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What is Secular Comedy?

Satirical comedy has always been a source of inspiration for several generations of comedians and artists, from the very beginning. Even if some of them never took it seriously, satire has always had its long-time advocates, including several political figures. But it was the freedom and honesty that made political comedy stand out from other forms of entertainment. Satirical comedy is especially effective in achieving media development goals through its capacity to amplify social change efforts.

In contemporary society, many people are aware of the existence of satire through satire cartoons appearing on late night TV. Although political humour is often lampooned, it has always been regarded as a powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressed and the opposition. Through its capacity to attract large viewers and deliver news analysis in a humorous manner, it is used as an effective vehicle to promote transparency, freedom of speech and accountability. Under the influence of Hollywood films, the country became more accustomed to satire and comedy in the form of movies and dramatic plays. In countries like UK and US, where major-party politics has been suppressed for decades, political satire has become a respected art. Political comedy has also had considerable influence on British film and television, especially the sitcom The Office, House and Friends, whose protagonist, the Office employee, David Brent, frequently uses parodies to poke fun at his superiors and employers.

Satirical writers use satire as a means to bring about change and political consciousness to their readers. However, unlike real life, which rarely remains unchanged, satire goes through consistent changes. Rivalry between parties, religious wars, pollution and financial crisis are all constantly lampooned in the world of satire. As such political comedy has found a unique medium through which to bring across the message to the masses. In a bid to expose the pomp and glory of government, the satire becomes more cynical and introspective.

There are many examples of political satire in the media today that makes you wonder what else is left for satire to bring across a political statement. Two popular examples of political comedy TV shows are The Daily Show and The Simpsons. Both these shows mock prominent American politicians and other prominent personalities with a liberal spin. The premise of both shows is that there is no way a politician can ever get everything wrong. The show that most closely resembles The Daily Show in terms of content and satire is The Simpsons. The fictitious town of Springfield is regularly lampooned in the form of a topical story.

A more recent example of satire that depicts the foibles of modern society is The New York Times. The paper is regularly criticized by many commentators for the often frivolous and subjective nature of much of its content. A frequent target of the articles is the large advertisers who use the newspaper for their own commercial purposes. Many of the article subjects, such as corporations or politicians, are regularly maligned in the way the writers portray them. Even politicians who may have been guilty of malpractice in the past are often criticized in such pieces.

Although most satire aimed at a specific country or culture seems to be a relatively modern concept, the fact is that the concept has long existed. From ancient Greece and ancient Rome to early America and modern society, the concept of societal satire is a constant in history. In modern times, it is usually the target of satire artists who are attempting to make a political or ethical point about a public figure through the use of exaggeration or comedy.

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