Monday, October 23, 2006

Satire will save us

I've had a post in the making ever since I re-structured my links list and a few people asked me why I have the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on my link list grouped together with politics.
I suppose I didn't realise that what was obvious to me (satire always fills a function in political reporting) wasn't obvious to everyone else.

Unfortunately most of our news sources are so watered down, angled, conformed (the US media's reporting during the 2000 election for example) and more then often just plain wrong that alternatives are needed.
I read somewhere that more Americans get their news reporting from satirical shows then traditional news sources - I don't think that's true and very much hope it's not - but if you try to make sure to be properly informed (numerous, varied, international news sources, as well as shows like Counterspin for example) you can do hell of a lot worse then watching the Daily Show, Colbert, or similar as well.

I think that often when something is so ludicrously wrong, deadly serious and ridiciously under-reported at the same time all you can do to show all of this is to make a serious parallel in the form of a joke (see for example this clip I posted before).

All this was articulated so much better by Armando Iannucci on "how comedians are filling the gap where serious debate used to be" [the Guardian's tag-line] - an extract of this Tate Britain lecture was published here on the arts pages of the Guardian.

He's making the excellent point (especially valid in the US I think - mind you with my limited experience of it):

"[it] has come about for three reasons: politicians have stopped speaking to us properly, the media has stopped examining their actions in anything like a forensic way, and broadcast culture has become so watered down, so scared of fact, that people are less inclined to turn to anything other then entertainment for information."

I also noticed this post on Absurdity on the same subject this morning - as always more then worth reading!

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