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Satirized for Your Consumption - The Baffler

Satirized for Your Consumption The Baffler


To close his longform piece, Oliver called on the Internet’s legion of utterly horrible, culture-coarsening, snarky trolls and anonymous commenters to use their venom for good, just this once, and contact the FCC. If Dave Chappelle went into semi-retirement over such people, and if Rogen, Franco, and Apatow never saw the new policy-comedy aspect of the modern era coming at them, Oliver understands this new comedy world perfectly. His fans reportedly overloaded the FCC site, which crashed. It’s one of the few instances, it’s worth noting, in which political satire has had a demonstrable, government-stopping effect. Whipping up Internet rage mobs is easy (any mention of Gaza, gun control, or Woody Allen will do the trick). What’s hard is helping millions of people understand a critical policy issue that they perhaps hadn’t reckoned with before. Oliver’s plea actually took.

To say that Oliver’s stunt tipped Obama’s hand in favor of net neutrality is a bit much. But the Internet-savvy White House, which finally came out in favor of neutrality after the 2014 midterms, had to have taken notice. Oliver’s detour into comedy-advocacy showed that fans of a satirist can, at least every once in a while, make a very loud agitprop noise, one that puts the policymakers on the defense for the short term and that informs the public for the long term.

Can satire hope to achieve much more than this in today’s comedy-Costco world? Most of the time, it’s enough for us to feel that our cultural, political, or otherwise ideologically backward foes have been verbally drubbed before we turn in for the night. How else to explain Twitter’s legions of quipsters? They’re certainly not getting paid for their work. Seth Meyers coined a word for such cathartic moments, clapter—i.e., that rather hollow and perfunctory moment when a partisan audience is loudly applauding and cheering a political joke for merely hitting its target, more than actually laughing. Our late-night talk shows give us that much in truckloads: snark about Bush’s excessive vacation days, say, or imitations of Obama’s condescending professorial rhetorical style.

Stashed in: @davechappelle, @jamesfrancotv, @sethrogen, John Oliver, @iamjohnoliver, Satire, @sethmeyers

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I didn't realize that Dave Chappelle retired over such people.

I like the phrase "comedy-Costco world". 

And I like Seth Meyers' word CLAPTER.

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