It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that our dearly beloved Political Satire has been found dead at the age of 424. This news struck us dearly as a satirical page. Alas, as we all know, the tides ebb and flow and the circle of life continues on. Leading coroners ruled that there was a single cause of death: the 2016 Presidential Election.
Today we mourn for our dearly departed, but we must also look at this singular cause of death. This past election season, it seems as though our friend was simply overworked. For one of the first times in our electoral history, it seems as if there was too much of a load to bear. With the two candidates during the election, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton, it was simply too much for Political Satire to handle. Think back to 2012, the worst thing we had during the election was jabs at Mitt Romney about his binders full of women or other seemingly silly things. Now as we look at this season we have a billionaire businessman with an affinity for reality television and reserved tax returns up against a qualified career politician under an FBI investigation. It has truly been an incredible election season with so much ammunition fired. While it was enjoyable to some and horrifying to the other side, the tolls were taken on the genre of Political Satire.
One may argue that the stress was fine for Political Satire to handle, but it was the same repetitive jokes every time. If you scrolled through various social media, you were akin to find the same jokes about Trump’s hair and his inability to properly spray-tan. Let’s not forget the various impressions that included jokes about his pronunciation of a certain East Asian country, his creation of synonyms for largely, and of course, the classic “yuge.” The Clinton campaign also received the same jokes over and over as well. I’m sure we can all remember the attempts of Clinton to reach out to the youth through her use of Vine and her illustrious dabbing ability. All in all, I think it’s fair to say that Trump receives a lot more attention in satirical pieces (because of all the material he provides) than his political counterpart. In this, we find the difficulties that led to the unfortunate case of our beloved. With Trump, you had the same jokes being made all the time. There’s only so many synonyms for orange that you can call him and Godwin’s Law can only be invoked so many times before you become a parody of yourself. For so many people that supposedly despise the guy, there was so much attention and free publicity given to him by his detractors.
With this election, we tried way too hard to demonize the candidates as the worst options we have ever had run for president. In my opinion, that’s why our poor friend passed away. We used satire to make the election into a total joke (though the candidates tried their hardest to help). There was too much saturated satire. Satire is a device that we can all use to lighten situations and blow off some steam. With the amount of attention that we are all guilty of showing Trump, we have created a caricature of a man that we can’t discern from reality or fiction. He is like a gigantic strawman of our biggest fears on one side and the second coming for the other. With Clinton, we have a caricature to a much smaller and less significant extent. To some she’s the devil incarnate while the other side sees her as a clumsy grandma that can’t use emails. It’s an unfair comparison either way because it neglects the good works and the wrongdoings. These candidates became the embodiment of our worst nightmares, our dreams of the future, or just two terrible candidates that we watched implode because we’re suddenly innocent moderates that can’t be bothered to take sides. The candidates for our next president became living memes, and that’s all of our fault.
Let us not forget. We remember the good ol’ days with Richard III, Jonathan Swift, and Animal Farm. It’s time that we move on and try to use our ability to satirize for good. We’ve got way too many elections ahead of us and we can’t have another one of these. I, for one, am ready to stop talking about politics for a while. Maybe we can move on to new horizons, maybe with some more factual commentary and less strawman speculation.
Goodbye Political Satire you will always be in our hearts and hopefully do better next time, keeping you and 2016 in our memory. Good night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.