Stephen Colbert on American Jobs

Topics: Satire, Reductio ad absurdum, Barack Obama Pages: 4 (1359 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Stephen Colbert on American Jobs
In Stephen Colbert’s book, America Again, Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, he talks about a wide range of problems in American society. They range from jobs to energy to healthcare, and of course, they are all written in a satirical sense. In the second chapter, Colbert and his writers talk about jobs in America. They discuss the problem of jobs being shipped overseas to countries like India and China and Colbert puts forth his “solutions” to the problems, which mostly include setting up sweatshops in America. He also talks about job interviews and how to be successful at them. Colbert and his staff of writers use a wide range of comic techniques in the book as a whole and in the chapter on jobs to satirize the American culture and government.

One comic technique Colbert uses in the jobs chapter is reduction. Reduction is essentially belittling or degrading someone. Near the beginning of the chapter, there is a picture of Barack Obama being captioned as Jimmy Carter. While Jimmy Carter was a decent president and many historians agree that he didn’t do anything bad, he is widely remembered for not doing much of anything during his one term as president except failing to get the Americans that were being held hostage in Iran out safely. Barack Obama has a similar record of inactivity in his first term, so the book captions Obama as Carter to essentially say that Obama didn’t do much in his first term as president. Throughout the chapter and the whole book, Colbert and his writers use pictures to their advantage. This is a common technique in satire because it’s easy to get your message across using pictures. They are usually fairly simple, quick to look at, and easy to understand the meaning of.

Colbert also uses caricatures to his advantage in the chapter on jobs. A caricature is usually some sort of picture of the person or group being satirized with their more unsightly features being greatly exaggerated. It is a...
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