Why, we may ask, is satire news prone to this kind of burn out? I propose that it is prone because it really offers no substantive challenge to the status quo. Sure, it can snidely critique the ludicrous or offensive behavior and activities of politicians and elites, but stripped of this, it has no real point of view. As Chris Hedges noted, these “liberals are tolerated by the capitalist elites because they do not question the virtues of corporate capitalism, only its excesses, and call for tepid and ineffectual reforms.” So it becomes, instead, an activity of cynical liberal identity politics, because their shows, whether being run by Viacom like at Comedy Central, or at CBS, are part of the same system of wealthy coastal elites that rural America resents.
Basically, people are paradoxically engaging in a consumer take ethic in order to be great in a give ethic, which is, of course, the gift giving virtue represented by the largess of Santa Claus. It’s this precise ironic dualism that our sudden contemporary fascination with the lesser known tradition of Krampuslauf finds its proper and welcome home.