I haven’t bought an annual since… oohh… probably since Beano days back in the early 80s. But having moved to a country where Private Eye is probably banned and would almost certainly not make it through customs if sent here, I decided that it was time to get hold of the best of British satire in another form.
If you’re not familiar with it, let me explain. Private Eye is a fortnightly British publication that, unlike newspapers, tells the news how it really is. From cartoons to investigative reporting, its incisive view of current affairs is second to none. Known for biting satire, it often has me in stitches. The annual is a collection of the best bits of the key central pages of the magazine.
Just to give you one example, for the edition that ran shortly after William and Kate had baby George when the British nation was drowning in a deluge of hype, they ran a cover with nothing else but the bold headline Woman Has Baby.
This is genius. Why? Because it succinctly challenges us to reflect on who we are, what we do and why we do it. I found myself returning again and again to parts so I could reflect on the issue concerned and question my own opinions. From the days of Cervantes and Swift, satire has played an essential role in societies that treasure free speech. I do and will be buying Private Eye annuals for many years to come it seems.
Key: Legacy | Plot / toPic | Characterisation / faCts | Readability | Achievement | Style
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