Political Flavors

Saturday Night Live is Entertainment. Do Not Take Tina Fey’s Cake Sketch Seriously.

Posted in Editorials, Videos on August 18th, 2017

I’ve written before about how Saturday Night Live’s politics are maybe not as liberal as you think, in their choice to have Donald Trump host the show during the Republican primary and to blunt criticism of his racism.

I want to talk now about a sketch in which Tina Fey encourages people to eat cake instead of protesting Nazis.

Heather Heyer is dead but cake is delicious.

Saturday Night Live is what Jon Stewart insists he is: entertainment, not political commentary. However, many people, including people I respect and love look to it for analysis and catharsis. (My alternative suggestion – The Majority Report with Sam Seder. It’s funny but also provides in depth information.) If you like SNL because it’s funny, great! But if you watch it for political commentary, you need to know this: Lorne Michaels doesn’t want the show to be liberal (or conservative). He wants it to appeal to all Americans, and he’s aiming for the middle. He said so during an interview with Marc Maron in 2015.

So with that in mind, let’s think about how this cake sketch meets that standard. On one hand liberals can see themselves in Tina Fey, angry, righteous, feeling helpless. And conservatives can laugh at the paranoid liberal chick getting fat because she doesn’t like that someone challenged her PC notions. And the “middle” if there is one, can feel good about doing nothing. Because that’s what Tina Fey is saying here, she’s affirming complacency and inaction, as long as there’s some guilt mixed in, it’s ok. She’s telling people to channel their outrage into self indulgence. As entertainment, it’s funny. But as praxis, it’s terrible. Now, I’m all for self care. So here’s what I propose instead:

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