Satire, A History Through the Media

It appears to be easy to become a satirist within the media today. YouTube, Vine and Facebook are filled with self created people taking the piss at just about every aspect of society today. There’s everyone from John Oliver speaking eh hard truths dumbed down so everyone can understand political policies to Alan Tsibulya of Facebook fame from Sydney mocking everyone from the Eastern suburbs.

But why do people keep watching this kind of content?


The earliest version of fake news that I can uncover can be traced back to the 6AD. The tainted reputation of Emperor Justinian by the historian at the time Procopius who did not like the emperor at the time. The slander came in the form of sonnets written prior to the elections and handed out to the public. These become known as pasquindas. It was set in the 17th Century where Parisian’s believed fake news this time called canards. Historically these were very important for not only did they contribute to fake news but also to the publics disliking of Marie-Antoinette (Darnton 2017). In 1772 ‘The Morning Post’ was founded in London where the majority of it was fake news, meanwhile in Paris it was illegal to publish such stories until 1789, but underground word of mouth continued to spread fake news.

Fake news today is criticised and analysed much more closely than it was when it first began in 6AD. Instead news seems to much more be made fun of and anyone who chooses to follow the word of mainstream media. John Oliver aired on American TV in 2014, since then he’s become ever popular for creating content out of satire for the everyday person to understand. And it works. He is one of the most popular late night TV hosts in America. ‘His power is in his ability to be playful, make the citizen feel smart, bring attention to before, and give them credit for doing it.’ (Helmore 2014).


So where does all this satire lead to in the art world?


Banksy would be one of the most prolific street artists today that works with satire. His works remind me of a take on a mix of the fake news from the streets of Paris and the political jokes made on TV today. Painted anonymously on the walls of building for the public to see, his art brings together satire and the public.


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