Forget Shane. Jeff Gahan’s EXCELLENT NEW WORDS include political satire, which is a corrective to misused political power.


Over the weekend, social media exchanges with members of New Albany’s First Family made it clear that we’re past due a refresher course about concepts in reality, as opposed to fantasy.

Posting articles with his head photoshopped on snakes or other creatures, and making new words out of his name is not the best way to get his attention. And then filling those articles with lies because you didn’t bother to find the truth… that’s not politics. It’s just lazy. If you want to talk to the mayor, find something positive to say every once in a while. Then call him or email him at work. That’s where he will be.

Coffey’s the copperhead, not Jeff Gahan, and oddly, she didn’t mention nepotism, which is a prime manifestation of political power … but I digress.

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate, so let’s begin with the notion of political satire. Bill Moyers offers a few “Perspectives on Political Satire,” including this introduction.

In his interview with Bill Moyers, Salman Rushdie talked about the recent strife brought about by the publication of cartoons seen by many Muslims as deeply offensive. Rushdie said: “What kind of god is it that’s offended by a cartoon in Danish.” Satire has long been a tool of political criticism — but in a world where politics and faith are often intertwined should there be a limit to the freedom of expression? Comedian Steven Colbert recently learned that as much as America loves it’s satire — it’s objects may not laugh when roasted at a Washington Press Club dinner. Learn more about the history of American political satire below, and tell us what you think.

Although the term satire may describe an entire work, a passage, or a tone, its characteristics are shared: among these, it employs comedy or humor; has a target and an ideal to compare it to; and describes folly or vice in detail.


From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises — vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality — and to effect reform through such exposure. The many diverse forms their statements have taken reflect the origin of the word satire, which is derived from the Latin satura, meaning “dish of mixed fruits,” hence a medley.

Below, read about some of the major highlights in American political satire, from the early printed word of the 1700’s to the popular television and Web varieties of today.

Satire can be about anything, politics or otherwise, but ultimately politics is about power — who has it, how it is used, who benefits, and so on.

Donald Trump hasd Steve Bannon; Gahan has family member Steve Bonifer, and it’s likely that Bonifer, a lifelong teacher of civics, government and history knows exactly how politics and power relate to each other, so please, can we stop the charade?

Speaking personally, the mayor and I have fundamental disagreements about politics. In large measure, he prefers narrower silence to broader discussion, and so those of us in the political opposition must seek power where and as we find it.

It is Gahan’s objective to hold power, and the opposition’s to modify his grasp of power, or when necessary, to seek depriving him of it. His tools for exercising power are considerable and familiar to the office; the hostility of his housing authority situation is the perfect example, as it is the exercise of raw power to get what he wants.

My own tools are words. They may not seem like much compared to money and authority, but I believe the bully pulpit still matters when used creatively. Then again, I’m literate; the illiterate might disagree, because lacking the words, they’re deprived of power.

Below there’s an interesting short discussion about politics I found on-line, and it merely serves as fodder for a wider discussion. Note the primary definition of politics as having to do with power.

As a card-carrying human being, naturally I understand the cult of personality in one’s own household — including the mayor’s.

However, when megalomania spills over into the outside world, as it long since has done right here in New Albany, it’s about political power … and it is worthy of political satire in addition to whatever facts may come our way, and regularly do.

In 2019, an election will decide. I’m looking forward to it.

Politics is exciting because people disagree. They disagree about how they should live. Who should get what? How should power and other resources be distributed? Should society be based on cooperation or conflict? And so on. 

They also disagree about how such matters should be resolved. How should collective decisions be made? Who should have a say? How much influence should each person have? And so forth. 

For Aristotle, this made politics the ‘master science’: that is, nothing less than the activity through which human beings attempt to improve their lives and create the Good Society. 

Politics is, above all, a social activity. It is always a dialogue, and never a monologue. Solitary individuals such as Robinson Crusoe may be able to develop a simple economy, produce art, and so on, but they cannot engage in politics. Politics emerges only with the arrival of a Man (or Woman) Friday. 

Nevertheless, the disagreement that lies at the heart of politics also extends to the nature of the subject and how it should be studied. People disagree about what it is that makes social interaction ‘political’, whether it is where it takes place (within government, the state or the public sphere generally), or the kind of activity it involves (peacefully resolving conflict or exercising control over less powerful groups).