An important journalistic practice is the ability to critically evaluate. This includes an array of methods, however, one of the most prominent and perhaps one of the more effective sorts arises from the satirical. Satirical writing and imagery allows for humour to convey and articulate both underlying, and quite often, confronting political, social, cultural and economic persuasions. As Christopher Hitchens put it, most probably an interpretation of Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and his love for Orwellian principles, “The mockery of religion is one of the most essential things, one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority”. Ergo, the satirists job in the post- post-modern world is undeniably important, as it sheds light on the wonderful nature of secular thought, reason and expression, often conveyed through thoroughly taking the piss. Nothing should be emancipated from criticism, including faith beliefs, simply because the right to free speech means the right to offend. Thus, in order to maintain free expression, satire within the world of journalism must remain in order to evoke emotional persuasions, ultimately to question the infallible nature of totalities and religious doctrine (arguably one in the same).
why are we tolerant of the intolerant? Why is the satirists job becoming increasingly dangerous in today’s society? I would argue that the over exaggeration of Said’s Orientalism has established an overly progressive culture in which all minority culture is respected without question. This credulity has allowed for free expression to be challenged, particularly when observing the “politically correct” nature of current society. Furthermore, the Charlie Hebdo massacre is evident of this infallible nature, concerning religious doctrine; Seen also with Salman Rushdie, after the publication of the Satanic Verses. However, after Sir Salman Rushdie’s knighthood, there was an overwhelming show of apologists attempting to justify the actions of the Islamic community attempting to harm the author, including Shirley Williams, who called the Knighthood “a mistake, as this man has offended”. She also noted that his protection against terrorism had been an incredible drain on the taxpayer. Christopher Hitchens, quite rightly, retaliated, stating that it was a contemptable statement, along with the rhetorical question, “do you think it’s a waste of time and money defending free expression from suicide murders?”. The right to be offended is unquestionable, however to justify it as an argument is ridiculous; as it doesn’t constitute any argument, leading back to the statement just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right. Furthermore, the medium of a satirist seen within journalism today, allows for sensitive and often unspoken areas of debate to be brought into public light through humour.
Charlie Hebdo, has released a variety of cartoons concerning monotheism, including Christian, Jewish and Islamic satirical drawings. It is an important job for the satirist to question the infallibility of doctrines through comedic purposes, for many reasons including those listed above, which relate to Orwellian standards of totality; however, the most important, based on personal opinion, is because an individual maintains that right to free expression. Free expression and thought, is fundamentally important in instigating public debate through humour, and thus should be defended against violence and retaliation.
Some satirical posts to consider.
Charlie Hebdo Website: https://charliehebdo.fr/en
Copy and paste into google.
The idea of the untouchables, relates once again to importance of satirical pieces, in that they allow for everything to be commented on.
Has the establishment of a plebiscite resulted in disillusion? Has it established ambivalence?
These questions, which have been on the mind of many yes voters during this plebiscite, demonstrate the overall nature of the debate. Dr Quinn Eades, a prominent author, poet and researcher within the LGBTIQ community, wrote an article concerning the emotional consequences of the campaign, particularly when observing the aggressive and somewhat antagonistic nature of opposing reactionaries (Eades, 2017). The article noted on the vanishing of the illusion of acceptance, arguably one of the most concerning and vilifying components from No Campaign propaganda. This falls back to the opening questions, in that the vanishing of acceptance has led many to reconsider the benefits of the plebiscite; the I have regarded Australia as quite progressive, however after attitude, most notably comparable to schoolyard bullying, has emerged with such vigour, I find myself thoroughly disgusted with the abhorrent treatment and vilification of a community which has not only been a wonderful source of wisdom and moral teaching to myself (A heterosexual male), but to the children of their own. It seems that individuals who sternly protest the equality of their fellow human beings are stuck in the philosophical state of solipsism, in that their ego-centrical nature blinds them the emotional damage that they may be adhering and promoting. The importance of this piece, and what hopefully will be distilled, is the overwhelming nature of vilification which surrounds the plebiscite. What Jamie spoke of in our 30-minute interview, cannot all be summarised in 400 words or within a minute and a half of audio, however, a significant aspect she mentioned was the anger she felt after receiving the postal package. She found it difficult to comprehend that she was being asked to judge on the nature of her relations. This highlights the issues which surround the LGBTI community, according to both Dr Eades and Jamie James (Interviewee); this is something which the community feels are negated by the rest of the general public when concerning the nature of the plebiscite.
Eades, Quinn, I Can’t Stop Crying- The Posters Are Being Pulled Down, Melbourne: The Lifted Brow, 2017.
Find an example of a media text presenting an issue.
How might this media text contribute to debate in the public sphere?
Where does this debate take place?
Now, I know what you’re thinking, how is this media text presenting an issue? This poster came home from school with my brother, age 5, which was kindly provided to him by his school’s “scripture teacher”. Whilst I myself am an atheist, and possess quite a large amount of bias regarding the teaching of monotheistic religions in primary education as fact, I still feel that I am informed enough to provide a coherent and articulate response as to why this media text, given to kindergartners, presents an issue in our public education system.
The debate itself revolves around the teaching of religious studies in our public schooling systems. however, these “religious studies” or “scripture” as it is known in most schools has evolved (no pun intended) into the teaching of monotheistic religion, mainly the beliefs of the Christian doctrine. Furthermore, these teachings are presented as fact, which in my opinion is an issue which needs resolution. We see this debate in America also with the Vice President Mike Pence condemning Evolution and prompting for creationism to be taught in science classes. Pence bushed for a ban on evolution in the schooling systems of America late last year. See the link below if you want to check it out, if not however, I’ll give you some quotes from Pence.
The argument from Mike Pence is that Darwinian Evolution is an atheistic mantra and that we should “protect students from indoctrination”. Now this is where the hypocrisy goes comical. The poster given to my 5-year-old brother demonstrates how through monotheistic teachings of the Christian religion, there is an attempt to indoctrinate the youthful, thus allowing them to present these teachings as evidence based fact whilst they are young and impressionable. The idea that god is all loving, as demonstrated in the poster, is somewhat cherry picked from the scripture and through close analyse I have found many contradictions which unfortunately by the time the children are old enough to understand; and have these contradictions explained to them it is too late. As by then, the religious mantra has been demonstrated as fact and thus their minds already impacted.
To save the critical comments such as “where are the examples” I will provide one quick one here, however feel free to question me in the comments. The idea from the poster that “god loves and cares for the things he has made”, is contradicted by Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. This is contradictory if the bible verses are to be believed, as the monotheistic God of the Christian religion created homosexuals and thus is stating that those he is meant to care about are abominations. This to me is abhorrent and immoral.
What are the current issues involving people and their use of the media?
When asking the question of who controls the media, it is critical to obtain an angle. In this case, the question which arises is the current issue regrading people in relation to their use of media. In my opinion, it is impossible for a news outlet to become completely unbiased to a political agenda, especially when observing the main split in political ideology, such as the debates on climate change, secularism (which includes the gay marriage debate) and immigration. These debates are seen right throughout the media, with the President of The United States, Donald Trump, denying the validity of climate change, criticism of doctrines being conflated with bigotry and racism and finally the Brexit.
Media outlets and the people who promote them are using their platforms to sway public opinion to suit a political agenda, rather than reporting unbiased facts and discussions. It is this use of the media which is an issue. Furthermore, i will discuss this statement in regards to the Brexit.
The idea of the Brexit is one that is disillusioned through the political sway of the UK’s right winged independence parties, one such being the voice of UKIP or more appropriately their front man Nigel Farage who urged the UK that the Brexit was for the best, stating that “we give the EU 350 million pounds a week” which in turn, through the use of media such as twitter, was spread as fact by Farage. Furthermore, this number had been debunked and stood at an estimated 190 million dollars a week. John Oliver had pointed out in a segment, the day after the referendum, that in order to stay within common market, the UK would have to pay a similar amount to the European Union either way. However, here we are in 2017 with the Brexit confirmed. To make matters worse, a CNN poll conducted the day after the Brexit showed the most googled questions surrounding the EU including “what is the EU?” and “what does it mean if i voted to leave the EU?”.
Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls’ the media you use to access your ‘news’? Why does this matter?
To answer the question immediately, I access a large range of media outlets, whether its CNN, SBS or ABC. However, whilst I do regard myself as swaying more to the left of politics, I do subscribe to Fox News, simply to see how they portray their stories and how they report on events. I feel as though I would be hypocritical if I just assumed their bias and stuck to my “fake news”.
However, I do not just access mainstream media outlets who associate themselves with the “unbiased” market, as some of the most interesting and thought provoking reasoning comes from news platforms that pride themselves on their political, cultural, social and economic beliefs. One such example, being Russel Brand’s “Trew News”, which is presented on his YouTube channel weekly. You can find updates on issues regarding the Brexit, changing drug laws, U.S policies mainly revolving around Trump, vaccinations and many more current and interesting topics. Whilst this is clear bias, it also provides critical analyse and thinking on issues which are simply reported on by mainstream media outlets such as CNN and Fox News.
Why does this matter? It matters because information is the foundation of our society. Without information we are left in the dark and it is a human instinct to understand and discover, thus news outlets are provided for us. Therefore, the information that is given to us needs to be analysed for probable bias, as information can be misconstrued and warped to fit a personal or political gain. If you asked a conservative American about media bias, they would most likely say that liberalism is saturated throughout, however statistics would show the Murdoch owns a large majority of the world’s media sources thus debunking the claim. The right winged media bias is constructed as to prevent true liberalism and keep it contained. Furthermore, this is seen more so than ever, with the attack of liberal media in the White House, being barred from entering by President Trump during several of his press conferences . Its starting to look like George Orwell’s 1984.