Regular readers of my solecistic soliloquies may have feared/hoped that I’d finally provoked the wrong right-wing nut-job and spent a few months face-down in a ditch trying to sleep off a case of localised lead-poisoning.
No such luck, I’m afraid – if I’ve been poisoned by anything over the last few months it’s been a cocktail of ennui, cynicism and despair that I should probably stop ordering and go back to the neat Jameson’s and misused psychotropics that, on a leisurely re-read, appear to have fuelled most of my output to date.
If I’m aiming for anything with these articles, other than a safety net against future conscription, it’s a satirical look at what’s going on with just enough jokes to keep the jaded reader awake to the end of the piece. Since I last put stylus to wax tablet (following the recent hipster obsession with vintage tech, my blogs are written on clay tablets in cuneiform and transcribed to electronic media by a skinny intern with an incongruous beard whom I pay entirely in sarcasm) there’s been plenty going on that’s stuck a hot needle in my overloaded spleen but as soon as I think about writing something…
The thing about trying a bit of satirical humour is that you want to be able to exaggerate, to carry something that you find ridiculous to its logical (or illogical) extreme. How, though, do you go about satirising news about Donald Trump, who appears from even the most balanced media coverage, to be a Spitting Image puppet brought to life and left to run rampage across American politics?
How do you satirise David Cameron telling the UK he’s fighting the EU to regain our democratic rights while he sells them on to corporations via TTIP? How do you make a joke about the global response to climate change without it being more than a weary glance and raised eyebrow at the guy standing on the next stool across at the gallows. “Hey what’s the deal with these ropes, man? Pretty ironic when I’m being hanged for dealing…”
How do you write satire when the BBC churns out the same pro-economic-expansion-come-what-may as everyone else while the planet falls apart under our noses? They film Cameron standing in a swamped village promising a few quid for flood defences without challenging him to do something about the underlying problem.
The modern news looks like a spoof dreamed up by George Orwell during a binge-drinking break from writing 1984 while if you want compassionate, thoughtful and balanced commentary on current events, you’re better off reading the output of a comedian – “Clean energy is always described as expensive and inefficient, but I suppose that if the price of the alternatives is extinction, we might just be measuring expense and efficiency wrongly…” that’s Frankie Boyle, professional media bogeyman, not George Monbiot.
Anyway, here I am again, mixing metaphors, moaning and bad taste humour. It feels like taking on the Agean Stables armed only with a cocktail swizzler but I suppose that’s all the more reason to crack on and put your back into it.
As a new feature for 2016 (and, if we’re honest, a spur to write more), I’ve decided to take requests so, if there’s some topic you’d be interested to see me try, drop me a line. I promise to either write something or to send you a personal and deeply offensive message declining the offer.