Since 1980, when neoliberal and neoconservative forces began their hostile takeover of western culture, a new type of political satire has emerged that works to unmask and deter those toxic doctrines. Literary and cultural critic Kirk Combe calls this new form of satire the Rant. The Rant is grim, highly imaginative, and complex in its blending of genres. It mixes facets of satire, science fiction, and monster tale to produce widely consumed spectacles—major studio movies, popular television/streaming series, bestselling novels—designed to disturb and to provoke. The Rant targets what Combe calls the Regime. Simply put, the Regime is the sum of the dangerous social, economic, and political orthodoxies spurred on by neoliberal and neoconservative polity. Such practices include free-market capitalism, corporatism, militarism, religiosity, imperialism, racism, patriarchy, and so on. In the Rant, then, we have a unique and wholly contemporary genre of political expression and protest: speculative satire.
Table of Contents
The Briefest of Introductions: What, Why, How
Chapter One: The Rant
Chapter Two: The Regime
Chapter Three: Ranting Against the Regime
Chapter Four: Living Under a Lousy Orthodoxy
Chapter Five: Special Topic Rants
Chapter Six: Neoliberal A.I.
The Briefest of Conclusions: So what? Why bother? How does this matter?
Kirk Combe is Professor of English at Denison University in Ohio. He teaches and researches in satire and drama, cultural studies, and popular culture. On these topics, he’s published numerous books and articles, including Theorizing Satire: Essays in Literary Criticism and Masculinity and Monstrosity in Contemporary Hollywood Films.
"Kirk Combe brings welcome clarity and precision to delineating and defining an emergent subgenre of popular and cult-favorite narrative work in print, TV, and cinema. Bringing to bear literary history and theory coupled with political analysis and cultural critique, Combe usefully and often wittily illuminates the relationship between the current socio-political moment and the 'speculative satire' that comments on it."
--Brian A. Connery, Professor Emeritus, Oakland University