I work in the world of politics and I love it. I really do, I’m actually one of those people that enjoy their work. But one of the things I love the most about it, is the absurdity of it all. And this is why I love things that poke fun of the absurdities of the political world so here are some of my favourite pieces of satire from literature, film and television.
The Thick Of It
The BBC’s television show that focuses on the life of the Secretary of State for the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship, and day to day trials and tribulations of senior government, from a hostile press to an even more hostile to director of communications, this series is full of swearing and having worked political press, its right on the money. Peter Capaldi as Malcom Tucker is manages to paint a comedic genius and a satiric masterpiece.
Cassandra Devine, “a morally superior twenty-nine-year-old PR chick” and moonlit angry blogger, incites generational warfare when she proposes that the financially nonviable Baby Boomers be given incentives (free Botox, no estate tax) to kill themselves at 70. The proposal, meant only as a catalyst for debate on the issue, catches the approval of millions of citizens, chief among them an ambitious presidential candidate, Senator Randolph Jepperson.
With the aide of public relations guru Terry Tucker, Devine and Jepperson attempt to ride “Voluntary Transitioning” all the way to the White House, over the objections of the Religious Right and the Baby Boomers, deeply offended by the demonstrations taking place on the golf courses of their retirement resorts. A hilarious look at the mess that social security is in, and as the retirement age has recently gone up, maybe a blueprint for the future?
Set principally in the private office of a British Cabinet minister in the fictional Department of Administrative Affairs in Whitehall, Yes Minister follows the ministerial career of the Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP, played by Paul Eddington. His various struggles to formulate and enact legislation or effect departmental changes are opposed by the British Civil Service, in particular his Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, played by Sir Nigel Hawthorne. His Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley, played by Derek Fowlds, is usually caught between the two. The sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, continued with the same cast and followed the events of the premiership of Jim Hacker after his unexpected elevation to Number 10 upon the resignation of the previous Prime Minister.
Man Of The Year
A late night TV host runs for president and wins owing to a computer error, the film follows Robin Williams as president Tom Dobbs as an independent president not beholden to special interest groups, and until recently, the thought of something other than voters determining the outcome of an election seemed like satire, but now, who knows
A look at Vice President of the United States Selina Meyer as the hapless and almost powerless vice president, trying to gain a toehold in the muddy cesspit on the Potomac.