It wasn’t that long ago that Saturday Night Live was airing a satirical segment starring Tina Fey and Amy Pohler playing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton respectively. The skit featured a ditsy Palin giving a PSA alongside a sarcastic and witty Clinton. It’s during this skit that the now-famous line from Fey’s Palin is delivered.
“I can see Russia from my house.”
Despite how you feel about Palin, this one skit was so well done and executed that it’s achieved legendary status. It was also so well done that Palin’s Russia line has lived on in the minds of many Americans for years. Despite it being a line delivered by Fey and written by comic writers in New York, people really think that Palin herself said it.
Go on Twitter right now and say something about Palin’s intelligence. Eventually, someone will quote that line back to you under the impression that Palin actually uttered those words.
Is this a bad thing?
If you were to ask the left, no. It’s not. This was one of the most celebrated performances of that decade. They couldn’t get enough of it. Fey became a superstar thanks, in part, to this one skit. Anyone who planned on voting for Obama in the general election couldn’t get enough of it, and that included the leftist mainstream media, which had offers flying off the shelves for Fey. She won an Emmy for her Palin portrayal.
Moreover, it struck Palin square in the chest. It altered the public’s view of her despite it being a comedic skit. It worked in the left’s favor so well that Palin now wears that skit around her neck everywhere she goes.
Satire was the left’s most powerful weapon.
Now let’s fast forward to 2020.
The left now takes itself and the world too seriously, shifting all the power of satire drastically to their opponents. Now the right rules the roost, or more accurately, anti-left sentiment does.
The left, which held so much comedic power, wit, and talent has found itself the butt-end of the joke. They no longer rule the world of satire, they abhor it. They do what they can to silence those who make these jokes but to no avail. Their shows, once bastions of comedic wit that affected the political world itself have fallen to unfunny skits and woke ideological positions. Even a meme has sprung up about how the left can’t meme.
The internet gave the right a spotlight and a stage, and it quickly developed a way to make fun of the left that the left had no defense for. It utilizes satire so well that it puts the left on the defensive and makes them overreact to simple jokes. This, in part, is helping change the political landscape.
From Tina Fey to the Babylon Bee, from SNL to South Park, satire has been one of the best political tools that the people have to get a point across. Not only is it valuable, it’s also necessary. Highlighting the absurdities of reality with absurdity in fiction keeps humanity more grounded and gets more points across than real news ever could.
It’s no wonder that the left, especially the mainstream media, is doing what it can to silence satirists and attack any skit against them that pops up. Even if it’s used effectively by the left against the left.
Take, for instance, the recent slam on the rest of the Democratic 2020 candidates from Mike Bloomberg’s campaign. Regardless of how you feel about Bloomberg, this video was gold.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
Bloomberg could have stood up on that stage and talked about how he’s the only person on that stage who knows how to create a business for hours. In fact, in person, the hits Bloomberg took were distracting from any message he could have put out that night. The fact that no one but Bloomberg knows how to run a business would not have gotten the point across better than this video did.
It’s why the left has now gone after it. It’s effective. The other candidates don’t have a defense against it. Any “fact check” they do is going to make them look thin-skinned.
Bloomberg lost that debate badly, but through the power of satire, he landed his hardest punch afterward.
The left now hates satire because they’re getting a good solid look at what it’s like when the shoe is on the other foot. They loved it when Fey was making Palin look more like an idiot just there to bait votes from horny men. They hate it now that it’s effectively making their own side look like the fools. It’s doubly effective because they’re taking it so seriously.
Herein lies the lesson. Satire is most effective on those who take themselves too seriously. Sacred cows find themselves the most susceptible targets, and if you are destroyed that easily by simple jokes, humorously edited videos, or memes, then perhaps the foundations for your ideas weren’t all that good in the first place. Perhaps there’s a hard truth about you that was highlighted in the absurdity that was painted over you.
And not to make this article sound like a Kafka trap, but if you’re the one attempting to silence others when they make jokes, then you absolutely deserve to be the subject of them.