In Britain Spitting Image was a satirical comedy involving puppets of politicans and celebrities. While no longer around it had an impact on popular perceptions – John Major being the colour grey, David Steel being in the pocket of David Owen, Neil Kinnock unable to fall off a log to prove he could win the election (which he did not). While it may not have changed minds, it did reinforce views people took on politicians.
In the USA Tina Fey (30 Rock) is having a similar impact playing Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. As a mimic she is spot on in her interpretation of Palin. A natural advantage; a few years ago Palin dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween.
At some points the comedy actually uses what Sarah Palin has said. While Sarah has said she is a fan, and there is talk that before Polling Day she may do a sketch with Tina on Saturday Night Live – John McCain did saying he had the oldness required for the job.
Check out one mock interview on Saturday Night Live (SNL) with Tina Fey as Palin here.
A week after the first broadcast of SNL, Palin’s approval rating went down by ten percentage points. For some a Republican victory seems less likely with Fey’s impersonation:
But you, Ms. Fey, have the ability, with just a wink and a smirk, to change the minds of millions of casual viewers and even more casual voters, to educate them as to what this woman stands or doesn’t stand for. These viewers don’t react to a radical move like Republican Senator Chuck Hagel coming forth to question Palin’s credentials or credibility, or really care about what political pundits prognosticate on cable news shows. Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, many swing-state voters get their information and cue from you, Ms. Fey, and you need to provide as much of it as one woman possibly can, before the election is upon us and it is too late. [Huffington Post]
As for Fey, she has said that come November 5 she hopes to be done with the impersonation. One would hope that the voters would base that on the issues and what Sarah Plain stands for then a comedic impression. Because if that really was how people formed their opinions on policy and issue, then we have even more to fear then the leader of the world’s only superpower. If it does hopefully the saving grace is that something is funny because it is often so true.