Harnessing the Power of Satire

Kinara Pegorini

6519 words

50 minutes

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"The ambivalence of comedy reappears in its social meanings, for comedy is both hatred and revel, rebellion and defence, attack and escape. It is revolutionary and conservative. Socially, it is both empathy and persecution"(Sypher, 1956, pp.242)

Humour as a means to challenge the status quo has existed for centuries. From the comic writers of ancient Greece to the BoJo memes circulating Twitter, it has offered a means of non-violent resistance against oppression. Humour is important in times of uncertainty and discontent: a reality that many across Great Britain and the world experience. Every day we experience fear, this fear being fuelled by the economiccrisis, the Conservative government, the environmental crisis, capitalism, war and sadly so on and so forth.The world often feels like a living nightmare and we are surrounded by doom and gloom, creating uncertainty for the future. When this doom has been a product of rational thinking, how can we trust it? Can the irrational and absurd create light in a dark horizon? Or at least make it lesspainful.

The concept of 'laughtivism', introduced by writer Srdja Popovic, refers to humour as a tool in political activism. "When you insert an element of play, you melt fear and you unmask authority's weaknesses."(POPOVIC and McCLENNEN,2020).This idea is relevant to the themes of this essay, which will examine the role of humour in challenging oppression and inciting socio-political change. Drawing onexamples of humour being used as a form of political protest, this essay will explore instances wherehumour has been used to challenge dominant ideologies. As George Orwell said, "Whatever destroys dignity and brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny. And the bigger the fall, the bigger the joke." (Orwell, 1945). The essay will also consider how humour can be used as an alternative form of resistance against systematic oppression, and whether the message it conveys is clearerthan other traditional methods of resistance. In a podcast with The NewsAgents, Peter Tatchell who is a human rights activist is asked, "What makes a successful protest?", he replies, "to have a clear simple message, backed by evidence, strengthened by allies…even better if the protest can be daring, imaginative and witty." (GLOBAL, 2022) First, in this essay, I will discuss theories surrounding humour. Why are satirical and humorous techniques attractive to those pushing positive socialchange?

So why humour? Humour is a powerful tool that has been used throughout history to draw attention tosocial and political issues to bring about change. Ideas surrounding satire suggest that it acts as a safetyvalve for society, allowing people to express their frustrations and discontent through humour rather thanthrough more violent or destructive means. Sigmund Freud's theories suggest the same in his work Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconcious (Freud, 1905). Freud suggests humour serves a number of importantfunctions. One of these is that it allows us to cope with difficult or stressful situations by helping us to finda way to laugh at them. Another notion is that laughter has the power to relieve anxiety and fear, but it can also serve as a means of expressing society's unconscious feelings related to sexuality, aggression, and control in everyday life. Freud believed that jokes allow us to confront and release repressed discontent and energy that we might otherwise suppress within ourselves. In Freud's words, "Humor is not resigned; it is rebellious. It signifies the triumph not only of the ego, but also of the pleasure-principle, which isstrong enough to assert itself here in the face the adverse real circumstances," (Freud, 1928, pp.2) In this way, humour can be seen as a way of coping with the challenges and pressures of everyday life.

Satire can also serve as a way to expose injustice and corruption, as it often uses hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally) and absurdity to highlight the flaws in society. In Funny, But Not Vulgar (Orwell, 1945) George Orwell describes the role of humour and its potential to be used as a tool for social critique. Orwell is known as a critic who challenged the status quo and his ideas surrounding humour follow the same ethos. Throughout his essay, Orwell stresses the importance of using humour toaddress and correct societal problems, rather than simply ignoring or escaping from them. He concludes by stating that, while humour can be a powerful tool for social critique and bringing positive change, it must also be used responsibly in order to be effective.

Another theory is that satire can challenge dominant ideologies and create a space for marginalised voicesto be heard. Michael Mulkay, a sociologist of humour, discusses the relationship between humour andresistance in his work On Humor: Its Nature and Place in Modern Society (Mulkay, 1988) Mulkay studiesthe interaction between seriousness and innocence in humour's role in resistance. Mulkay identifies the two modes: the serious mode,in which there is a clear distinction between realityand non-reality and a belief in shared logic and reason, what is the irrational? Contradictions lie as unacceptable and the natural order iskey or we might upset it. "In this mode, they have to be treated as problematic, otherwise they threaten to undermine the perception that we share the same world." (Sorensen, 2008, pp. 171) Opposite to this is the humorous mode, which embraces contradictions and absurdity. This is where contradictions are necessaryand unproblematic as contradictions are a principle of humour. "In order for something to be amusing, it usually has to turn things upside down or present itself in more than one frame at the same time."(Sorensen, 2008, para. 11) By using humour in the serious mode you can challenge the status quo and demonstrate that change is possible. By changing the situation into the humorous mode, the serious message becomes humorous and suggests that more change will follow.

There are existing ideas that thehumorous individual can often hold ahigh place because they are disguised. They are often overlooked and untouched because they are deemed as not a threat. In Humour and Social Protest, Marjolein 't Hart says "Likewise, in royal courts, a jester could express critical thoughts about policies without fearing punishment by the ruler. His peculiar, ritualised position carried immunity."(Hart, 2007, p.5) The court jester was a hired 'fool' whose primary function was to entertain the King during the Medieval and Renaissance era. The role of the court jester meant that you carried a certain privilege that you could mock freely without being punished. Jesters were not afraid to 'tell it like it is' and they often mocked lords, ladies and other members of the court in a free manner. Jesters were actually often highly educated so what was it about playing the fool that allowed you to hold untouchable positions even to those in authority? Marjolein 't Hart speaks more about this and relates it to the modern-day discussion that professional comedians also hold this fool-like status where they can present harsh and undesirable political truths through laughter: their position as official joke-makers makes them different from other political critics. (Hart, 2007)

Here I will discuss where humour has been used within protest art and social movements. There is some evidence to suggest that protests that incorporate humour and satire may be more successful than those that don't. Why is this the case? Of course, it's important to note that not all humour is appropriate or effective in a protest setting. Some arguments suggest that humour can distract from the seriousness of the issues at hand and that it may not be an effective way to bring about change. Or, that humour in social protest can reinforce stereotypes and marginalize certain groups, particularly those who are already marginalized. Hart discusses this, "In highly variegated audiences, humour does not necessarily unite, it can also divide and exclude."(Hart,2007,pp.2) Additionally, humour in protest is complex and it could be argued differently by different people or groups. However, when used effectively, humour and satire canbe powerful tools for bringing about change and a platform where social commentary can challenge the status quo.

For example, in the early 20th century, German political cartoonist Thomas Theodor Heine used his illustrations to criticize the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism in Europe. "Heine and his team satirized everything, from everyday life to the emperor and the church."(lambiek.net, 2022) Another example would be the street artist Banksy, who is known for using his art to comment on issues such as consumerism, capitalism, and social injustice. His work can be described as "broad social cartooningrendered with the graphic bang of an indie concert poster."(Collins,2007) Performance art and conceptual art have also been used by artists such as Ai Weiwei to comment on human rights abuses andcensorship. You first see this quote when visiting Weiwei's website, "Expressing oneself is a part of beinghuman. To be deprived of a voice is to be told you are not a participant in society; ultimately it is a denialof humanity." (Chiang, 2013) Dr Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick that "satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States" (Wikipedia, 2023). Another is John Carpenters' satirical 1988 cult film They Live (IMDb, n.d.) which explores themes of capitalism and socialclasses. Furthermore, stand-up comedians continue to use their platform to bring attention to issues that areimportantto themand to challenge societal norms and beliefs.

It is important to recognize that the use of humour and satire in protest is a genre within non-violent resistance. To determine if this method is effective in bringing about socio-political change, it is necessary to examine different types of resistance. In a podcast from The NewsAgents, the topic of extreme protest is discussed, with a focus on the Just Stop Oil protests in the UK (Just Stop Oil, 2022). One journalistargues that the protests, which involve disrupting traffic, are alienating people and turning them off of thecause of the climate crisis. Another journalist counters that, although the issue may not be immediately apparent to many people, the consequences of climate change will be much clearer in the future.(GLOBAL, 2022) Peter Tatchell also weighs in, stating that the climate emergency is such a grave threatthat strong protest is justified, but targeting the fossil fuel companies and their shareholders and directors,who are responsible for the crisis, might be more productive. However, the activist group have already tried this. A Just Stop Oil spokesperson shares with Sky News, "When we did the most obvious, common sense thing of targeting oil companies - that didn't break through. Activists across the world have been taking direct action against oil and gas companies for decades. But they're out of sight of the public eye and the media. We're causing visible disruption in our capital city. Disruption works because it puts pressure on the police, which puts pressure on the government." (Keay, 2022) An important point thatTatchell raises is that violence distracts from the cause, if a violent tactic is used then not only is itethically wrong but it distracts from the main cause as it steers conversations to the violence. Of course,Just Stop Oil is by no means using violent action but by talking to people around me and overhearing conversations on the ground so to speak, about Just Stop Oil it does feel like the conversations around the group is about their controversy rather than what they are fighting for. 'Just 21 per cent of respondents to the YouGov survey said they were in support of the climate groups' actions.' (Webb, 2022) Just Stop Oil are doing vital workand I understand the extremity to which they act, there is no doubt that the group raisedawareness andissues into the public agenda in a way that a letter or petition would not. However, I do think that manycitizensfeel moreanger andnegativeconnotations towards wanting to act around the climate crisis because of the way in which the Just Stop Oil protest.So where does that leave us? Do organisations define new ways of disruption? Obviously, it is not that simple, take a backseat and nothing will change, switch into high gear and you will be criticised for causing disruption. How can organizations effectively disrupt the status quo without alienating the public?

Humour can be an effective way to challenge authority. By poking fun at those in positions of power and authority, protesters can use humour to disrupt the status quo and challenge dominant ideologies. A groupthat practices this is Led ByDonkeys, founded in January 2019. They are a British political campaign group and their name is inspired by the phrase 'Lions led by donkeys'.The group is known for creatinglarge billboard advertisements featuring quotes from politicians, particularly those related to Brexit. Thequotesareoften taken out of context or selectively edited to highlight the hypocrisy orinconsistency ofthe politicians. "We could dig out the most offensive lies, lunacy and hypocrisy of our Brexit overlords and paste those up as well. Tweets you can't delete." (Led By Donkeys, 2019, pp.2) Led By Donkeys aims tohold politicians accountable for their words and actions, and to encourage greater transparency and honestyin politics. The group has gained significant attention and support, and its billboard advertisements havebecome a well-known feature of the political landscape. One of Led By Donkeys' most famous billboard advertisements featured aquotefrom former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The quote, which Johnsons aide in 2016,read: "My policy on cake is pro having itand pro eatingit."(New Politic, 2021) Thequotewas intended to illustrate Johnson's apparent desire to have the benefits of both remaining in and leavingthe European Union. Which did not age well. Led By Donkeys' use of the quote on a billboard helped tohighlight the contradictions in Johnson's stance on Brexit and contributed to the wider debate about theUK's relationship with the EU. A reason that humour is successful in the group's work is that it can makecomplex or serious issues more accessible and relatable to a wider audience. By using humour and satire,Led By Donkeys is able to deliver political messages that might otherwise be suppressed or ignored by the media or the government. In this way, humour can serve as a form of guerrilla communication that allows activists to bypass traditional channels of communication and reach people directly. What is more eye-catching than a 20-foot billboard that says… ' "Fuck Business" by @borisjohnson ' (Led By Donkeys,2019, p. 47)

Humour can help to defuse tension and violence. By using humour, protesters can reduce the likelihood of confrontations escalating into violence. This can also help to create a more positive atmosphere at protestsand make them more welcoming to a wider range of people. Kacey Wong is an artist, educator and social activist from Hong Kong. His work consists of making protest performance art during the 2019 HongKong protests. In one of Wong's pieces, he dresses up as Moses because in order to protest legally inHong Kong you must apply for a document from the police department unless you have a religious reasonyou can then be exempt. Protesters organised a 'religious gathering' to pray, so they could congregate and'pray' for sinners of the opposition. Wong attended the gathering dressed as Moses with a homemadetablet which displayed the 'Five Commandments', which were:

  1. Withdraw the China Extradition Bill
  2. Revoke the rioting terminology
  3. Drop all charges on protestors
  4. Set up an independent commission of inquiry
  5. True democracy for the people of Hong Kong (Wong,2019)

In a TED talk, the Art of Protest - Resistance & Humour in the Age of Political Absurdity (TEDxVienna,2019 ), Wong speaks about his experiences protesting for Hong Kong. "My city is dying but I didn't just stand on the sidelines and watch, I fight and resist, with what I do best in art." Wong says that it felt rightfor him to stand up as a citizen. He says we don't have to do the same as him but in the face of oppressiondo what you do best. He is an artist, so he used art. The performance was considered successful for anumberofreasons.Firstly, itwasvisually striking and captured the attention of both local media and media from across the world, which helped to raise awareness of the protests and the issues at stake. Additionally,the use of religious imagery, particularly inspired by the Ten Commandments, was seen as a powerfulsymbol of the protesters' moral authority and their commitment to non-violence. By using satire and dressing up as a biblical figure to deliver the demands of the protest movement, Wong was able to bring a moment of joy to young protestors in the midst of political turmoil and despair.

Humour can make protests or social movements more memorable. By using humour and satire, protesterscan create slogans, and memorable imagery, and simplify complex, serious language into language that isunderstandable and bold. This can help to raise awareness about the cause and attract more support."Fighting discrimination with facts, humour and fake fur" (www.amnesty.org.uk,2005) is the motto ofThe Guerrilla Girls. They are a collective of anonymous female artists who use their artwork and activismto campaign for gender and racial equality in the art world. In 1985 New York City, the group formed inresponsetothelack of equality and representation faced by women and people of colourinthe art industry. "The group employs culture jamming in the form of posters,books, billboards, and publicappearances to expose discrimination and corruption." (Tate, 2022). One of the Guerrilla Girls' most famous pieces is a poster titled "Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?", 1989 (THEMET, 2021). The poster features a reclining female nude, a common subject in art history,alongsidealist of statistics about the representation of women artists in the MET. The statistics show that less than 5% of the artists featured in the museum's permanent collection are women, while 85% of the nudes are female. The poster uses satireto expose the gender imbalance and objectification of women in the art world and to call attention to the lack of representation of women artists. The combination of humour andshockvalueintheposterhelps to draw attention to the issue and to generate a response from theaudience.The group aim to bring 'fun' and 'cheeky' language into conversations that would usually consist of serious, high-brow intellectualism. Their work is an example of how simple words and text-based design, sarcasm, and humour can carry a complex message in an engaging and memorable way.

The use of satire in protest art can be effective but also misunderstood. The Yes Men, a group of activists,used satire to perform a hoax involving The New York Times called "The New York Times Hoax - The Yes Men Fix The World" (rageunderground, 2010). In 2008, The Yes Men created a fake edition of thenewspaper, which they distributed in the streets of New York, with the headline "Iraq War Ends" andarticles announcing the end of the war and the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, generating hope and joyamong the public but also causing confusion and criticism. The group faced criticism formisleadingpeople, manipulating emotions and lack of clear messaging. Despite this, the use of satire and absurdity brought attention to the issue of war and the desire for peace in a playful and humorous way. While themethod may have been controversial, the intent was to critique and satirize the issue of the Iraq War in the broader political and social context.

So far in this essay, I have discussed the times when humour has been used in protest art and socialmovements, and there is evidence to suggest that protests that incorporate humour and satire may be moresuccessful than those that don't. However, it is important to point out that not all humour is appropriate oreffective in a protest setting, as it can trivialize serious issues, mock the suffering of marginalized groupsand distract from theseriousness ofthe issues. Different people or groups may argue differently on theuse of humour in protest. However, when used effectively, humour can be a vital way of getting themessage out there. As shown by satirical protest activists, humour can provide joy in times that are uncertain. Next, I will discuss satirical election campaigns and how they are a formof resistance against the established order.

In Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements L.M. Bogad writes about the act ofsatirical election campaigns. Bogad writes "where liberal democracy has been established, where rights to vote is seen as both a civil right and civil duty, marginalised political opposers have chosen to run for public office on satirical and ironic platforms."(Bogad, 2016, pp.2 ) There is little intention of winning inthe traditional sense but to undermine the legitimacy of other opponents and the electoral system whichthey use to send their message. (Bogad, 2016) "Electoral guerrilla theatre is often an expression of frustration felt by individual citizens and social movements who feel excluded from the real decision-making process in current democracies." (Bogad, 2016, pp.3)Using aesthetics of camp, agitprop theatre (oppositional or politically combative art),and the stand-up comic, a space for expression is born.

An example of the satirical election campaign is depicted in the short documentary film by Michael Moore called The Awful Truth (IMDB, 2000). Moore describes how in the year 2000 the choice forrunning election candidates for US Congress was poor, as he describes, "another miserable election year…we got all these people running for office, we don't like any of them, there's no choice on the ballot, people aren't going to vote, yet this is a democracy"(godulous,2009) So a cause to action was to push his own and his teams own satirical candidate to highlight the absurdity of unopposed Congressmen which were re-elected as they were the only choice on the ballot. Michael Moore and other supporters registered for their chosen candidate for US Congress in the 11th district, the candidate was a potted ficus plant. Ficus'campaign was highly successful as you see supporters shaking hands with theplant and giving their support. Moore says "We have the chance to say something very important, that people in thiscountry are sick and tired of these two political parties… So we have given people a chance to write in Ficus on the ballot, it's a way to say none of the above, it's a way to say I'm not going to take it anymore, it's the fuck you vote." (godulous, 2009) The documentary is highly amusing as you see the ridiculed opposing congressmen engage in conversations with Moore and ficus. Moore speaks to Jerry Lewis - first elected to Congress in 1978 - "Would you take Ficus as your opponent?" Lewis replies, "Ficus? No, I wouldn't want to make fun of the existing opponents. I take the opposition very seriously."(godulous,2009) Something about watching these conservative cis white men threatened by a 3ft plant is inspiringand very funny. When watching the documentary you feel an anarchist spirit within all the supporters. The collective chanting of, "Ficus! Ficus! Ficus!" while said with a smile, contains a strong element of ongoing frustration and a will to finally speak up against the injustice and bias of the US electoral system. Ficus acted as a catalyst that sparked a rebellion within many who felt marginalised within the verydemocracy which granted them 'freedom' in political choices. "None of the plants won, but the campaigns generated some press coverage for Moore's lampooning of what he saw as a largely closed, duopolistic US electoral system." (Bogad, 2005, p.2) This is where Mulkay's study of the humorous mode, upsettingthe natural order of the serious mode, comes into play. The serious mode is the natural order of the USelectoral system and where Ficus is problematic causing disruption. The fact is this disruption allowed space where oppositional, collective identity and resistance were encouraged. In The Awful Truth whengovernment officials or running Congressmen who are challenged with questions from Moore, you seethem stumble with their words, or reply "no comment". As Hart says, "Criticism expressed in a joking manner is more difficult to refute by "rational" arguments. Authority and power can melt, as the invitation__ to laugh with one another appeals to all-human feelings and breaks down "official" barriers."(Hart, 2007, pp.8) I particularly love this idea of humour in this sense creating a moment where hostility might be dropped between two oppositions.It might be a split-second truce between the two sides.

The Monster Raving Loony Party (MRLP) is a British political party founded in 1982. They are knownfor their humorous and satirical approach to politics,and members are often characterized by theirirreverent and unconventional campaigning tactics. The party was founded by musician David Sutch, alsoknown as "Screaming Lord Sutch". (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, 2015) The party has runcandidates in numerous UK general elections, local elections and by-elections and is considered thelongest-running satirical political party in the world. "It is notable for its deliberately bizarre policies and it effectively exists to satirise British politics and to offer itself as an alternative for protest voters. This is especially true in constituencies where the party holding the safe seat is unlikely to lose it and everyone else's vote would be quietly wasted."(Rodger, 2018) The Monster Raving Loony Party's ethos was centredaround the belief that politics was too often taken too seriously, and that injecting a bit of humour andsatire into the political process could help to engage more people and bring about positive change. The party's platform was largely focused on championing absurd and humorous ideas and their '#manicfesto'includes political aims such as, "To unite the population, we will surround the UK with a large cardboard box so people can be both in and/or out of the EU. This will be known as Schrodinger's Brexit." and "To get more children reading, fish and chips will once again be wrapped in newspaper."(The OfficialMonster Raving Loony Party, 2015) Despite their humorous approach, the MRLP also take on moreserious issues, such as animal rights and environmentalism. The MRLP are known for their irreverent andwacky sense of humour and their refusal to take themselves too seriously, which they see as an importantway of poking fun at the often stuffy and self-important nature of mainstream politics. By poking fun atthe powerful and the privileged, satire can disrupt the status quo and give a platform to alternative perspectives. Its candidates often get coverage from the media during election times, this could be due to the fact that its campaigns are viewed as harmless, and even entertaining, often seen as away of criticising the political system, and making a statement about the alternative way of handling politics.

Overall, the MRLP's success can be attributed to its unique and humorous approach to politics, which hasresonated with some members of the public and provided a form of political satire that the UK public is attracted to.

Niko Omilana is a British Youtuber star who is 23 and ran for mayor of London in the 2021 election.Omilana posted a video on Youtube called 'How I Won The London Mayor Election' (Omilana, 2021)where he documents the narrative behind his campaign for mayor of London. He introduces himself in thevideo, "Hi, I'm Niko Omilana. Known internet troll and supreme leader of the Niko Defense League (NDL)". (Omilana, 2021) Omilana's campaign was satirical and his ethos was to undermine the legitimacyof the other candidates and make the point that the under-25 age group in the UK feel unrepresented by thecurrent political landscape. "As tongue-in-cheek as Niko's campaign was, he actually had some pretty sensible policies and clearly a lot of voters agreed." (Keith, 2021) Some of Olimana's policies included,"Boris Johnson will be forced to shush" and "Employ more policemen and put them straight into the houses of parliament as that's where the all the real criminals are." (Niko Olimana, 2021) Niko Omilanaand the support behind the NDL placed him 5th in 2021's London Mayoral Election when the results camein. This ranked him as the highest independent candidate with almost 50,000 votes (three times the votes of Hartlepool's new MP Jill Mortimer), Omilana successfully beat several popular independent rivals including Laurence Fox and Piers Corbyn pure lyon "vibes". (ADETORO, 2021)

Satirical election campaigns, such as the Potted Ficus Campaign, Niko Omilana and TMRLP serve as aform of resistance against the established order by undermining the legitimacy of the electoral system andopposition. These campaigns often referred to as Electoral Guerrilla Theatre, are a way for marginalized individuals and social movements to express frustration and exclusion from the decision-making process indemocracies. Using humour and satire, these campaigns provide an outlet for political expression and dissent, and may also be a way for people to make a statement of dissatisfaction with the traditional political system and major parties. Although satirical candidates may not win elections, they can be considered successful in raising awareness, creating fun and excitement, and providing a form of political satire that resonates with the public. This next section will look at satirical cartoons and why they areimportantin commenting on currentevents and political issues.

"Political cartoonists go to the core of the truth, that's the extraordinary thing. We'd like to think what they are doing is very ridiculous and funny but actually, it's very often a stark, sharp truth." - Jon Snow,Broadcaster(www.dandad.org,2015)

Editorial cartoons, also known as political cartoons, are a form of commentary that uses visual imageryand satire to comment on current events and political issues. These cartoons can be an effective way to bring attention to important social issues, as well as to critique the actions and policies of individuals and institutions in positions of power. William Hogarth was one of the earliest cartoonists from the 16thcentury,and his work demonstrated thep ower of artistic imagery in achieving political means.(VITTACHI, 2016) During the Enlightenment period in Europe, political cartoons became more prevalentin print media as a means of poking fun at the ruling class and criticizing political corruption. In the 17th and 18th centuries, satirists would target and mock the Georgian monarchy. Cartoonists such as James Gillray provides a window through history of what people were thinking and talking about at the time."Cartoons do not only act as news sources, but they can translate into a historical record of the political climate. In a time when journalism is constantly evolving, political cartoons have remained a timeless method of political commentary." (Atfield 2018)Editorial cartoons are an important part of newspapersand other forms of media today. "The reason editorial cartoons came about was that newspapers were aesthetically incredibly dull because photography didn't really exist," (Alagiah, 2020) says cartoon expert,Tim Benson. They provide a unique form of commentary and analysis on current events and politicalissues, using satire, irony, and humour to comment on the news and offer a different perspective from traditional news reporting.So, in what way can satirical cartoons create space for social change and are they effective in doing so?

One way that editorial cartoons can enact social change is by raising public awareness about a particular issue or problem. Cartoons can distil complex issues into a single image,making them easily understandable and memorable for a wide audience. Martin Rowson, who is editorial cartoonist for theGuardian, says "Since 1695, we've pretty much more or less had an interrupted run of visual satire without government's interfering too much, which means we [cartoons] have actually become part of thepolitical conversation"(www.dandad.org,2015)Additionally, because editorial cartoons are often published in newspapers, magazines, and online, they can reach a large and diverse audience, includingpeople who may not have been actively engaged with current affairs. Another way that editorial cartoonscan enact social change is by critiquing the actions and policies of individuals and institutions in positionsof power. Cartoons can be a form of dissent and can challenge the dominant narrative and point of view, as well as question the decisions, statements and actions of politicians, organizations, and institutions, providing an alternative perspective. "The main aim is to puncher the hubris and hypocrisy that the politicians at Westminster seem to suffer from," says Tim Benson (www.dandad.org,2015). The powerof editorial cartoons lies in their ability to make people think and question their own assumptions and thestatus quo. This helps in the process of citizens being informed and politically active, which is a key element of democracy.

Private Eye is a British satirical magazine that is known for its irreverent and often controversial sense of humour and satirical illustrations. It was founded in 1961 by editor and satirist Ian Hislop and has been published continuously since then. "Private Eye was part of a wave of alternative / anti-establishment mags produced with camera-ready artwork."(Walters, 2012)The magazine covers a wide range of topics, including politics, economics, media, celebrities, and current events. It is known for its critical andoften cynical approach to these topics, as well as its use of humour and satire to comment on them. Onereason for its success is its reputation for investigative journalism and uncovering important stories thatother publications might miss or avoid. The magazine is known for its critical coverage of politics, business, and the media, which has earned it a reputation for holding those in power accountable. Another reason for its success is its distinctive voice and tone. The magazine's witty and irreverent tone, which is characterized by sarcasm, satire, and irony, has helped it to stand out from other publications. Private Eye magazine gives us the space where we can laugh at those in charge. In summary, editorial cartoons and satirical media can enact social change by raising public awareness, critiquing the actions and policies ofindividuals and institutions in positions of power, and providing a way for marginalized voices and perspectives to be heard. They can be a powerful tool for encouraging political engagement and activism, and for promoting democracy and social justice as Martin Rowson describes, "The point of the newspaper cartoon is to be an oasis of anarchy."(www.dandad.org,2015)

To conclude, humour has been used as a means of challenging the status quo for centuries as it allows fo the expression of frustration and discontent in a non-violent way. Theories by Sigmund Freud suggest that humour serves as a means of coping with difficult situations and releasing repressed emotions. Satire, inparticular, has the power to expose injustice and corruption by using hyperbole and absurdity to highlightthe flaws in society, as described through Orwellian ideas. Satirical art and editorial cartoons made by artists havethepower to makepeoplethink and question their own assumptions and thestatus quo, andthis helps in the process of citizens being informed and politically active. I discussed the potential of humour as an alternative form of resistance against systematic oppression and whether the message itconveys is clearer than other traditional methods of resistance. Activists such as Led By Donkeys, Kacey Wong, and The Guerrilla Girls prove this might just be the case as they lead the way in providing means to battle oppressive systems while staying funny. However, it's important to recognize that not all humour isappropriateor effective in a protest setting. The use of humour can also be divisive and may marginalize certain groups, so it is important to be aware of these potential downsides. It is also important to examine different types of resistance, as one form may not be suitable for every situation or social problem. The keytakeaway is that humour in protest is complex, and effective use of it requires a clear understanding of theissue at hand. The use of satire within illustration, performance art, stand-up comedy, and film can all bepowerful forms of protest when used effectively. Overall, humour and satire can be powerful tools forpositive social change, but it's important to use them responsibly and thoughtfully. As George Orwell said,"Every joke is a tiny revolution".(Orwell, 1945)


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