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What Counts as Political Satire?

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Littledaylight View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 12:16pm
I was assigned political satire for this round, and it was a challenge because I've never been into reading polsat nor have I ever formally written it. 

I cranked out my best attempt at a sarcastic look at a specific political idea, but after submitting started to wonder... what exactly qualifies as a polsat, and are there specific rules in the structure of this genre?

How exactly is a polsat written and what defines it? I did read the genre description on the site but I was still left with questions.

I think the genre is an unusually specific one while also being unusually general. 

What are your thoughts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 12:34pm
I loved the NYC Midnight definition - especially the part about solutions not having to be part of it - because I didn't want to write a morality play, just a slice of someone's life. 

EDIT: Sorry, I missed where you said you'd read the definitions! Oh well, I'll leave this here for context. I just kinda guessed for mine

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.




Edited by BarbaraFL - 16 Jul 2019 at 1:00pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mystic Platypus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 12:55pm
Judging by your synopsis, I think you’re okay. When I got PolSat in the SSC I was terrified because I didn’t think I was qualified to tackle the political landscape. But the truth is that everyone has an opinion about something, and if you can just exaggerate those opinions and sprinkle in a little humor, you’ve got a satire. Can’t wait to read your story :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote manifestlynot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 2:09pm
One of the judges for my polisat last year said "With political satire, there has to be a solid punch after the initial sweetness of the sugar-medicine combination. Powerful examples of this genre lay down the bitterness and the revulsion and even the *nausea* of the reality of the political landscape late in the story, and it knocks you off balance. The goal of political satire is to provoke amusement, recognition and then repulsion and horror." I really liked that comment (even though he/she was saying it as a criticism because I apparently did not pack enough of a punch, lol) and think of it often when it comes to polisat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cwayward Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 2:41pm
I wish I'd thought of something more biting for my political satire. It sounds like the feedback is quite helpful which is good. I'm a first-timer so lots to learn!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote BarbaraFL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

One of the judges for my polisat last year said "With political satire, there has to be a solid punch after the initial sweetness of the sugar-medicine combination. Powerful examples of this genre lay down the bitterness and the revulsion and even the *nausea* of the reality of the political landscape late in the story, and it knocks you off balance. The goal of political satire is to provoke amusement, recognition and then repulsion and horror." I really liked that comment (even though he/she was saying it as a criticism because I apparently did not pack enough of a punch, lol) and think of it often when it comes to polisat.

Wow, that's great feedback. I don't think I lived up to it with my entry but this is really great information.

Edited to add: I LOVED Mystic Platypus' A Cure For Living Poorly from the story story comp and I think it does meet these criteria. I still think about that story!


Edited by BarbaraFL - 16 Jul 2019 at 2:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote fiberopticduck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 3:07pm
I do not think I am good at political satire (and guess what I got Disapprove), but for a comedy sketch writing course I did in the past we had to do a topical sketch (blergh)... and one of the things I latched onto from that was that you can take your thesis or opinion of the topic - or even exactly what's happening - and wrap it around something else to find the comedy in it. In comedy, it's referred to as mapping (I'm sure it's not just comedy though...). One of my favourite examples is the UCB sketch about the BP oil spill - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM - (and peep a lil Kate McKinnon!)

ANYWAY, sorry for my rambling interpretation, but I too was saddled with political satire for this one... and so I just did the mapping thing haha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Littledaylight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 4:18pm
Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

"Powerful examples of this genre lay down the bitterness and the revulsion and even the *nausea* of the reality of the political landscape late in the story, and it knocks you off balance."

I guess where I'm a little confused is that I'm not representing/exaggerating the reality of the political landscape. It's so hard to explain what I've done without spoilers. So I'll put a minor spoiler below in white text... highlight to read.

My story advocates gun rights by making fun of the notion that if guns were banned, the criminals would give them up. So it's an exaggerated version of a world where everyone cares about the law and thus gun banishment really does mean the complete end of gun violence and safety for all. 

That's also the reason I'm pretty sure I'll make people angry. Probably more than half the readers would support gun banishment. 

But does this sound like an effective political satire? I guess it does highlight the revulsion of the political landscape by showing how silly an idea is that many people support... Which goes to show how confused so  many of the people are. 


Edited by Littledaylight - 16 Jul 2019 at 4:21pm
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https://forums.nycmidnight.com/r1-h115-political-satire-lawabidin_topic22197.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote manifestlynot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 4:31pm
Originally posted by Littledaylight Littledaylight wrote:


But does this sound like an effective political satire? I guess it does highlight the revulsion of the political landscape by showing how silly an idea is that many people support... Which goes to show how confused so  many of the people are. 

It sounds effective to me! Airy and light overtones + very dark undertones + absurdity = effective political satire. I'm one of the readers who take the opposite view so if I'm convinced after reading it, you'll know it hit home Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jennifer.quail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2019 at 4:33pm
Originally posted by Littledaylight Littledaylight wrote:

Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

"Powerful examples of this genre lay down the bitterness and the revulsion and even the *nausea* of the reality of the political landscape late in the story, and it knocks you off balance."

I guess where I'm a little confused is that I'm not representing/exaggerating the reality of the political landscape. It's so hard to explain what I've done without spoilers. So I'll put a minor spoiler below in white text... highlight to read.

My story advocates gun rights by making fun of the notion that if guns were banned, the criminals would give them up. So it's an exaggerated version of a world where everyone cares about the law and thus gun banishment really does mean the complete end of gun violence and safety for all. 

That's also the reason I'm pretty sure I'll make people angry. Probably more than half the readers would support gun banishment. 

But does this sound like an effective political satire? I guess it does highlight the revulsion of the political landscape by showing how silly an idea is that many people support... Which goes to show how confused so  many of the people are. 

Assuming you execute the idea well, it sounds like political satire to me. The judge is not necessarily correct that it requires any nausea about some current situation. Satire requires a degree of highlighting ABSURDITY, where you take things to their logical most extreme version, whether darkly or comically. I can see where you could easily take your idea to its absurdist extreme and make it work as you're right, the concept DOES lead to absurd ends (I was wondering but now I think I get where you're going.) If the judges are fair (and you're probably right about the majority political persuasion, if you look at the number of variations on 'orange man bad' satires) then they'll look at how well it was satirical, not whether they agree with it or not. 
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