Canadian political satirists have apparently thrown in the towel. Mr. I. Ron Knee, national president of the Canadian Association of Political Satirists announced at a recent press conference that his association would be disbanding next month.
“I guess, in retrospect, it was inevitable,” said Mr. Knee. “Although, honestly, we never really saw it coming.”
Apparently the troubles started this year with the Senate Scandal. What started out as a very satirizable incident quickly mushroomed into a laughable event far beyond anything the average satirist could have predicted.
“It’s one thing to have some fun with a senator’s questionable expense claims,” said the CAPS president. “But when it turned out there were three of them and one of them was Mike Duffy and the prime minister’s top guy paid him off with a $90,000 cheque, well there was really nowhere left for our members to go with this story.”
According to some CAPS members, Mr. Duffy undercut their livelihood by rapidly expanding the story beyond any credible limit. In fact, once the senator revealed that his legal expenses were being paid for by the Conservative Party, satirists from coast to coast simply gave up.
But the profession has weathered tough times before. After all, many senior satirists survived both the Joe Clark years and the short reign of Kim Campbell and still found enough credible room within which to create serviceable satire. Yet they never had to face the troubling trifecta that has hamstrung today’s satirical practitioners.
No sooner had the Senate Scandal accelerated beyond satirical belief than Rob Ford exploded on the scene. What initially appeared to be a godsend for those writing political humor soon transformed into an incredible circus beyond the imaginings of even the greats like Mark Twain, Stephen Leacock and Stephen Colbert.
“At first we were thankful for Rob Ford,” said Mr. Knee. “He came along at just the right time and provided relief from all the crazy Alice-in-Wonderland, beyond-satire happenings in the Senate. Little did we know that Mr. Ford’s antics would make the Senate Scandal look almost believable.”
Just when political satirists thought they had gotten ahead of the Ford Follies, however, the Toronto mayor would do something even more amazing and unpredictable leaving the humorists eating his satirical dust.
“OK, a crack-smoking mayor is really out there on the satirical edge,” said the CAPS president. “But it still left us some room to work with. But when he started bulldozing female councilors, threatening to kill someone in a drunken stupor and spewing all manner of inappropriate sexual language, we were completely lost.”
Mr. Ford continued to push the limits of believability leaving Canada’s satirists little to work with. His decision to continue serving as mayor contrary to all notions of common sense and decency left CAPS members reeling.
“Even with that serious blow, we thought there might still be hope,” said Knee. “After all, there was always the chance that the public would start suffering from ‘Ford fatigue’ and give us a chance to tackle some new satirizable topic.”
Sadly, that hope was dashed with the recent news of the pot-smoking Mountie. As noted by Mr. Knee, you just can’t make this stuff up and that, of course, was the problem. If you can’t even make up the truth, what’s left to satirize?