ABSTRACT:

According to Alan Kirby, the cultural logic of digimodernism enshrines “the apparently real” as its dominant aesthetic. Unlike paranoid postmodern texts like The X-Files (Fox, 1993–2002), in which a false reality is juxtaposed to a stable external truth, digimodern texts mimic non-fictional forms to project a world that is just as it appears: “The apparently real comes without self-consciousness, without irony or self-interrogation, and without signaling itself to the reader or viewer.” This article shows how Kirby's theory of the digimodern, rooted as it is in new media technology, helps to explain the ascension of a certain kind of US political satire, what I am calling political satire vérité, that invites its viewers to watch an “apparently real” world of insider politics. Ultimately, the argument investigates how what media studies scholars label “the end of television” creates new material and aesthetic contexts for representing and interrogating what political theorists have dubbed “the end of politics.”

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