Satire and Dissent

Satire and Dissent

Interventions in Contemporary Political Debate
Amber Day
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/16/2011
Format: Paperback 21 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22281-7
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In an age when Jon Stewart frequently tops lists of most-trusted newscasters, the films of Michael Moore become a dominant topic of political campaign analysis, and activists adopt ironic, fake personas to attract attention—the satiric register has attained renewed and urgent prominence in political discourse. Amber Day focuses on the parodist news show, the satiric documentary, and ironic activism to examine the techniques of performance across media, highlighting their shared objective of bypassing standard media outlets and the highly choreographed nature of current political debate.

Author Bio

Amber Day is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies in the English and Cultural Studies Department at Bryant University.


“In an age when Jon Stewart frequently tops lists of most-trusted newscasters, and the films of Michael Moore become a dominant topic of political campaign analysis, the satiric register has achieved renewed and urgent prominence in political discourse lacking from organized politics in the 21st century.”

“Amber Day’s critical study of parodic television shows, satiric documentaries, and ironic activism reveals how comedy became an important means for political dissent during the past decade, and why it continues to be a vital resource for democratic renewal.”
 — Robert Hariman, Northwestern University

“Day deftly demonstrates the power of satire as a means of political critique and engagement. Casting a wide net, she examines how such critiques are performed in numerous media and genres, on and off the screen. Day adds an important new voice, advancing significant theoretical insights. This is a 'don’t miss' volume.”
 — Jeffrey P. Jones, author of Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement

“The use of irony and satire in politics . . . has become a leading characteristic of left-liberal politics in the new millennium. Amber Day argues persuasively why this has come to be, while explaining its mechanics and exploring its function and effect.”
 — Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy

“An excellent book, rich with detail and argument, sparkling with intelligence. Day illustrates how irony and satire are vital components of today's political system, and she charts their performative uses across popular culture with skill and panache.”
 — Jonathan Gray, author of Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts

“Saitre and Dissent redefines what it means to agree to disagree and so is a worthy addition to the literature on contemporary satire and poliltical humor. ”
 — Rhetoric & Public Affairs

“In this compelling new book, Day manages to not only persuasively argue why political satire has gained such a foothold in our popular culture, but also convincingly argues why it matters. July 2011”

“Satire and Dissent is an intriguing dissection of concourse in American society today and its impact on the the politics of the people.June 2011”
 — The Midwest Book Review

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction: Poking Holes in the Spectacle
2. Ironic Authenticity
3. Truthiness and Consequences in Parodic News
4. Heroes and Villains: Satiric Documentarians Spearhead the Debate
5. Irony in Activism
6. Moving beyond Critique


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