America According to Colbert: Satire as Public Pedagogy by S. McClennen

By S. McClennen

Is the comedy of Stephen Colbert easily enjoyable or is it strong political satire? Does it entertain audience or does it empower them? Or does it educate us that during today’s media-saturated international these binaries make no experience? the USA in keeping with Colbert: Satire as Public Pedagogy claims that Colbert’s satire fosters serious wondering social matters, encourages lively citizenship, and entertains the viewer—all whilst. the 1st booklet to hide many of the subject matters and contours of The Colbert document, the US in accordance with Colbert deals readers perception into the strong ways in which Colbert’s comedy demanding situations the cult of lack of information that has threatened significant public debate and social discussion on account that Sept. 11.

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Extra info for America According to Colbert: Satire as Public Pedagogy (Education, Politics and Public Life)

Example text

To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I’m dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I’m a pretty sound sleeper—that may not be enough. ”16 What is interesting with this joke is its direct interplay with the almost identical joke referenced above that had been part of the president’s own bit. The president had already made fun of Cheney’s hunting accident. What differed in Colbert’s version, though, was its set up with the over-the-top delight Colbert expresses at being close to Bush.

The construction of false binaries, where two pundits with extreme views face off, is standard Fox fare. As Colbert stated during an interview at Harvard’s John F. 34 Colbert critiques the way that commentary has come to overshadow the presentation of information to viewers. Instead of news, viewers get pundits who shout their unsubstantiated, vitriolic, divisive opinions at their audience. Their goal is not to encourage reasoned debate and civic engagement. Instead they aim to create cult followers.

All of what follows is then coded by this blanket statement, which reads in opposite fashion to the literal meaning of the words uttered. This ability to speak truth through lies, parody, or mockery is at the heart of the work of political satire. Satire’s aim is to offer social criticism by adopting an extreme or exaggerated version of commonly held beliefs that are in need of radical questioning. And, as is well known, political satire does not produce huge laughs: the humor in satire is subtle and discomforting since it almost always pokes a bit at the audience itself.

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