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Parking Political Pandering with Humour – An Interview with Kevin Maguire

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Kevin joined Paul to discuss the effects of social media on communicating the complex political landscape and how humour can bring about real change.

Politics in the age of constant global connection can be both an exciting and alarming thing. While most people who are digitally connected think social media is good for democracy, studies show that social media is responsible for a new wave of political polarisation across the globe.

When it comes to the people’s collective power, our latest guest on the Humourology Podcast, Kevin Maguire, thinks that social media may get in the way of real and effective change.

“You might have a lot of friends on Facebook, but you haven’t got any real friends. It’s the atomisation in some ways. I know it connects us all, but it’s just everybody with their phones or their laptops or whatever and it’s not the same as meeting physically somewhere and chatting and talking and planning and going on a big demonstration. I’m not one for lots of marches, many on Saturdays often and I like to go to the football or the rugby instead. But I do see the value of people getting together and if this click activism is becoming a diversion, that’s a problem. That’s a problem for society as people all just do their own things sitting at home rather than getting together.”

Parsing through all of the political noise and identifying the tools of persuasion can be a valuable tool for those looking for the truth behind every political movement. No matter your political affiliation, experts like journalist Kevin Maguire remind us that with a sense of humour, we can enact real progress in the realm of political understanding.

Kevin Maguire is a journalist who pays particularly close attention to how politicians persuade people. As Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror, Maguire sees how the pull of politics in the media affects the polls.

Maguire is an expert in the art of communication. He knows that humour can be used as a tool to both bring people together and keep them separated. For Maguire, humour can be used as a mirror to show the absurdity of certain harmful views while alienating those around you.

“Humour can help as long as you get the right target, the right victim. Pointing out the stupidity of racists, for instance, is good, rather than making jokes that are racist. So, you can use it, you can win people over with a bit of humour and show the absurdity sometimes of their views without ramming it too hard down their throat because nobody likes to be made to feel or look stupid or be called stupid.”

When it comes to injecting humour into the workplace, Maguire knows that it is important to laugh in any industry. From deflecting difficult situations to creating a workplace culture. Maguire warns that humour is a double-edged sword that must be wielded with positive intention and mindfulness.

“I think anything that’s really racist, homophobic, misogynistic, anything that’s bullying, you would say it’s punching down. I’m all for people having a laugh at work, but not if somebody is always the scared one and they suffer as a result and they don’t like it. So, I think you want fun and laughter to be people joining in and there’s jokes cracked all the time at work at my expense, but they’re not in a nasty, toxic, poisonous way.”

Maguire’s interview does a great deal to show us the power of pointed political communication. His advice can help every citizen parse through the parlour tricks of every politician to find the value underneath. Much like the workplace, Maguire reminds us that a nation’s politics are filled with complicated bits of communication that always require reflection.

See you next Tuesday.



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