cover Is Satire Saving Our Nation?

Is Satire Saving Our Nation?
Mockery and American Politics

Do you watch satire TV? Have you re-posted a hilarious, yet biting graphic on facebook or tweeted round the clock jabs at inane politicians? Does it sometimes seem to you that Jon Stewart is a better journalist than most of CNN, Fox, and MSNBC? And were you a bit disappointed when Stephen Colbert did not actually run for president? If you or someone you know has done any of the above, then you’ll want to read this book. Is Satire Saving Our Nation? surveys the broad landscape of satire today and situates it within our nation’s history.

We are witnessing an unprecedented growth and importance of satire in the public sphere, but is that fact good or bad for the health of our nation? Co-written by a millennial and a scholar, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? shows how satire has become a central part of today’s youth culture and it explains why it might just save our democracy after all.

Is Satire Saving Our Nation? The authors of this important book make a compelling case. Far from turning politics into a joke, satire demands intellectual engagement, critical imagination, and a community of understanding — the very ingredients necessary for a healthy democracy. With their seemingly paradoxical, but accurate, observation that satirists may be the only ones speaking sanely in our increasingly absurd public sphere, McClennen and Maisel have challenged and enriched our thinking about what constitutes ‘serious’ politics.”

Stephen Duncombe, New York University, USA, co-founder of the Center for Creative Activism, and Yes Men collaborator


“McClennen and Maisel move us well beyond the assumption that satire is something ‘done’ to us, recognizing instead that satire is a tool through which citizens—professional and amateur provocateurs alike—engage the political world in playful, critical, and positive ways. This most helpful book lets us see that satire is, ultimately, a language through which citizen engagement is being redefined through media activism.”

Jeffrey P. Jones, Old Dominion University, USA, Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards, and author of Entertaining Politics


“A thrill ride from beginning to end! As incredibly thorough studies of the effects of political satire go, of course. This book is loaded with truthiness and it confirms my long-held suspicion that McClennen and Maisel have been secretly following me around for the past 18 years.”

—J.R. Havlan, Writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1996-2014) and winner of 8 Emmys