Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

German

Major Professor

Maria Stehle

Committee Members

Stefanie Ohnesorg, Dan Magilow

Abstract

This thesis defines a kind of satire that wasn’t dealt with before in depth: “Pop-Satire”. This form of satire uses the stylistic elements of pop for satiric purposes. That means that Pop-Satire uses phenomena and elements of everyday culture and popular culture in a satiric way. The analysis of “Pop-Satire” begins in “Pop-Literatur,” then proceeds to satire magazines and finally TV shows are analyzed. The analysis in different media also follows a comparative approach, contrasting American and German literary texts, magazines, and finally TV shows in order to highlight similarities and differences in both cultures. The examined works are Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, Christian Kracht’s Faserland, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s Soloalbum, several issues of The Onion and Titanic, as well as Die Harald Schmidt Show and South Park. All works were produced in the 1990s or the 2000s. The thesis challenges the common interpretation of the “New German Pop-Literatur” as being conservative or completely unpolitical. “Pop-Satire” expresses political views of the “Generation Golf” or “Generation X”. This work states that these generations try to leave old categories behind and develop new forms of critical engagement. The “pop-satiric” texts, which were analyzed in this thesis, thus seemed to have several elements in common, namely post-modern elements like multiple-layered irony undermining all moral institutions given by the text, leaving unclear who or what was actually really satirized and moving the moral authority entirely to the recipient. They all share the attempt to protest against dominant cultural ways of thinking in one way or another. In Germany “Pop-Satire” is taking an anti-position to the mentality of the so-called “68 generation”, in the US it is taking an anti-position to political correctness. In both cases some sort of left-liberalism is seen as the main enemy. However, unlike many earlier analyses of these works suggest, they don’t contain an affirmation of conservative ideals in response. They rather share post-modern elements and express a “post-political” attitude.

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