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Where are we getting our information, news sources or comedy on TV?


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Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin have argued over these past few weeks as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the Saturday Night Live presidential debate parodies.

At first, the clips made me laugh, until I realized I should be concerned.

Why did I have such a sudden change of reaction? It dawned on me that this particular content was less a parody of the debates than a slightly exaggerated, self-deprecating version of exactly what is occurring in the political world right now.

There are comical moments in these parodies that poke fun at the mannerisms of the candidates, from McKinnon’s reenactment of the “Hillary shimmy” in the first parody to Baldwin’s constant, flawless knack for imitating Trump’s speaking cadence.

It becomes frightening when the actors bumble their way around the answers to policy questions and say terrible things to each other, because the real candidates do the exact same thing.

In each parody, Baldwin and McKinnon say, with humor, exactly what the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have shared, albeit in a much blunter way.

McKinnon and Baldwin don’t have to act to be funny; they can simple imitate and that is a sad fact.

The presidential debates have raised several questions in my mind, the first of which is where the U.S. population is actually getting their information on this election.

As of Friday, Oct. 28, the three official YouTube versions of the SNL parody videos have approximately 7.6 million, 5 million and 5.8 million views more than the NBC clips of the respective debates that they parody.

That difference may be due to a tendency to use YouTube as a primary means of watching SNL clips; that is how the majority of my friends view the show.

Regardless, it is staggering that today’s political entertainment has become more popular than actual politics.

I wonder how many of my peers walk around campus thinking of the SNL debates as “mini recaps” rather than comedy. Do they feel educated about what the candidates believe based on participating in pop culture?

Lately it seems like you can get similar information from both sources. The line has become blurred – this election is playing out as a bad comedy.

I firmly believe that we must always listen carefully to the candidates to hear what they have to say, but what are they actually saying?

The plans and policies of the two presidential candidates have remained enshrouded in mystery and, publicity-wise, have taken a bumpy backseat to name calling, finger pointing and passionate disgust and people have noticed.

Students around campus with whom I have spoken are generally disenfranchised with this year’s election and most are planning either to vote dispassionately for one of the two major party candidates, to vote third party, or to skip voting entirely.

Only a small minority is passionate about Trump or Clinton and I must admit that I understand why.

Clinton and Trump are tearing each other down far beyond the point of normalcy. It is as if they do not just disagree with each other politically, but detest each other’s humanity. This breaks the status quo – I am young, but I truly cannot remember an election in which presidential candidates had so little respect for each other.

We the people have not received a message of unity or bipartisanship from our leaders in a world that truly needs it and we are tired of it.

How did we get here? These are our future leaders. In a matter of days, one of these two individuals from whom the country has derived great entertainment will be elected President of the United States. In a few short months, that individual will take office and will hold one of the most powerful positions in the world.

When I look at my choices, I am disheartened and frustrated. It seems that many others are too. Perhaps that is the genius of SNL, for a few short minutes, we can take a break from our discontent state and laugh a little bit harder than we probably should, until the gravity of the situation again sets in.

As a longtime political junkie, I have been excited to vote in my first presidential election since I was in middle school. I can’t imagine what my middle school self would be thinking right now, but he would probably never have imagined his first election to look like this.

Jimmy Corra is a staff writer and can be reached at jacorra@buffalo.edu


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