The trouble with satire

Not usually one to opine on this website, I did get an email from someone who quite strongly felt that tonight’s Mad As Hell disrespected the ANZACs, and I felt it was worth discussing.

The issue was probably due to the opening sketch and the interview with Francis’s character. (Hopefully I get around to fully re-capping it) In the opening sketch, soldiers were being told they were landing at ANZAC Cove on the 25th of April to honour the memory and skill of footballers (for which the soldiers felt unworthy) – basically a reversal of the real life situation where footballers play a “blockbuster match” to honour the ANZACs. With Francis’s character, I felt the intent was to lampoon the way the events of the day itself can be not in-keeping with the spirit of the day. (By the way, I don’t usually sit and analyse the show so much – this comes from thinking about why I was chuckling when I watched it).

Whether or not the sketches will get any publicity is uncertain, but with its proximity to ANZAC day, it’s a small possibility – emotions will be strong. It’s something satirical material can easily become victim of: the audience misunderstanding the point due to a strong reaction against it. In some ways, it’s a good thing that people have the moral compass to reject it, but obviously it causes conflict with the writers actual intent.

It happened to The Chaser with their Make a Wish sketch, but I felt even then, the satirical point wasn’t strong enough to make it appropriate. In MAH’s case, I actually agree with the points – I’ve never understood the ANZAC day blockbuster, when we don’t play football on Good Friday. Actually, I felt the whole episode tonight was firing on all cylinders, and the team are really doing a good job now at satirising politics, culture and world events.

Sorry to blather, feel free to comment (but keep it constructive) 🙂

5 thoughts to “The trouble with satire”

  1. Having watched Who Do You Think You Are and seeing the effect various wars have had on Shaun’s ancestors, and how moved he was by them, I highly doubt that he would show anything but utmost respect for anyone who has been through it themselves, or had family connected to it.

    I think the two sketches were well handled. The first one seemed to point out the fact that most times, sports stars are given perhaps more respect than they deserve.
    The Francis one was all about how people take a big event, or holiday and commercialize it until it loses its true meaning.

    Shaun was spot on with the Alan Jones critique tonight and the whole show was thoroughly enjoyable.

  2. Thank you! thank you! thankyou! for satirising footy moronism (inflated bladder pursuit)as the superior of military valour.
    Thanks also for socking it to those two equivalent self-serving party p0olitical buffoons, Julia and Tony, the absurd ockerlene and the silly iron man

  3. As usual Shaun and his team have successfully delivered intelligent wit on topics that most comedians can never pull off well. I didn’t think the ANZAC skit was disrespectful at all. In fact after a day of sombre reflection it was great to end the day with a good laugh and I don’t think for one moment any of our diggers would have disapproved.

  4. As an American visiting your country this Anzac day, I was very proud to share in the honouring of your armed forces. While watching your program tonight, the satire regarding this issue did not match the sorrow of the blood that was spilled for a free Australia.

  5. I thought the ANZAC sketch was brilliant. Having spent a few days in the lead up to watching it researching various relatives’ participation in both world wars, I thought it was perfect and extremely well-timed as far as my own quite raw feelings were concerned. Our media throws around the words “hero” and “tragedy” so frequently and inappropriately with regards to sport, this sketch was a most eloquent and insightful reply. It summed up my feelings perfectly, and I laughed out loud.

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