We lack a shared reality thereby making it impossible to ridicule the absurdity of reality.
Although the “golden age” of satire may differ for different people (research for golden age of satire focuses on mid 18th century texts), some have argued that the Trump presidency will usher in a golden age of satire due to his over-the-top persona and absurd approach to politics. Given this reality, satirical outlets must step up their game to one-up (or trump) the absurdity of reality. In fact, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have sworn off parodying Trump “because satire has become reality.”
South Park’s Creators Have Given Up on Satirizing Donald Trump (The Atlantic)
We are clearly in a unique satirical age, although I don’t believe that this is because of Trump, rather Trump and our current satirical environment are both outcomes of a flood of information, one of which we are often ill-prepared to make sense of, and one where “truthiness” (2005) is the ultimate evidence; things that make us feel good and think less are clearly “right.”
This emotional response is not a new phenomenon (it is the combination of human psychology, the digital and social media environment, and our seemingly pervasive reliance on media for entertainment, information, and habitual use), it still results in a satirical environment that seems to “transcend, fracture, subvert, circumvent, interrogate and disrupt, hijack and appropriate modernity and postmodernity.” In short, we are in a metamodern satirical age.
As someone who was raised on Comedy Central, Adult Swim, Frank Zappa, and SNL, written a Love Letter for Jon Stewart, and taught a course on satire and diversity at Syracuse University, I have observed 5 major trends in the current overlap between satire (i.e., the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues) and reality (i.e., the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them) that, IMO, do not bode well for us as a collective community.