Msnowe's Blog

Parsing Puppet Patriots

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on April 7, 2010

Sam the Eagle is a Republican. He is pompous, arrogant and he censors the other Muppets. He pretends to be cultured but also thinks that Shakespeare wrote The Sound of Music. He is hostile towards other people’s views, and most of his political logic has no grounding in fact or even common sense. He’s a character we are supposed to recognize as over-the-top, hilarious, ridiculous. But honestly, slap some feathers and a unibrow on Glenn Beck and it’s hard to differentiate. The only difference m.snowe can see is that the boundary of fiction is crossed when we observe Sam the Eagle, so we recognize the irony, the exaggerated winks at hypocrisy. Even the most hard set Republicans would be able to see Sam’s puffed up political feathers for what they are–farce, satire. m.snowe is not going to attempt to venture a guess as to why some people can’t just as easily see the same aspects of a Sam-the-Eagle character in many real-life political wonks. She just wants to talk about fictional folks who are outspokenly political.

Doing a quick scan of wikipedia’s list of fictional Republicans and the list of fictional Democrats, it’s clear that Republicans get a larger share of fictional space in television, movies and books. But it’s also clear that most of those characters are written to look ridiculous like Sam Eagle. Is this because most writers are liberal, or Democrats? Or is it something inherently fictionally appealing about creating Republican characters? Sure, some fictional Democratic characters can be amusing and slightly mislead, but they’re also often the protagonist, or at least someone we are “supposed to” have an interest in other than sheer mockery. It also reveals something else about the way we view political people, real or imagined: declaring a party comes with a set of pre-determined assumptions about an individual, no matter how true they might be. Your party’s platform becomes the base of an audience’s knowledge whether they recognize that or not. They add to or chip away at their assumptions from there.

Personally, I found the wikipedia lists incredibly weak. They must be missing fictional people. Thoughts?

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