What grabs reader attention when it comes to politics and satire?

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Answered by: Ed, An Expert in the Comdeians of the Past Category
Politics and satire have been a pair since the first politician made the first promise. And given the situation in U.S. politics today and the success of such shows like "The Daily Show" and online satire sites like "The Onion", writing satire can be a great way to not only get noticed but get your opinion out more than if you just opted for direct editorial.

But with all of the political satire on and off line today, what grabs a reader's attention? It's ability meeting opportunity. That means finding the hot topic and creating a fitting satire. Like in comedy, timing is everything. As an example, if Sarah Palin has mangled the English language yet again, a fitting choice for a satire might be of an Associated Press release that she is being given the Norm Crosby linguist award from Oxford.

Seeming credibility is key to make this political satire go viral. It should sit right on the line of what the reader will perceive as out right humor and possibly true. By doing this, search engines are more likely to pick it up and readers are more likely to read it. Those readers who "get it" will find the humor, appreciate it and pass it on. Those who don't, will think it's true and pass it on. Interestingly, it's the latter that can help your content more in the long run.

While it's trite it's also true that you should have something to say when bringing on the satire when it comes to politics. Let's take two classic comics, Vaughn Meader and Mort Sahl and how they dealt with politics and satire.

Both are examples of ability meeting opportunity. Meader saw the young John Kennedy and his family in the White House as a chance to use satire by poking fun at Kennedy and his large family. Sahl saw underneath the sanitized and conservative politics of the 1950s and early 1960s at the opportunity to address the point of view of a beat, college educated culture.

Besides working from the ability meeting opportunity rule for politics and satire, as we saw from both Meader and Sahl, they had something to say. For this reason, if you're going to have a go at this type of writing, it should reflect your belief, if not directly in general tone. If you're a liberal, write from a liberal slant. If you're a conservative, write from a conservative slant. But, and this is also key, realize that when it comes to politics and satire there are two sides. Consider the "other" side as openly as you can to make your satire more real.

The final bit of advice applies not only to politics and satire but comedy in general: Don't settle for the first few concepts before you write. The general rule is when the concepts start getting more difficult give yourself some time to generate even more. Then review them.

So the three general rules to keep in mind when attempting politics and satire in the classic tradition: ability must meet opportunity, have something to say in which you believe and don't settle for the first few concepts. Like the first batch of waffles, with few exceptions, they can usually be tossed out.

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