By Rita Anderson | Opinion Columnist
Satire exaggerates what is going on in the media, in context of topical issues, controversial topics, and politics.
It is a form of entertainment. It makes what is occurring in our day-to-day lives bearable to hear and understandable. This is important to me because sometimes I have difficulty being aware of what is occurring in the media. When I hear about news in satire format, I feel like I can make sense of what is actually happening in the media.
I believe that is important to have satire along with the news. As long as you are not fully relying on satire as a news resource, then satire is appropriate to watch. Satirists themselves do not consider themselves journalists in any way, shape, or form. Yes, comedy and journalism go hand-in-hand; however, satire should not be perceived as actual news.
In a recent “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) sketch, actress Melissa McCarthy impersonates White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. She mocked his persona by chewing gum, yelling at the press, and making fun of President Trump. Spicer takes great offense to SNL’s impersonations and believes that the jokes go much further than they should.
Here is an argument upon whether or not SNL exaggerates sketches with inappropriate behavior. Some argue that SNL takes things a tad bit too far; however, I beg to differ.
The only time satire is not appropriate is when satirists and writers of the pieces “punch down.” “Punching down” refers to jokes made at the expense of oppressed groups in society, such as people of color. When SNL jokes about Donald Trump and other political figures such as Sean Spicer, it can’t be considered an act of “punching down.”
There are countless reasons why this is the case. The first reason is that Donald Trump and Sean Spicer are white males. You cannot be racist to white men because at the end of the day, they are still the dominant group in society. Secondly, they are both high up in politics. One of them is our President and the other is his Press Secretary. Just because there are jokes made about them, it does not change their status of power in the United States.
So since it is not an act of punching down, the possibilities are endless in creating satire with those political figures. It is then completely acceptable for SNL to create satire on current political events and their figures.
At the end of the day, we are just trying to make sense of this complicated world we live in. Satire is essential for citizens to understand politics in general, since politics in itself is so complex.
Rita Anderson is one of five new columnist featured in the Opinion Section. She’s studying Communication with a focus in Broadcast Journalism. She’s on the Women’s Rugby team. She’s also a member of Gael Sisterhood. In her free time, she likes co-piloting her father’s Cessna 150 Aerobat airplane.