Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Another installment of "Yes, but is it satire?"

First off, the answer to last week's installment, which asked you to consider whether Barrio Mobile's "La Migra" ringtone was satirical. The short answer: yes. The longer answer: weak satire at best. Hey, nobody said making satire was easy - just thankless. Sorry, Charlie!

And speaking of Charlies, this week's installment relates to something I haven't been able to get out of my mind for months. Some folks dubbed new audio over scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, and renamed it A Charlie Brown Kwanzaa. (Warning: language in this audio is absolutely not safe for work listening.)

Actually, I'm not even convinced it's African Americans who did the voiceovers, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I haven't asked the creators of this redub a single question about it. That's merely a digression from the real question here - do you think it satirizes the original Christmas special?
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Monday, May 15, 2006

Crazy socialists!

Who are they to throw themselves into the Colbert fray? Even if they are defending him, and tearing a certain Washington Post writer a new cavity for searching, does anybody really want that kind of help?

Actually, I don't know a friggin' thing about socialism, since I slept through most of that class in college. No, I'm not proud of it, exactly, but there are things you should know about your Chief Blogger here in all fairness to you, the reader.

And since we all know socialism doesn't stand a chance in hell of making a comeback, I think we can safely agree that it's okay for me not to know anything about it. Case closed!
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Friday, May 12, 2006

Some light reading for your Friday...

...from a guy with a Ph.D. in "depth psychology," whatever the hell that is. And yes, I can say that, because I was a psych major, and "depth psychology" didn't even exist when I graduated.

Despite that complaint, it's actually a good read about Stephen Colbert's now so-15-minutes-ago White House Correspondent Dinner gig, reflecting on the art of satire in general in the process.

That said, it's time for my armpit waxing, so I'm outta here. Have a great weekend, y'all.
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Thursday, May 11, 2006

You will know the anti-satirist by two things...

One is a utter lack of a sense of humor, and the other is the penchant to demand apology by way of censorship. Case in point: Michael Jackson, about whom I've resisted writing because, gee whiz, if everybody on earth isn't sick of hearing about him, I'm worried about everybody.

But I have cause to write this time, because Jacko's peeved about a thing in May's GQ magazine. Now, I subscribe to GQ, even though it hurts my self-esteem to see how different I look compared to the models in their fashion spreads, but I digress. I've read the article, and I loved it - especially considering how the author, Devin Friedman, skewered Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the process. Chris Buck's staged photos nicely complement the story, but aren't anywhere near as incendiary as, say, Eminem's video mockery was.

Jacko wants the mag pulled from circulation, and despite the fact that it'll never happen, I say show your support of GQ and head over to your local library or go here (while it lasts) to read the article - then write to GQ and tell them not to bend over for the deposed King of Pop!
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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another installment of "Yes, but is it satire?"

Since immigration is such a hot topic these days - probably because Karl Rove thinks Bush's approval rating could get back up over one-third if all those Mexicans become citizens - let's chat a moment about a little ringtone from Barrio Mobile called "La Migra."

Comedian Paul Saucido wrote the script for the ringtone, which was pulled by Cingular this week for being "racist." Activists, including Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (what an unlikely name for a Latino activist!), did the complaining. But Saucido, a Mexican-American, claims it was intended to be satirical.

Here's the link to the file, and once you've listened to it, come back and tell us - do YOU think it's satire?
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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Another edition of satire 'round the world

We begin this week's journey with a trip to tranquil Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a satirical publication sued and lost when their City Council grant was withheld. Why? "Blasphemous" material. So even if I didn't love America and decided to leave it, I'd have to put up with the same nonsense in Northern Ireland as we do here. Nice to know we're on a par with Northern Ireland, I'd say.

Now, we're off to Italy, the country that Subway thinks can be compared to "a boot" for laughs in their commercials. Idiots, but I digress. More Mohammed madness! But this time, the guy got off - former government minister Roberto Calderoni won't be charged with a "crime of opinion" (there's a frickin' scary phrase) over his alleged display of a T-shirt with a Mohammed cartoon. I can't believe those haven't shown up in the US yet!

Following up on a previous post, MTV Germany aired the first episode of Popetown, and got exactly what you'd expect for results - hate from Catholics, love from the most desirable marketing demographic. My favorite part, though, was reading which country has actually aired all the episodes. Score another one for my most-beloved non-American land o' the free!

And aren't you bummed that you missed out on the 23rd Nusic Days Theater Festival, honoring the great Serbian writer, playwright and satirist Branislav Nusic (last item)? *Sigh.* Maybe next year. I'll have to sign up for their newsletter or something.
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Monday, May 08, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith, Satirist (?!)

Galbraith passed away last week, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (I should probably know who he is, but honestly I can't be bothered after two beers and a long day at the office - what a lightweight I am) eulogized him in the Washington Post as a satirical economist. A "satirical economist"? Really? Pull the other one!

Of course, this got me thinking - there's a lot of satire out there that doesn't fall into what we'd consider the obvious categories. Heck, Bob Mackie used to make satirical costumes for the old Carol Burnett Show. What the least obvious satirical category for which you can come up with an example? Let's hear it!
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Friday, May 05, 2006

Not fair, Bloomberg, not fair!

So this headline crosses my radar: "Sexy Lempicka Is Finally Hot in Paris; Political Satire Is Real." Sex and satire in the same headline? That's what I call foreplay!

Then, in the first paragraph, they drop this line about Lempicka: "...her sumptuous parties and her love affairs -- not necessarily with men."

Holy toledo, lesbian satire? My fingertips are sweating and slipping off the keyboard. But then...THEN I understand what the semicolon was doing in the headline!

The article switches gears entirely, to talk about a satirical play centering around a suntan lotion company. It was all a ruse to get me to click the headline link. Damn you, Bloomberg!
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Thursday, May 04, 2006

The impossible becomes real...

...in Iceland. Survey results indicate that a satirical news show is not only the most popular in the tiny island nation, it's even more popular than the "real" news. Yes! For all of us who think fake news is more real than real news, this is a watershed!

The show, likened to Saturday Night Live, is also outpulling American imports and the ubiquitous Pop Idol knock-off. And by the way, did I ever tell you? I once read an interview with a Playboy photographer who said Iceland has the most beautiful women.

Iceland: Steadily looking to replace New Zealand as my favorite country that's not America.
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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hard: Pimp. Harder: Satirical Cartoonist

I'm so torn, because on the one hand, I love getting to read about satirical efforts like Popetown, which was canceled in its native UK before it even aired one episode. Then the makers had the bright idea to take it to Germany on MTV. You know, the land where Pope Ratzinger cut his teeth in the Hitler Youth. You can almost see the next paragraph coming.

So the Catholics in Bavaria got up in arms about the show, and specifically about an ad for it which involves Jesus Christ in a comparatively tame way. I say "comparatively" because the Germans can't have seen South Park before if they're getting riled up over the ad mentioned in the linked article.

I forgot to mention the "on the other hand," which is to say that, for Pete's sake, will you people of the world who take things too seriously just find yourselves a nice quiet soccer stadium, go beat the crap out of each other, and leave the rest of us to laugh in peace? Gosh!
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You can't drop an A-bomb and not expect some fallout...

Everyone's talking about Stephen Colbert's roasting of the Bush Administration and the White House reporters - although it seems to be limited to a bunch of political and news-navel-gazing sites, sad to say.

For a deeper look in the eyes of Colbert's madness, check out this Salon.com piece - we recommend selecting the free viewing option on this one, and switching over to clear your junk mail while the commercial runs. Or see how the Washington Post so smoothly (and transparently) tried to dismiss Colbert's beautiful diatribe. Can't take a joke, can you, WaPo?

Naturally, Jon Stewart came to Colbert's defense, and had anybody asked us, I'm sure we would have, too. Only because we believe in that First Amendment thingie, and not at all to do with a sudden and unexpected man-crush. Note to John Mayer: We can't go on like this. I've found someone else. Someone who fulfills me the way no one else ever could.
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Monday, May 01, 2006

Burning down the house!

For those of you who don't watch C-SPAN on Saturday evenings (there must be a few of you out there), here's a link to the first of three parts of Stephen Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner. All I can say is, oh.....my....GOD!

Colbert laid waste to every one in the room, including President Bush himself. I don't think I've seen such a fearless performance in my life. Just get past the lame joke about the 14 limos at the start, and like the best of the best sitcoms, don't wait for an attendee laugh track to cue your own guffaws.

This event is usually one of those "all in fun" roast kind of things, but Colbert pulled what I'd say is the equivalent of Jon Stewart's legendary Crossfire appearance - only more so. Your thoughts?
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Satire pervades the web, seeping into mailboxes and mainstream news like a spilled cup of coffee. It stains and it won't go away.

The Bitter Cup is a collaborative blog for members of HumorFeed, a collaborative of satire and humor sites that has been making trouble since 2003.