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Monday, October 08, 2012

My 5cents on political satire on TV

Russell Brown and Media3 have discussed the lack of political TV satire in NZ. Being someone who has written and hosted political TV satire with the War on News, I'd like to throw my 5cents in.

I think good satire should be offensive to authority. At it's sharpest, news satire reveals uncomfortable truths to power in the manner of a shakespearean jester crossed with Max Headroom. That is a difficult line to walk in a country that takes 'Maaaaaaaori get too much' as it's median line in the debate on race relations.

7 Days is extremely funny, but it is more dick jokes than political satire. I think the last genuinely funny NZ satire was The Unauthorized History of NZ, but that may have gone over the heads of some.

Good satire is political and partisan and challenges the legitimacy of authority which is well outside the comfort zone of most broadcasters.

The advent of The Daily Show and Colbert Report has pushed news satire to a new level, the actual voice of the social critic. The critical analysis each of these shows has managed to bring to political and media issues makes them more credible than the news organizations they are reporting on.

Michael Moore started his TV career with 'TV Nation' and noted that while networks hated the challenge to authority his show generated, they loved the ratings it provided.

Sharp political satire that goes that extra mile can rate but few NZ broadcasters have the courage to produce it and the furore NZ on Air received over a child poverty documentary means they are highly unlikely to risk more political pressure by funding something that openly mocks the Government.

It'll happen, but it will require a broadcaster with some vision.



At 8/10/12 9:41 am, Blogger Potaua said...

Morena Bomber and great view. The ability for Maori to get on tv and laugh at ourselves seemed to have passed once Billy T left the stage. It was interesting to hear Peter Rowley say how racist tv execs were back then, that even though Billy was a household name and had performed for 20+ years, they still didn;t think that a Maori could shoulder the weight of a show. He sure proved them wrong but as you say, there hasnt been a good opportunity for us to laugh at ourselves, given the many absurdities we are forced to face daily and on mainstream tv.

But there's always HOPE...

At 8/10/12 12:51 pm, Blogger blueleopardthinks said...

hmm...I don't know Bomber...I think political satirists are yet another sector who have lost their jobs to this Government, yet for different reasons from all the others who have lost their jobs.

Watching any news programme these days, (if one can bring oneself to) and hearing the blustering rubbish being spouted from those in highest office doesn't require anyone to exaggerate to make a point. It is laughable all by itself.

Your job is no longer required because NZ Government has been taken over by a bunch of clowns.

At 8/10/12 1:56 pm, Blogger Frank said...

A political satire on TV?

I doubt that, Bomber.

That's not to say that political satire isn't taking place - but it has moved to the internet. Eg; the visual memes on Facebook, that are now doing the rounds.

During my stay in Eastern Europe, in the 1970s/80s, people were "dissuaded" from criticising the One Party State.

So they resorted to humour. Police jokes were the most popular, and god some were incredibly funny. (A few even translated well into English.)

That was the peoples' resistance; jokes passed from individual to individual.

As is happening now, in our country.

Whilst we may not live in an overtly Police state (yet), we're pretty damned close to it.

People are afraid. Many are reluctant to put their full addresses to the anti-asset sales petition.

What are they afraid of?

Mis-use of State Power, for one thing. Like Bennett adopting Stalinist tactics to discredit the reputations of two solo-mothers.

Like John Key smearing the reputations of Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson, and Bradley Ambrose.

And yes, even you copped it, Bomber. Let's not forget the Radio NZ Affair where you you banned from Jim Mora's show because you dared speak out.

This is a shortened list of our current dissidents who've been harassed in our own country...


The fear that folk may feel isn't that of being thrown in a Gulag prison, or tortured. No, the fear is more subtle than that; it's a fear of being publicly ridiculed and discredited.

If not by a politician, then by their feral attack dogs, like Cameron Slater and his gutter blog.

We all recall his unprovoked attack and smearing of a POAL worker who had lost his wife to a terminal disease; http://thejackalman.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/cameron-slater-is-ugly-thug.html

In the 21st Century, we don't need a full-fledged Police State to control the citizenry.

All that's required are;

* the threat of losing your job, or a contract, or any other form of economic coercion,

* Ministers of the Crown willing to mis-use personal information held on government computers,

* feral bloggers and tame media commentators who will rip a reputation asunder.

Hence why I doubt we'll ever see political satire on either state or private TV. The consequences (or even implied consequences) would be too much for broadcasters to bear.

And the worst thing is that there is no face to their fear-threat from the State. There is no Big Brother; no Minister for Secret Police; no One Party State to rail afainst.

It's all done in a multi-party 'democracy', with a smiling and likeable Prime Minister. We have the fear-threat of a Police State within a democracy and how does one fight back against something as invisible - and insidious - as that?

At 8/10/12 6:40 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

It also requires a broadcaster who has is able to broadcast . RNZ ? Nah man TVNZ ?Nah man TV3 ? Nah man . Maori TV ? Nah man . All the rest ? Nah man . TV7 ? Gone man .

At 9/10/12 12:35 pm, Blogger countryboy said...

Let me introduce you to our new Masters . Everything makes sense to me now .



At 10/10/12 9:24 pm, Blogger Phil said...

Marshall Mccluhan got it right about 20 years ago. The Media is the Message. The substance has disappeared and only the `Media ` remains. We are in the mediated manure of meaningless. Iam nota robot, nota robot,nota robot....robot,


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