Must Share That

Political Satire in the 1890s and Today

From Planet 237

by T. Robin Chapman

Following the general election, T. Robin Chapman reflects on how satire has developed from an era of pen-and-ink cartoons to GIFs and memes. He argues that mockery gave voice to problems of populism and powerlessness that the Welsh electorate still experience in 2020.

The 2019 election was both won and lost online. Clips went viral; memes gained traction; faces were photoshopped; soundbites were turned into GIFs and video collages; news footage was overdubbed; parody social media accounts for politicians across the spectrum have been mocked up; screengrabs appeared out of context. Led by Donkeys, guerrilla-like, reproduced tweets on billboards and projected them onto buildings; Facebook posts and compromising emails were disinterred; Desolation Radio punned its response to a story that porn had been retweeted from Welsh Office Twitter account (Eluned Organ, anyone? Huw i-wank-here Davies?); Bolycs Cymraeg tweeted a plain white sketch-map of Wales, advising readers to vote Tory in the constituencies coloured blue. What a laugh! What outrage! Must share that!

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