Be Careful What You Satirize
As the world is caught between right- and left-wing leaders (and this week with Italy’s dreary electoral outcome), political satire is on the rise. One of the truly unsettling conceits is the return of Fascism in the form of its two most heinous leaders, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. I know, regular readers of this column are saying, “There he goes again, on his paranoid rant about the past haunting the present.” But it ain’t just me.
Two years ago I wrote about the satiric novel and film Look Who’s Back, about der Fuhrer‘s 21st-century return to Berlin and his immediate, if absurd, rise back into the limelight. Now, (when I wrote this) on the eve of an election in Italy that once again has the Fascist Forza Nuova party flexing their muscles, a multistory movie poster of the egg-shaped head of Il Duce advertised a similarly themed “I’m Back,” a satirical film imagining the dictator’s return to modern-day Italy.
What’s next? Movies reviving Stalin? Mao? Ferdinand Marcos?
Jokes have been made about many unthinkable power take-over-reprises on the world’s stage. Communism is now replaced by Putinism, a former Communist who is dictatorial in all but uniform. China has just given Xi Jinping an indefinite presidency.
So watch out what you satirize, 1984 may actually happen some day … soon … and it can happen here too.
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