Darren Richardson

April 3, 2012

“That’s ridiculous!”

Have you ever found yourself saying something to that effect when watching the news or reading a newspaper article? If you’re anything like ol’ Punditty and the crew he rolls with, you have. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fox, CNN, MSNBC, the L.A. Times, the New York Post or the local news at 11, most of us see news items on a regular basis that we find “hard to believe,” even though it’s packaged as believable.

And that’s without tuning into Stephen Colbert or picking up a copy of The Onion.

April may or may not be “the cruelest month,” as T.S. Eliot asserted in his timeless poem “The Wasteland,” but here at Allvoices, the first half of April, at least, is the most satirical month. Allvoices is extending the spirit of April Fool’s Day for two additional weeks, inviting political satire submissions for its American Pundit contest. The best satire makes readers laugh, think and recontextualize a given issue while simultaneously imparting “truths” that straight-ahead news reporting just can’t convey.

Satire has a long and storied history in American letters, from Jonathan Swift to H.L. Mencken to Dave Barry and many, many more. Satire goes where the “facts” cannot and reveals something all too true about the world in which we live and how we respond to its absurdities and contradictions. This American Pundit writing assignment gives scribes wide berth:

In honor of April Fool's Day, The American Pundit is seeking political satire submissions. Have fun with this one, but be sure to label your entries as POLITICAL SATIRE.

The winner will earn $250 and eligibility for the $5,000 Grand Prize, to be awarded after the November elections. For details, please click here. To clarify, there is no label as such for “Politcal Satire” on the dropdown menu; simply choose "politics" from the dropdown options and write the words POLITICAL SATIRE at the beginning of your article. When prompted, please add the same two words as a keyword tag.

Who knows, you might even discover you have a knack for the genre and follow in the footsteps of folks like Mort Sahl, Mark Russell and Sarah Silverman. Or you just might pass them by on your ascent to the top of Mount Satire. Have fun with this writing assignment and see where it takes you and your readers!

If you like writing about U.S. politics and the 2012 campaign, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.


Wikipedia entry on satire and satirists

Wikipedia entry on political satire

Additional sources and resources linked to in the text.


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