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Is It Me.... Or Is Satire Dead?

28/11/2016 11:24

My next Edinburgh show is going to have elements of satire. Why you ask?! Because I fear it may be dying out and people no longer know what it is and therefore do not appreciate its importance. There. I said it. I went there!

Allow me to elaborate...

I, like many others shared the most recent vlog, President Trump-How and Why... from 'Journalist' Jonathan Pie. I put the word 'Journalist' in quotation marks deliberately because he is not a journalist, he is an actor/comedian playing the role of Jonathan Pie- a political correspondent for the BBC. He does not actually work for the BBC as a journalist or political correspondent. He is an actor playing a role. I am labouring this point as I fear people may think he ACTUALLY is judging by the most recent responses to his Trump vlog. It has generally got a very positive reaction and lots of re tweeting etc but it has caused upset in some camps. I had the pleasure of seeing his live show in Edinburgh this year and it was ,quite frankly, a much needed breath of satirical fresh air.

For those who don't know, the actor Tom Walker has created a character Jonathan Pie who is a ranty, swearing, angry, outspoken BBC reporter not afraid to call it as if he sees it. His many vlogs depicts outtakes when he is 'off' camera and quite frankly I'm addicted to it and become quite the fan. However his most recent explaining why he thinks Trump became President, to many people's surprise, has caused some outrage. Now go watch it so I don't have to explain it....you can't be bothered?! Fine! Right, well in so many words Pie puts blames the left for Trump's victory as they did not have a candidate capable of beating a misogynistic, corrupt, racist, megalomaniac. Or in his words-

"I would vote for lucifer over Trump...how shit have you got be to lose to Trump."

The democratic failed to produce a solid candidate in the form of Clinton and therefore failed us. He also, as he does in many of his other vlogs, emphasise that the key to this sort of political upheaval, to put it mildly, is debate.

"The key is discussion and debate," he says.

We no longer debate and discuss. Instead we dismiss or ban opinions because they 'Offend us'. This is his words by the way, not mine...although I do very much agree. Now the outrage towards Pie and other correspondence who share his opinion, comes from several online publications. They feel it is all well and good for white males to blame the left and not that the cause is Trump voters are racists and sexists and are to blame. That they can blame the left because they're white middle men, they're not the minorities that Trump's policies victimize.

"Yes, for our own left wing tactical advantage we can't afford to alienate the right but, if you are white and male, consider how much easier it is for you to decide that we should stop talking about racism and sexism and focus on unity." - Medium.

As a disabled woman i can sympathize with this to some extent. I have fallen victim to decision made by governments and don't need more white middle class men telling me how I should feel but I do agree with Pie. There is one important thing that I feel these publications have missed the boat on...have you guessed it yet? No? He's a satirical character! A work of fiction. He is modern satire and thank god for him! Yes his opinions are bold and may cause some strong disagreement but that's the point! That's the ruddy point! That's why we have satire and why we need it now! The definition of satire, according to the dictionary, as good a source as any, is 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.

Are you following now?

Jonathan Pie is the most decent bit satire we have seen in ages and I fear it's dead because of the reactions I just outlined. People do not understand satire because it's rarely depicted in mainstream entertainment. Other than Pie, I can only source Have I Got News For You and that's more panel show these days, but thank fuck for Hislop! Learnt so much from that guy! He is one of ten people alive or dead I'd have for dinner. True story. Anyway, I digress. We used to have Spitting Image, The Day Today, the The Thick of it and then nothing for a long time except a few lurkings from Mark Steel on BBC Radio 4.

Having said all that about those who oppose his recent blog, they have fallen trap to the miracle, that is good, effective satire. He wants us to debate so has created a character so opinionated it ignites debate and discussion which is exactly what has happened! These publications are disagreeing and thus debating him! Look to his twitter feed, lots of people criticising him and having a go at the long lost art form that is discussion.

What is important about satire in times like this which Pie is on the cusp of nailing is, when we discuss and debate we are holding those in charge accountable for the decisions they make. We question those in charge and hold them accountable by dissecting their opinions they have that we don't like instead of dismissing them. In doing this it stop the Trumps and the Mays from tearing up countries because we question their decisions and in all fairness.... we elected them! Why the hell shouldn't we! May is in the process of salvaging the NHS and outsourcing it privately! We cannot let this happen and must question every decision she makes regarding it before we lose one of the best things this country has ever done.

So take a leaf out of Pie's book don't dismiss the views you don't like, debate them, talk about them and challenge them so that the Trumps and Mays are the last of their kind because these are dangerous people capable of doing scary things. And you want to know an effective way of doing this? Through comedy satire!!! Satire is not dead because it lives within Johnathan Pie but now more than ever it requires a full on renaissance! Like they did with Matthew McConaughey career. Satire can only exist if we take the risk as Pie does and must be nurtured It's also....more importantly, really bloody funny!

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