Hollands hollende koe: the political satirist and moral conviction

2019-03-06T09:25:04Z (GMT) by Meredith Hale
This essay considers the role of the political satirist over time, specifically its relationship to the problem of moral conviction. A brief look at several key moments in the genre’s history reveals the degree to which the satirist is elided with his/her subject and political satires are divorced from other aspects of market-driven print production. The framing of the political satirist as defender of western democratic values depends fundamentally upon the assumption that he or she believes in the positions and ideologies espoused in his or her satires—that maker and message are united. At first glance, this elevation of the political satirist to the role of cultural crusader may seem to be a Romantic anachronism, a politicised extension of the ‘artist as lone genius’ trope. Upon closer inspection, however, the conflation of satirist and satire has far deeper roots, which extend to the earliest days of the genre.