Beyond Satire

Republican Candidates 2016

Republican Candidates 2016


It is a cliché of course to say that this or that event is so ridiculous, so absurd, so egregious or so thoroughly disgusting that it is beyond satire, but the truth is that there is much happening in the world now that is exactly that.

As a writer who characterises himself as a satirist, the woeful set of characters who parade themselves for the nomination of Republican candidate for the presidential elections is an obvious case. ‘Ridiculous’, ‘stupid’, ‘insane’ and so on are simply not sufficiently descriptive as adjectives for any one of these characters any of which would normally be considered well beyond the pale.

As someone with a kind of moral compass who is concerned about the survival of the planet and the people who live on it, who is concerned about social justice and the welfare of the poor and disadvantaged, who is opposed to social discrimination on any non-moral grounds and who would rather live in a world where the transition through the 21st century to the next should have as few nasty shocks as possible, the crowd of sociopathic, self-seeking, deluded and ultimately dangerous individuals is truly shocking. And of all of these, Donald Trump is only the worst because his demagoguery even shocks those of the only moderately extreme right (i.e. they aren’t so stupid as to actually believe the nonsense broadcast on Fox News).

This has not been a good year for those of us who would like satire to act only as a warning of how bad things can be, rather than an objective view of the world. The Tories won the British General Election and continue to slash and burn in pursuit of an austerity imposed only on those who can least bear it. Rupert Murdoch has shown that however much evil you perpetrate, in the end money and power in the media will always buy you a Get Out of Jail Free card. The American congress has successfully immobilised the American political process and laid the blame on a president whose main strategy seems to be to be as moderate and compromising as he possibly can. And now like the fools who step in where all but angels fear to tread, all the world’s powers have signed up to an agenda set by the most insane extremists since Pol Pot and the Cultural Revolution, who instead of a Proletarian Year Zero and a Little Red Book, parade a perverted version of Islam distilled from somewhat unspecific passages selected with care and prejudice from the Quran. And provoked by outrages in France, Egypt and elsewhere, we now demonstrate that no lessons at all have been learnt from the debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan (both of which are now in a much worse state before the body bags came home).

Sometimes, I wonder whether my satirical fiction No Future rather than being a satire is some kind of Nostradamus-like prediction of what will actually come to pass.

Or maybe that my satire, rather than being extreme, erred more on the side of caution.




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