‘This is social media’s age — muzzling satire makes it go viral’

How did you start creating political satire?
Well, we’re engineers-turned management grads-turned policy researchers-turned satirists. We were working with Yashwant Sinha in 2011 on the Union Budget’s shadow version. To take a break from the mind-numbing work, we wrote a satirical piece online titled — Government mulls direct cash transfers by dropping money bags from the sky.

This was well-received. So we decided to continue.

In an age of hypersensitivity, will satire survive?
We’re optimistic. This is the age of social media — when someone tries to muzzle free speech, it invariably becomes all the more viral.

Politicians realise that these days — BJP, particularly Narendra Modi, understand social media better than most politicians. So we’re confident satire will only grow.

Unreal Elections is also a first of its kind in India — we’ve used real names in fictional situations and poked fun at them. We’ve established a precedent.

We ensure our work’s based on facts and doesn’t cross certain lines — as long as satire is within bounds, devoid of malice and fair, public figures will take it in their stride.

Satire is growing rapidly in India — what’s driving this?
It’s partly social media and the spread of digital devices which makes it easier to generate and share such content.

That said, satire’s always been part of the public discourse — and in India, some of the best satire comes from politicians taking digs at their rivals.


Now, social media provides mechanisms for people to interact with each other and leaders. This enriches the public discourse, with satire also gaining salience. People are more receptive to humour — that’s rubbed off on politicians too.



My Profile Story Brings Social Networking Satire To Life

One of the more original new web series to debut recently is also one of the hardest to explain. The Fine Brothers’ My Profile Story is about the drama that ensues when you rank on someone’s social networking profile page, anthropomorphized thanks to the miracle of green-screening. It’s like Toy Story, but with the Top Friends section on MySpace. And it’s a hoot.

Once you wrap your head around the concept, My Profile Story opens up as a solid satire of social networking concepts. See, Jenny’s just your average girl with an account on the social networking site MyProfileStory.com, and when she leaves her computer, her Top Friends come to life. But because this is Jenny’s profile page, their lives all revolve around their relationship to Jenny — and when her best friend Kali discovers that she’s been pushed out of the top friend spot by Jenny’s new boyfriend Jordan, trouble begins to brew.

While the pilot launched today on Atom.com, the show’s official site is definitely worth checking out, as it’s a perfect mirror of the My Profile Story service used in the show, completely with parody banner ads and profiles for all the supporting characters. It’s even possible to create a profile for yourself and become friends with the characters on the show — but the Fine Brothers don’t pass up any opportunity to poke fun atsocial networking in general.

In the pilot, the only character who really stands out is Kali, and we don’t know quite enough about the relationship between real-world Jenny and Jordan to get invested in its survival, online or off. Also, what happens to these avatars on other pages of the site: Do their profiles have their own profile drama of their own?



Using satire and social media to face dark political issues

Coming to terms with a post-nuclear war world may not seem a likely topic for a comedy. However, in Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed cold war film “Dr. Strangelove,” this theme serves as vehicle not only for comedy, but also for political critique.

Now the university is hoping to capitalize on this type of satire to discuss political topics with it’s new film series, “Fade to Black.”

The semester-long series features five American-made films themed around political satire and dark humor. The series is offered as a one-credit class and is open to all majors. It is also open and free for the public.

Communications professor Lindsay Hoffman created the series, calling it the first of its kind. So far, she said the series has been very well received by students.

“My objective is just to get students interested and engaged and thinking about things that they maybe wouldn’t ordinarily,” said Hoffman.

Students are thinking ahead as well. Buckle, who is not officially enrolled in the course, already said she would register for next year’s series.

The films in the series are “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” “Wag the Dog,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Thank You for Smoking.”

Hoffman said these particular films were chosen for their “iconic representation of dark political humor.” The theme of dark political humor was chosen to lighten up issues.


The next film in the Fade To Black series is “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” the film will begin rolling Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Mitchell Hall.

Lincoln filmmakers celebrate award for social media satire

A team of talented filmmakers from the University of Lincoln are in contention for a national Royal Television Society (RTS) Award after winning a regional title for their satirical review of society’s obsession with social media.

Facebook Anonymous is a ‘mockumentary’ that reveals the real dangers of Facebook addiction, and it was named as the winner in the Comedy and Entertainment category at the RTS Midlands Student Awards.

Produced by Thomas Mckie, Ashley Wilks, Luke Winter and Alexander Whitcombe while students in Lincoln’s School of Film & Media, the film was celebrated by RTS judges as “an outstanding entry”.

The prize was presented by BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure, who starred in This is England, as well as television series Line of Duty and Broadchurch. As winners at the regional awards, the Lincoln team will go on to compete at the national RTS Awards in spring 2015.

The filmmakers, who graduated from the University earlier this year, now work together as Wall Breaker– an independent corporate video production company which has already been commissioned by national clients.

Ashley Wilks said: “We’re absolutely thrilled about winning the award. We worked very hard on the film, spending over six months developing, shooting and editing it. We used professional actors and shot in numerous locations throughout the UK.”

The team also secured a nomination for their film, The Last Fisherman, in the Drama section, and a student from the University’s School of English & Journalism, Anna Paterson, was nominated in the Factual category for her documentary, Invincible.