Anti-democrats and humor

13 02 2014

Who would have thought that the anti-democrats could generate comedy or that Thailand’s political crisis could. Not much comedy you’d think when thee anti-democrats are engaged in an often violent confrontation to bring down yet another elected government, currently in caretaker mode.

Yet we have found some irony, parody and other kinds of comedy that draw on the often banal statements of leaders. PPT begins with a recent statement by the anti-democrat spokesman a.k.a. Suthep’s manicured boy:

PDRC to hold 3-day Thailand Love Fest

Spokesperson Akanat Promphan announced that the PDRC is organizing a 3-day “Thailand Love Fest” from 14 – 16 February 2014. The event will be held at all 4 stages, i.e., Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Asoke, and Lumpini, and a massive street-fair will line the roads linking these sites.

“… The festivities, fanfare, and musical performances to follow will enable the public to show their love and devotion for Thailand, and to also symbolically “break up” with Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra – if they haven’t done so already,” quipped Akanat. “We invite all members of the public to join our celebration.”

We aren’t sure, but we think they are serious! The real deal is that the middle class and elite require that they be entertained if they are going to stay interested in anything for more than a few minutes. That’s why the stages are full of speeches, but usually also a bunch of entertainers and celebrities saying how “cool” it is to wear all the designer anti-democrat gear and get to the rallies in the evening meaning that one doesn’t require gallons of sunscreen to prevent that awful darkening of the skin associated with the lower classes.

Better comedy was recently reported in the New York Times, talking about the popular Shallow News in Depth. The show is meant as a “type of comedic therapy for a crisis that is wrecking friendships, splitting apart families and raising blood pressure in a land once known for gentle smiles and a knack for compromise.”

Winyu Wongsurawat, the lead writer, “spends hours flipping through Thai news broadcasts to glean material for the show. He says he is rarely disappointed.”

“I was watching television two nights ago, and someone was saying that an election was the equivalent of overthrowing democracy,” Mr. Winyu said in an interview in the small, threadbare office that serves as the show’s recording studio. “I was thinking, ‘What? How have we reached this stage?’ “

Thai politics have become such a circus that reality can be hard to trump.

The show gets accolades and barbs from all sides, for it:

has ridiculed protesters for calling themselves the “great mass of the people” while blocking elections they knew they would lose. It mocks the protesters’ ceaseless habit of taking “selfies” while protesting.

It portrays Mr. Thaksin [Shinawatra], who is in self-exile after being overthrown in a 2006 military coup that helped kick off the present cycle of turmoil, as a satellite orbiting the country.

And it constantly pokes fun at the country’s color wars….

Another place for humor is at the BK Magazine, where its Page 3 regularly has a dig at political issues. Its most recent shot has a long headline: “Bangkok’s social media experts offer free workshops to help farmers remake their Facebook movies.” This story begins:

A group of young, digitally savvy PDRC protesters has set up a small tent, where, equipped with iMac Airs, they are offering to rewrite the digital past for disgruntled farmers.

“For years, we’ve been saying Thai farmers are just not educated enough for Thailand to rely on electoral democracy, and that they can be bought too easily,” explained Pretty Sirirungmonkol, 24, a digital media agency planner who decided to volunteer her time running the Farmers Facebook Movie Workshop at the Silom protest site. “But now, the farmers are protesting against the government, so we need to give them a complete rebrand!”

Page 3 has several similar “stories” worth browsing.


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