This short documentary explores how capitalism has made satire impossible

Originally published at: This short documentary explores how capitalism has made satire impossible | Boing Boing


The basic premise – that satire has been made impossible – is obviously and blatantly wrong. It has thrived under much worse and more oppressive conditions; late-stage capitalism is far from the worst thing we’ve seen.

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Back in the 1960s, when I was a kid, MAD magazine proposed putting ads on airline barf bags. It was absolutely hilarious. Twenty plus years ago, in the 1990s, I saw my first ad on an airline barf bag. I knew we were doomed.


The inability to make satire is killing one of my favourite cartoonists:

ETA: So much more if you just search for his Twitter comments on satire. This is like just the first 2 I found.


2004 satire:

2020 reality:

I mean, satire still exists, but let’s be clear…the idea here isn’t that it’s rendered impossible because things are oppressive, but because they’re ridiculously insincere. Our entire society is built around people pretending the whims of billionaires are serious concerns.

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It may not be the worst in terms of violence and oppression but it’s quite possibly the worst in terms of sheer stupidity. I would argue it’s much easier to satirize an oppressive regime than a world where the most ridiculous, laughable ideas are taken seriously by large percentages of the population. One is a matter of getting it past the censors, the other is an inability to come up with material that still seems absurd in a world gone mad.


Would anyone be surprised to see the UK Tories, still mired in Thatcherism, suggesting in all earnestness that a programme of eating Irish babies might alleviate the economic problems associated with Brexit? I wouldn’t.

It’s not that neoliberalism is censorial but that it increasingly inspires statements so absurd that actual satirists can’t outdo them.

“I know what all the Marketing people are thinking right now, too. ‘Oh! You know what Bill’s doing? He’s going for that Anti-Marketing dollar. That’s a good market. He’s very smart.’ Oh man. I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags. ‘Oh! You know what Bill’s doing now? He’s going for the Righteous Indignation dollar. That’s a big dollar. Lotta people are feeling that indignation. We’ve done research. Huge market. He’s doing a good thing.’ Goddammit I am not doing that you scumbags! Quit putting a goddamn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet! ‘Ooh, the Anger dollar. Huge! Huge in times of recession. Giant market. Bill’s very bright to do that.’ God, I’m just caught in a fucking web. ‘Ooh, the Trapped dollar. Big dollar. Huge dollar. Good market. Look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. We play to them and separate them into the Trapped dollar…’ God. How to you live like that? I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don’t you. ‘What did you do tonight honey?’ ‘Oh, we made arsenic a childhood food now. Goodnight. Yeah, you know, we just said, “is your baby really too loud.”, you know’.”


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