• This topic has 25 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by hols2.
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  • Is satire fundamentally broken?
  • Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    (Topically clickbaity title)

    Further to the Trump thread, I mentioned this viral video as an example of how satire seems to backfire/be misused.

    (NSFW)

    Read the comments beneath the video and tell me if satire isn’t fundamentally broken?

    Narrative: ‘Feminists are not human’
    Comments: ‘If I see a woman drowning I won’t save her’

    I know it’s a young demographic (video gamer channels) bit somehow that makes it even worse?

    Premier Icon grum
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    I’m not reading the comments but yes, it is. I blame Surkov and his acolytes (like Dominic Cummings).

    Premier Icon p7eaven
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    Really? How so?

    So many questions.

    As things are panning out it seems that social media content ( ‘the new media’ ) isn’t really regulated. And who wants regulation? Fascists/communists, that’s who!

    And this is championed. This includes:

    – No real requirement to credit content/ask for permission
    – No real requirement to be factual
    – ‘Rewards’ for dishonesty/misleading narratives/clickbait are generally higher
    – No real disincentive for being dishonest/misleading
    – ‘invisible hand’ of comment moderation. ie the creator of a viral video simply deletes any (majority of) comments exposing his content as a lie/misleading.

    I don’t have any reason to believe that he is in the employ of C*mmings 😎

    I call it ‘hypertabloidism’ and the genie is long out of the bottle.

    So ‘all the news fit to print’ is not a new thing. But as our ‘news’ becomes ‘social media’ then it’s simply a scrum of confirmation bias and outrage-bait. Rewards remain high for those who milk the narrative. I know of the bots and the shadowy Eastern European rumour-mills. That fault lies with the advertisers who pay them, surely. Yet popularity itself is also currency. Even for gamer kids who just want to be popular on Youtube/twitch/ticktock etc etc. Or are they too in the employ/influence of shadowy figures in government back-rooms? Really?

    So I don’t buy the ‘big conspiracy’ theory as much as I buy the ‘people don’t care to factcheck‘. And ‘us vs them feels good’?

    Premier Icon hols2
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    This is a copy and paste of what I said in the Trump thread:

    There was a thread a while back about old TV shows that are now considered offensive. Many of them were (garbage like It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, for example. Problem is when you have characters like Alf Garnett/Archie Bunker, who were intended to be ridiculous buffoons. I used to think that satirical shows like that served a useful purpose of exposing racism, the last few years have made me completely rethink that idea. Most people recognize that the characters are racist and their behavior is offensive, but for racists, it just serves to normalize the behaviour and they learn that they can get away with being offensive by portraying it as a joke or saying they are just being ironic. This is Donald Trump’s strategy – say offensive things then just claim it was all a joke and his critics lack a sense of humour.

    On a related note, many Breaking Bad fans did not understand that Walter White was a monster and hated on his wife for being a spoilsport and nag. They’re so deluded about things that Anna Gunn got hate mail for playing the character.

    Premier Icon MSP
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    Sometimes audiences misread the intentions, Gordon Gekko “greed is good” was meant to be seen as a monstrous character gets worshipped by a generation of yuppies.

    In the UK the main satirical shows over the past 20 years have been weekly media reviews HIGNFY and mock the week. So that elite band of media barons still get to dictate the narrative. Murdoch keeps false allegations of putting wreaths on terrorist graves and hosting antiemetic meetings for one leader in the headlines for months, and lets the others own racist column slip from the news overnight. Then those satirical shows repeat the message and are being played by the media they are meant to be lampooning.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
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    Then those satirical shows repeat the message and are being played by the media they are meant to be lampooning.

    Spot on.

    This is it – you can’t counter lies and misinformation. Not without further popularising the very thing that you wish to counter. All it does is send traffic their way for them to ‘edit’ and manipulate further.

    You can of course make a dry takedown/exposé, but even The Cook Report had sell-by date? And the nature of bullshit is as swift as Swift noted.

    To paraphrase: The patient is dead by the time the cure catches up, by which time his children are already infected by a ‘new’ strain of the same virus.

    Premier Icon binners
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    I’ve started watching the thick of it from the start. Considering it’s not that old, it seems like a quaint world from decades ago.

    Because the basic fundamentals – like an MP caught up in, say, a corruption scandal would resign – just no longer apply. We now live with a shameless political class who consider themselves above both the law and any idea of morality or accountability. They now just shrug and brazenly carry on as before

    Armando has said himself that it just wouldn’t work any more as modern UK politics in the post-Brexit world is now just beyond satire

    Premier Icon chakaping
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    Political satirists certainly have a very tough job now, especially with Trump. But cultural satire – Brexit, racism, etc – offers very rich pickings.

    But are you saying satire is “fundamentally broken” because a YouTube comments section is full of idiots and trolls?

    Are you new to YouTube?

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    But are you saying satire is “fundamentally broken” because a YouTube comments section is full of idiots and trolls?

    Is that really all you get from that? Most of those comments are from young people who are genuinely horrified at what they are seeing. Most of the comments that are exposing the channel for being misleading were deleted by the channel in order to drive the subscriptions and ‘likes’. For over two years. Now he’s finally ‘come out’ and done a Trump. ‘Yeah I knew it was satire but yadada’

    +4 million views. And he’s only one copycat of scores of other identical channels who ‘covered‘ the same ‘story’ in the same way.

    Youtube is just one (major) stream of ‘new media’. I’m just using the OP as a neat example of how satire is unwittingly instrumental in it’s own demise, and so then even adds fuel to the same fire that it may have hoped to dampen. How the narrative/political direction of a generation can be changed from a teenager’s bedroom. Traditional media not required.

    Likewise, it’s a ‘woke in-joke’ that Cohen’s ‘Bruno‘ isn’t a real homosexual. But it’s just further proof to homophobes/the impressionable/targets of the satire that homosexuals are ‘deplorable people‘?

    Premier Icon inkster
    Free Member

    Something is fundamentally broken when it no longer works for its intended purpose.

    Satire still retains the cathartic quality that is embedded in comedy, being able to laugh at things that affect us that are out of our own control.

    What it’s lost is the ability to hold its subjects to account, to speak truth to power as it were. (Armando’s observation).

    The danger is that it then becomes a potent tool for bad faith actors. The material enters a feedback loop where it can be weaponised by the original targets of that satire. The targets, (Farage and his like) then control the narrative, ergo my observation that on HIGNFY Farage would invite as much abuse as possible, sucking it all up as he rocked his head back and guffawed at himself.

    What was it that Nietzsche said, “That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” or something like that?

    Premier Icon baboonz
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    It’s not dead. However you have to be more careful with content. Also, its hard sometimes to tell between satire and reality since some media channels think “satire” just means repeating something whilst frowning.

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Full Member

    I’m still continuing my sporadic (and seemingly one man) campaign to make Media Studies a core subject in UK schools…

    That kind of bollocks is why it’s needed.

    Premier Icon kelvin
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    Satire isn’t broken, objective truth is.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    Is satire broken or do we have 2-3 generations now who are incapable of critical thinking? Chicken and egg maybe?

    I’m not sure.

    Premier Icon sirromj
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    This is what happens when you put a 40″ tv in a four year old’s bedroom 😉

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    ^
    This is what happens when we’re over forty and think teens watch TV/don’t use their mobile device for media ingestion 😉

    https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/app-and-mobile/mobile-youtube-watch-time-statistics/

    https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/youtube-teens-popular-facebook-social-media-study-1202827539/

    Joking apart, whichever device/platform – It seems that our parents generation also swallowed tabloids whole and passed some of that attitude on to their kids (us). Gen X have been complacent. Maybe placated by ‘clever satire’. Now it’s even less regulated (for accuracy/truth) so basically it’s the sociopaths/narcissists/idealogues who rise to the ‘top‘ in greedy pursuit of subscribers/revenue/control of the whole narrative. This is Trump’s world and it goes back to the basements of chanology, talk radio, even libertarian movements. It mostly all stems from the US but the internet in the English-speaking world is a cultural super-spreader. Rich pickings for the same (t)rope(s)

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    I actually identify as an attack helicopter 😆

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    ^ I remember those days. And feared what would happen. It did happen. Multiple generations now resemble a 180 degree misunderstanding of Fincher’s ‘Fight Club’

    Premier Icon willard
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    Starship Troopers had this problem… Wasn’t Johnny Rico’s low grade in Media Appreciation one of the factors that made him not a complete lost cause?

    I agree though, a structured education from an early age into how to interpret what you read, see and hear for news would be a good idea but, like a lot of things, the people paying for it don’t want change. The current behaviour fits their ends now and, like gerrymandering, is within their power to control.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    Is satire broken or do we have 2-3 generations now who are incapable of critical thinking?

    Neither.

    Really.

    The younger generation seem more radical and politically engaged than they did in my day. Possibly because they are disenfranchised to an even greater degree than Thatcher’s children.

    Again, please don’t judge society in general from YouTube comments, however clever it makes you feel.

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    Again, please don’t judge society in general from YouTube comments, however clever it makes you feel.

    That’s not true in either sense. Not for my part at least.

    Premier Icon hols2
    Free Member

    Premier Icon p7eaven
    Free Member

    ^Thanks hols2 but the article istelf is behind a paywall. What’s the gist?

    Premier Icon inkster
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    In a post satire world you don’t write satire anymore, you let the subject do the writing for you.

    Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) Tweeted:
    How to medical https://t.co/0EDqJcy38p https://twitter.com/sarahcpr/status/1253474772702429189?s=20

    Premier Icon hols2
    Free Member

    What’s the gist?

    Just after the 2016 election, I thought I had a great idea for a novel. The new president, so impressed by an alt-right pundit who keeps popping up on conservative cable news, decides to hire him as “thought czar,” to show all the departments and agencies in Washington how to think. I envisioned the main character as a cross between Laura Ingraham and Malcolm Tucker.

    I got as far as an outline of the story before I realized the flaw in my plan. Although the new administration seemed at first like a target-rich environment for satire — with nepotism, narcissism and incompetence all in great abundance — there was no way my imagination could compete with the real thing.

    Satire is all about finding the sweet spot between reality and absurdity. But that presupposes there’s a gap between those two poles. Once the ostensibly pro-life president receives experimental treatment — tested on cells derived from fetal tissue — for the disease, reality and absurdity merge, severely squeezing the space for satire.

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    At the same time, good political satire should be imbued with the spirit of speaking truth to power. But what does that concept mean when the powerful are impervious to truth telling? It’s hard to expect a novel to pack a punch when even facts, stated clearly and directly at an impeachment hearing, have no impact. And besides, pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes doesn’t have much value when the emperor himself is swinging his swollen belly at the crowd and yelling, “Hey, everybody, look at me!”

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