Novelist A.G. Harmon on satire:

…the thing about satire is that it runs the fine line between comedy and exposé; comedic in the sense that it’s funny, exposé in the sense that it brings to light the hypocrisies or venalities or idiocies of its object. And the object has to be topical too. Satire can’t be dated.

Have satirists all gone to film and TV? There are some candidates. The Office is a remarkable sketch of the work-a-day world, but there’s no real edge to it. However brilliant Jerry Seinfeld was, his show can’t qualify either. Nobody was made uncomfortable. Even causing discomfort can’t qualify a work if it’s not felt in a ruling class of some sort. Monty Python was great, but no one really winced, and no one in power ever did.

Because another requirement is that there has to be some danger to satire. There has to be something lèse majesté about it. Otherwise you only have Saturday Night Live, which found a little blood for its carcass in this year’s political season, pretending to be brave. They know better than to take on the real ruling class, so they skewer those that their own class finds contemptible. What will they do now? Zing Representative John Boehner? Or the junior representative from Ardmore, Alabama?

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