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POLITICAL SATIRE DISCUSSION

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    Posted: 11 Feb 2018 at 10:10pm

Of all the mainstream genres here, political satire seems to be one of the most vexed (along with Historical Fiction).

Frankly, both are among my favourites, so I thought while we dick around and wait for scores, we might discuss these genres.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scarlet Screenwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2018 at 10:11pm


IMHO, Political Satire is easy.

First, it doesn't have to be comedy or about a politician (especially not Trump!) ... it just has to be politically topical. It can be serious ... deadly serious.  Gun Control. Assassination.  Abortion.  Affairs with interns.

A DEFINITION:  The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

It can be a serious allegory ... Arthur Miller's THE CRUCIBLE as a riff on the MaCarthy Era Communist Witchhunts ... or the current "ME, TOO" exposures ...

I did a gun range on the Mexican/American border where you could pay to shoot illegals crossing into Arizona ...

Just think outside the genre box ... or use it as a soap box ... take it up a notch.  Political satire is a weapon. 

If you want some good examples of Political Satire, check out the Facebook channel THE ONION or SURREALISTIC REALITY or just Google "Political Satire" ... a lot of people actually believe this xhit!

HERE'S A GREAT EXAMPLE:  http://www.facebook.com/SurrealisticRealityPage/videos/219308478642614/






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scarlet Screenwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2018 at 10:18pm

Here is the actual NYCMMM definition ... in seven years, I never read this, but it's pretty right:


Political Satire


A story that uses irony and sarcasm to expose human folly and vice in the political arena. Political satires often critique the status quo and, in doing so, offer alternatives and possibilities for improvements.


Solutions are not a requirement of political satire. Instead, satire’s job is to reveal problems and contradictions--it is not obligated to solve them. Common elements: wit, irony, sarcasm, parody, exaggeration, juxtaposition, double entendre.


Political satire books include George Orwell’s 1984 and James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. Political satire films include Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Wag the Dog (1997). 


In addition, most sketches involving actors playing real-world political characters on sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live are considered political satire.


(Interesting that they mention "1984", probably the greatest political satire ... Winston Smith, Liberty Gin and the Ministry of Truth ... if you've never read the book, do ... and see the 1984 movie with the late John Hurt and Richard Burton (in his last role), not the original 1950s movie). 









Edited by Scarlet Screenwriter - 11 Feb 2018 at 10:23pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote GallifreyGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2018 at 10:43pm
The best sci-fi/fantasy incorporates, or just straight-up is, political satire (if not satire, at the very least it's political commentary).

Heinlein's Starship Troopers (the book is much more explicitly a send-up of military culture and fascism, but the movie does a fairly alright job of retaining some of these elements)

Just about anything by OS Card (it beyond baffles me how left-leaning his work is, and what a bigoted right-leaning theocratic asshole he is in person), most obviously the Ender and Bean books, and the Homecoming quintology (although holy sh*t that last book is almost too preachy)

Andersen's The Little Mermaid is an allegory for the queer experience in the 19th century (and arguably still)

George Saunders' The Semplica-Girl Diaries - it's a short story. I can't tell you enough that you need to read it. It's a beautiful, haunting, heart-wrenching treatise on materialism, the excesses of capitalism, and the otherization of foreigners. (Also: you should read anything you can get your hands on by this man -- he's a genius)

You can even check out my story from FFC, Aquacultural Appropriation -- the given genre was sci-fi, but I wrote it 100% as political commentary. (Not saying this it the best example or anything, but it might be helpful to see a short story since all my examples are novels or longer stories).

I know a lot of people get scared by PS, but as SS and others have said ... "political" satire doesn't mean it's about politicians. Politics is nothing more than the study of human interaction. So the things you can explore in a PS piece are infinite ... it can be something as big as geopolitics or war, or something as intimate as a couple trying to negotiate who does which household chores, extrapolated to some kind of extreme.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dias Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 6:50am
Originally posted by GallifreyGirl GallifreyGirl wrote:

... "political" satire doesn't mean it's about politicians. Politics is nothing more than the study of human interaction. 

Definitely agree with this - and thanks for all the reading recommendations!

I think the unpopularity of the genre can be a blessing in disguise - competition can be much stiffer in genres like sci-fi, fantasy and horror which are a lot of people's areas of expertise. Political satire is also easier to accommodate random prompts because you can turn them into an allegory for something else.

Speaking from my own experience, political satire was my first ever genre in an NYCM competition. I didn't think of myself as particularly political even though there was a lot going on at the time (it was 2016, post-Brexit and pre-Trump...) But my story didn't end up being about anything so specific...it featured an authoritarian zookeeper and a runaway snail, and drew on general themes like race, immigration and the media rather than specific party politics. And it did well! I think you can cast the "politics" net pretty wide to cover broader social issues, and I've seen there is a thread suggesting that they change the genre from "political satire" to just "satire" - which I don't think would be a bad thing. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 2:10pm
So far, none of the "political satire" entries I've read have been...well, any sort of political satire. (Mostly it's better described as 'whining about the American elections in predictable ways', though I guess that's to be expected.)  I think it's a genre where most people don't actually get what satire is, and it's a very specialized market to begin with.  Anyone who can write basic literary fiction can probably manage genres like historical (there's nothing hard about that except research if you pick a period you don't know) or fantasy, but political satire's such a niche market and so partisan--I'd feel like I had to write a particular slant rather than anything I actually believed to appeal to what I suspect the audience bias is, which isn't helpful. Anyone drawing it is at a much bigger disadvantage than someone who normally writes, say, romance, having to write a ghost story.  

I mean, if you're going to ask for something where personal opinion/reader bias is so hard to avoid in rating, you might as well throw in erotica, too....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 2:14pm
Originally posted by jennifer.quail jennifer.quail wrote:

I mean, if you're going to ask for something where personal opinion/reader bias is so hard to avoid in rating, you might as well throw in erotica, too....


The first and second oldest professions; nobody is entire sure which came first and they bear such a striking resemblance half the time you can't tell one from the other. 

Satire, in general, is a slimy, sticky mess. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scarlet Screenwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 5:33pm

As promised, here are a couple of Political Satire entries ...

"Gun Deranged" was a Flash Fiction, Political Satire/Gun Range/A Mop ... Can't remember the score ... I'll try and look it up ... June, 2011 ... (I must have got top marks, because I moved on ... it was my first try at Flash Fiction)

https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-g18-gun-deranged_topic5358.html

"Fear Of Spiders" is actually Historical Fiction, but as it is set in the political arena and takes the piss, it could easily pass as Political Satire ... I got zero points.  Historical Fiction/Fear Of Heights/A Dictator.

https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r2-g7-fear-of-spiders-w-feedback-fukk-all_topic14876.html





I'll see if I can find some more ... Others should contribute, as well ...







Edited by Scarlet Screenwriter - 12 Feb 2018 at 5:51pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Geckomac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 11:09pm
Read my entry, please. "The Scent of Truffles". Political Satire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lookit There Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Feb 2018 at 11:48pm
I got political satire a couple of years ago in FF, and it was grueling. I finally came up with something I was reasonably okay with (not in love with it by any means), and got the big goose egg score. Ugh. Hopefully never again. I know Poli Sat can come in many flavors (even something as horrific and unfunny as 1984 fits the bill), but I hope it never darkens my doorway again. 
I would *love* to get Historical Fiction. I've written several stories in different genres that took place in the past. It's a great way to examine issues that are still relevant, with the remove of time. And the reader brings knowledge of what's to come after with them when they read - it's like negative space. I still hope I pull it one of these days. 


Edited by Lookit There - 12 Feb 2018 at 11:49pm
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