Luckily, there are green shoots popping up. Sites like the Babylon Bee, while biased, at least try to bring back the spirit of satire by lampooning those the mainstream media have protected.
It’s a start, and one day satire will return. It always does. But it’s gonna be a sad few years until it does.
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