Applause Lines not Punch Lines

Today’s must-read Superversive SF article is from my lovely and talented wife, Mrs Wright, who writes under the name L Jagi Lamplighter

Recently, there was a quote going around about how late night shows no longer contained comedy, because comedians can’t get away with mocking anything anymore. Instead, they make political comments that agree with their audience’s bias and then pause for their audience’s reaction.

But instead of laughter, they get applause.

I was thinking about that while I was watching a new (to me) show. Friends had recommended it. The premise looked amusing. The show was funny. Lots of real comedy.

But occasionally, there would be some bit of Liberal doctrine tossed to the audience in exactly the way a story normally might use comedy.

In other words: It wasn’t part of the plot. It wasn’t part of the story. It wasn’t character development. It didn’t matter or affect the outcome.  It was merely standing all by itself as if it were waiting for a high five in exactly the way that comedy gets a laugh.

Watching this, I thought: and that is what we mean when we say we don’t like message fiction.

Please read the whole thing.