Leonard Freedman-Professor Emeritus, Political Science, UCLA
This is a website about political satire - the mocking of everything and everybody political, especially the politically powerful.
It has a long history going back to ancient Celtic and Arabic tribes and classical Greece and Rome; and there is more of it today than ever before. I’ve written about it in a recent book, and made it my post-retirement focus of research and teaching. Here’s why:
Political satire is therapeutic. Every day we watch breaking news about the carnage of war, the blundering of leaders, the never-ending greed and corruption -- all extremely depressing. Satire transmutes these continuing tales of human depredation and folly into ridicule to bring us solace in laughter. As Byron put it:
And if I laugh at any mortal thing
‘Tis that I may not weep.
Political satire is in the forefront of the fight for freedom of expression. It uses caustic wit to deride hypocrisy, empty promises, and abuses of power. Not surprisingly some of its targets, especially in authoritarian regimes, resent being ridiculed and try to ban the satire and the satirists. So the study of political satire is part of the larger global study of the perennial struggle against the pall of censorship.
Performing political satire is my long-time avocation. Ever since my undergraduate days in London I’ve been an amateur practitioner of the art, writing and performing satirical ditties. Linked to this site are several examples of my songs from recent years.
See other pages of this site for more on::
Why political satire matters.
The satirist’s dilemma: How to outdo reality?