Is Stephen Colbert a subversive genius performing brilliant satire, or has he propagated a cult of personality similar to what he’s parodying? A new academic book says there’s some truth to both views.
“Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy,” a new book coming out next month from Penn State University professor Sophia A. McClennen, looks at the first seven years of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and considers several aspects of the show’s rise and popularity.
According to the description, the book argues that Colbert has effectively combined comedy with social critique, using his own show and other forms of media to perform an elaborate, in-character satire, while also using that satire to foster civic engagement. But the author also looks at whether Colbert sometimes makes a mockery of democracy, or reinforces ideas that he means to critique.