So satire acts as a safety valve, protecting those in power.
Does it really? Can something not be subversive without inducing a revolution? Satire on its own will, of course, not bring down a government, but if one sees the satire as merely one element in a greater public discourse, then surely it does have some merit and one might even say that this humorous element to politics is one of the defining characteristics of the modern, Western democracy. I'm sure this could be more eloquently put, but not by me right now... :-(
I don't deny that satire has merit. I luuurve satire. but I do wonder whether it actually ever changes anything.
I mean Tony Blair is still there in spite of everything....
Blunkett did by all accounts try to stop it going out... he has always had a humour bypass as well as being a pompus git!
shullie - a Sheffielder born and bred!
I thought Bernard Hill did a wonderful job. His Blunkett was thoroughly obnoxious, but also, at times, quite touching.
I think of British political satire going back a lot further than the 18th century. In fact, I can't think of British politics without thinking that there must have satire to go along with it!
I reckon that open political satire (the sort that names names) only became safe (or relatively safe) in the 18th century.
I'd say (but not with any great confidence) that the first great satirists were Pope and Swift.
You're probably right about satire as safety valve; I certainly won't argue. But, I dunno, in my remarkably-humorless country, we're a bit short on the revolutions too. And it's not for lack of instigating forces.
I guess satire is better than nothing. :-) At least then everyone doesn't take the politicians so seriously and persist in thinking that they really will do what is good and they are worthy of our faith and optimism. My mom still thinks that way, and it's almost heartbreaking to watch. But then maybe I'm just a jaded bleeding-heart who hangs out with too many wannabe-hippies.
Oh yeah, it's better than nothing.
A lot better.
And, hey, don't forget Mark Twain was one of your fellow countrymen!
Oh yes, the US has had a few irreverents, but not so much recently. I can't think of anybody very impressive in that regard since Bill Hicks.
How about Jon Stewart? My mate Judy thinks he's wonderful.
Ah, that's true. The Daily Show is the closest thing to TV news I'll watch these days; it's really great. Besides being amusing, it also reassures me that I'm not quite the only person who thinks my country has gone crazy.
And it's showing now on More4
In fact I could be watching it... this very instant......
No, I think satire helps to connect those in the opposition, letting each of us know we are not alone, and thus helping us to have some hope through it all.
A good point.
I was playing devil's advocate. Or perhaps, more accurately, expressing my distress about Bush and Blair still being there in spite of all our mockery.
Satire can serve as an indicator, too, of how brave the monkeys are around the Alphas.
Also, in a police state, satire isn't allowed, so it's nice to remind ourselves that we can stick out our tongues and throw bananas at the Monkey Men we elected.
The fact that this play was broadcast, in spite of David Blunkett threatening a libel action, indicates that our liberties are still in place.