Friday, September 07, 2012
Conventions spark the art of satirizing

The Republican and Democratic National Conventions kicked off the presidential election race of 2012. The conventions brought delegates from across the country together, spotlighted celebrity appearances, showered convention-goers with balloons and confetti and inspired political satire.

 

The RNC and DNC were saturated with layers of satire. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and his band of comedic coorespondences poked fun at both conventions on the Daily Show. The satirical site the Onion had a parody field day at the expense of both Democrats and Republicans, and CNN's iReport site also saw a resurgence of political satire during the conventions.

 

While attending the RNC, iReporters Luis Ramirez and Tim Young -- who go by Bread8 Productions -- produced a satirical video called "Which foods are Republican." They went around the RNC asking political and media personalities like Republican Party politician Rick Santorum, former Republican party presidential candidate Herman Cain and CNN's Wolf Blitzer, which foods they consider Republican.

 

 

Initially, Bread8 Productions was inspired by the overpriced cost of food at the RNC, but through their satirical video they also wanted to see if things like food reflect party affiliation. "We know Republicans have a hard time stomaching the issue of illegal immigration, but there were lots of empanadas," Ramirez said.

 

He says the weirdest answer he got while shooting the video was from Rick Santorum who answered with 'blackened alligator.' "But the most common answer to [the question] was 'American foods,'" Ramirez said. "I am not sure what that means."

 

For some it was the food, but for others it was the people who inspired satire. Clint Eastwood sparked controversy with his improvisational conversation directed at an empty chair that a fictitious President Obama was sitting in, during his speech at the RNC.

 

Adam Forstadt and Chris Wylde took Eastwood's speech, which the Twitter realm dubbed as "Eastwooding," and satirized it into the iReport video "Clint Eastwood vs Obamachair." In the video, Wylde imitates Eastwood's speech with humorous undertones.

 

 

Forstadt says the video was inspired not only by the speech, but the nature of celebrities at the conventions as well. "I don't think celebrities and politics mix, unless they have a true understanding of the issues," he said. "Clint just looked like a crazy old man up there and that's ultimately what we were trying to capture with this video."

 

Both videos generated thousands of views on CNN's iReport. But there were many commenters who quickly came to the defense of the GOP, offering criticism for the lack of content satirizing Democrats.

 

On CNN iReport's Facebook page, user Tommy OvertheTop Trittipo said in response to "Clint Eastwood vs Obamachair": "Heaven forbid CNN would ever cover Obama-related satire."

 

And on iReport, user Halliod said: "So I guess it is ok when celebrities come out to endorse Obama, but when a celebrity does not he could be censored for speaking out publicly."

 

But others defended the videos, asking whether some commenters understood the nature of satire.

 

User Sleepo said in response to the same iReport: "The creators of this video aren't saying that Eastwood shouldn't have done it, they're saying that it was hilariously weird -- and a perfect target for parody."

 

Satire has been a part of American politics since the establishment of the thirteen colonies. And political satire is not new to CNN iReport. Over the years, political cartoonists contributed satirical commentary to the site.

 

The recent iReport parodies are striking up an array of conversations with the CNN audience. So we wanted to know what are your thoughts? How do you feel about political comedy, and why do you think comedy aimed at Democrats is less prevalent on iReport?

11 Comments
September 7, 2012
Click to view 636363's profile

My name is 636363 and I approved this message.

 

American politics has become so dysfunctional and so full of, well full of ______, distortion is the only game left in town.

 

I find my only salvation, the only place I find calm, is to ignore the entire thing. everything, and simply go with my gut.

 

Facts don't matter because those in politics have made facts irrelevant to themselves, and thus, to the voter.

 

We're now back to 1776, when it was just a "gut feeling". Maybe the long run, that's the best thing that could have happened.

September 7, 2012
Click to view k3vsDad's profile

Political comedy and satire are always appropriate. Unfortunately not everyone always catches the nuances and take to heart what is presented as factual rather than caricature of the political face.

 

A balance of both comedy/satire and opinion coupled with facts and statistics are needed.

 

As to the question raised of less satirical takes on the Democrats compared to Republicans...to many who would do such satire and comedic outtakes see humor only when looking at Republicans and see intellect and sobriety when glancing toward Democrats...although this is a skewed view, primarily, I believe, that most who take the poking-fun-position tend to be liberal and left-leaning thus more apt to "stick it" to the other side. Those to the right generally see politics as much more serious business.

September 8, 2012
Click to view rockITman59's profile

Most satire tends to be left-leaning because the right puts themselves in that box.  I could be mistaken, but I didn't see the President talking to an imaginary Clint Eastwood at the DNC.  Joe Biden, yes he has his moments, but for the most part, he manages to keep his mouth shut.  It's difficult for Republicans to make claims of unfairness when they bring these types of situations upon themselves.

September 8, 2012
Click to view dowhat's profile

Very interesting. Were there any pro republican videos or Is Cnn showing more bias?

September 9, 2012
Click to view DonDickslap's profile

F-u-ck NorCal_Leo.

September 10, 2012
Click to view byst1nder's profile

Republicans don't satirize but ostracizes....

 

Prime examples : Democrats - The Daily Show / Republicans - Rush Limbaough Show... Do I need to say more?

September 14, 2012
Click to view rev101's profile

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October 8, 2012
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October 10, 2012
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