I was going to just post a short comment on my SNL skit analysis responding to all the thoughtful and compelling comments I received from others around the blogosphere, but then I realized that my response might actually warrant its own post (because it got way too long for a comment), so here goes.
I don't think that it's SNL's job to change the world nor do I deny that its satire can and has made a difference in this campaign--at the very least, it's thrown all the hypocrisies and incongruities we've witnessed in the debates specifically and in the presidential race in general into sharp relief. Perhaps it's done more than that, but it's hard to measure a television show's effect on the politics of individual voters (unless someone's done a poll, though I don't know of any so far).
What I was getting at in my analysis is two-fold. On the one hand, in their comments both Erin and Kekla emphasized my point that "it's not SNL's job to bring home the political reality that Palin is a threat" (although commenter Bruce doesn't quite agree: "Tina Fey isn't just trying to amuse, she's trying to provoke as well.") This is exactly right--that SNL is comedy and should be held to comedy, not news show, standards--but it's also a bit like saying that fake news shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report don't affect people's outlook on politics just because they're supposed to be funny. So we can't overlook SNL's influence or the impact of the Fey-Palin association.
On the other hand, commenter drink me writes: "I find it very hard to believe that there's anyone who loves watching Tina Fey satirize Palin, and also is planning to vote for McCain/Palin. I understand the disconnect you're feeling, but in actual votes, I don't think it will make a difference." This commenter's point is well taken. It's probably true that most people who love Tina Fey's satire aren't McCain/Palin voters. However, I'm more worried about Democratic voters than Republican ones. The impetus for my analysis was working out why I found the SNL skits so disconcerting. One of those reasons, which I perhaps did not emphasize enough, is that these skits seem so funny, so obvious--and Fey is so good at making Palin seem ridiculous and, therefore, harmless (which was Le Loup-garou's original point)--that these skits may seduce us into thinking that everything's fine, that Palin's inexperience (for example) is clearly apparent to everyone in the country.
It disturbs me when I see that SNL skits and Daily Show clips get more (or even equal) net time than actual news stories, political analyses or clips from the real debates. I'm basing this concern on my very personal and completely unscientific experience with my friends' Facebook postings and email forwards, but that's how information travels these days, so I don't think it's an entirely specious assessment. That said, I'm not admonishing anyone. My previous post was a personal working-through, but I came to a conclusion that I think is important in a more widespread way. SNL is fantastic, but we need to keep striking while the iron's hot and bolster the effects of satire with continued political vigilance and public outcry. We can't rest on our media-sanctioned laurels.
4 hours ago