Out of all the genres which I enjoy, one of my favorites is satire. Very clever satire, which is aimed at the status quo whether it be the social status quo, the social status quo, or otherwise. These often are not only brilliantly written and performed, but often they can be quite prophetic about the state of the media, or indeed our society.
The best comedies, which are dry in humor and satirize the very societies we live in, or what they may become, often accurately predict the future ten or perhaps twenty years down the line.
One excellent example of this is the British tv program “The Day Today”, which first debuted on television on the 19th of January 1994.
The Day Today was a current affair spoof programme, which was composed of six episodes. It was constructed as news programme, in which sensationalist stories were told by the cast whilst skilfully maintaining a straight face. Its humor was upfront and unsubtle, and it was unafraid about confronting the often-ridiculous sensationalized attitude of the media, which is probably more relevant now than ever.
The topics ranged from the victim of a murderer being reanimated to carry out the execution of his murderer, to the anchor provoking two guests from Hong Kong and Australia to declare war on each other.
The series was followed on by “Brass Eye “, which was a similar format, and once again focused on current affairs. Once again, it used sensationalism to spoof public opinions and media coverage on subjects such as drugs, sex, AIDS, and pedophilia.
The beauty of satire programs such as these is that it predicted the nature of “fake news”, a term we are all very familiar with these days. It genuinely duped celebrities and was so brash that upon airing, certain episodes garnered sometimes hundreds of complaints. In one episode entitled “Paedogeddon”, the programmed tackled pedophilia and the methods through which it is addressed by both the media and the general public.
Numerous celebrities endorsed a fake campaign against pedophiles, and fake stories about pedophiles dressing up as schools to lure children, and noxious gasses being emitted from keyboards.
Fast forward to today, and you have members of the general public being openly and purposefully brash on television and on social media, either because they genuinely feel that way, or because they are seeking to purposefully provoke a response. Or perhaps both.
Furthermore, you have news outlets sexualizing and sensationalizing celebrities in order to fuel the celebrity culture, which appears to only increase the magnifying glass of the public eye over those who choose to have a public profile.
Whether left-wing or right-wing, it seems that very little is taboo, and very little is out of bounds. In an age where news also is broadcast over video platforms such as YouTube, everything and everyone has an opinion, everyone has a slant, and everyone has an opportunity to blow the smallest incident out of proportion. We have fallen further down the rabbit hole. The Day Today and Brass Eye were well and truly ahead of their time.