Stranger than Fiction | Matt Kriese
Political strife across the world has lead to continuously rigid dialogue between civilians. This fact alone has led to a great many people closing themselves off from politics.
This is where shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Daily Show, and VEEP have an enormous importance to political discussions in the United States. It seems like one of the best outlets for young people to find out the most relevant news is through these satirical shows. John Oliver, for example, consistently makes YouTube’s top trending list week in and week out, receiving millions of views in a matter of days alongside Stephen Colbert’s monologues about Trump or the Middle East. It seems that every platform is beginning to cater itself to the enormous market for satire. Young people have begun building political ideologies around these shows, setting the foundation for a generation of people who see politics as a very important joke.
It’s this thought that has been making me reflect over the past few days. I entered the study of politics when I realized I was fascinated by the ways in which people change the way their government governs. I found this symbiotic relationship to be beautiful. I felt empowered understanding the ways in which myself and my community could change government for the better. I witnessed the protests of the LGBTQ community as it advocated for marriage equality, I saw immigration crises rise, and I witnessed a new civil rights movements came to fruition after incidents of police violence. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel as though these events were presented in a way that was intentionally divisive.
As you read through those events, you certainly felt a certain way. It doesn’t matter how you felt, it just matters that you had a reaction. That reaction was influenced by what media you consumed during that time period.
When I was growing up, I felt that the most balanced news I received was from satire. I remember Jon Stewart speaking critically of Bush’s and Obama’s administrations and feeling as though he truly meant it. This has given me a sense of balance in interpreting political situations and I deeply hope the rest of my generation feels the same.