A long time ago I once gave a presentation on postmodern satire for a MA workshop at university. I argued that postmodern literature was too self-reflexive and interested in the text rather than reference. Satire I argued needs a target that is outside of literature, outside of the book. Not of course in all cases, and I realise there are numerous examples which could be used against me! But you get the picture anyway, don't you? Traditional satire has also been fairly conservative, picking on softer targets -- like women!! Terrible. Maybe the guys felt threatened like those policemen and male bystanders who lashed that poor unfortunate girl in the Sudan for the crime/sin of wearing long trousers. Does it really say "thou shalt not wear long trousers" in the holy texts? Really. Probably not, but I am sure that the holy books cover the laughing and inflicting harm on the misfortunate - moreover in the case - I am sure the prophet was not as chauvinistic to support this form of barbaric punishment. IHe was in a word, merciful. However, I must point out that in the UK corporal punishment was not abolished into the latter end of the twentieth century!! That was a distraction off the subject of satire, sorry, but sometimes I feel moved to say something, and I tempered it.
I read in The Onion that they wish to make G. Beck one of the people of the year. The Russians and Chinese want J. Assange to get the Nobel Prize - they are all being satirical - the latter is an example of State satire at the expense of another nation - the US. Of course, the tragedy is that satire is not really permitted in Russia or China - the penalties are severe. One cannot crack a joke about Putin's billions stashed away in offshore accounts - or the Chinese leader's love affairs. No it would not do at all. It is however open season with regard to the US - and I suppose that is because the USA has a love hate relationship with censorship. It is still possible to have a book removed from the shelves. There is also the matter of having politicians who have great media presence - and while every country has their fair share of fools - the US thanks to the internet is able to broadcast all over the world their fools - so we can have them with our breakfast cereal and the NFL scores - even if they are not our politicians and it is not our sport. I am sure we can trade our idiots. Berlophoney and Sarky are two buffoons. The UK government has many to choose from. The last government had to shed many - because they fiddled their expenses. Of the two politicians though that I hear incessantly - and they are as annoying as jingles - are Beck and Palin. My contribution to the comments on The Onion piece:
The US Public Health Service has warned that this winter and into the new year the United States will experience an usually large number of cases of beck in the mouth. This can be transmitted through either listening to the radio or watching television. Those who see someone in the first stages : symptoms include ranting and raving, talking incoherently, making discriminatory remarks - are advised to place their fingers firmly in their ears and sing jingle bells loudly.
The Secretary General has also warned that following the outbreak of beck in the mouth, there have been reported outbreaks of palinitis. This has a similar vector to beck in the mouth, but is mostly transmitted through television. Symptoms... are very similar to beck in the mouth, but also include disorientation - unable to tell the difference between North and South. There are slightly more aggressive tendencies in palinitis that include the desire to shoot helpless animals - if you see anyone with palinitis you are advised to run immediately indoors and bring all pets and animals indoors for their safety. Contact your nearest emergency centre for assistance.