Filmmaker and illustrator Pat Race wants to create a satirical news series documenting the 2014 Alaska Legislature, and he hopes crowdsourcing will make it happen.
Pat Race, Lou Logan and Aaron Suring are the guys behind the Alaska Robotics label. In 2007, the trio created the online short Buy Back Alaska to satirize the VECO corruption scandal.
During it, Race explains, “Based on recent ethical violations, our political scientists estimate the cost of renting an Alaska state legislator for a session is about $250,000, although some could be had for much less.”
In the 2007 Frank Murkowski Tribute, Juneau performer Collette Costa sings, “But I’m leaving on my jet plane, don’t think I’ll give it back again, oh the state should make it mine,” to the famous John Denver tune.
In the recent 2013 Legislative Update, Race introduces his newscast, “Good day. This is Pat Race reporting from Juneau, Alaska, where the legislature is in session and out to lunch.”
Since 2004, Alaska Robotics has occasionally produced short satirical web videos. Now they want to create a web series during the 2014 legislative session called Alaska Robotics News.
“We would follow the news, we’d follow what’s going on in the capitol building and we would offer commentary and criticism and humor and create sort of a parody news show along the lines of like Weekend Update or the Daily Show, but more localized,” says Race.
Race says no one would be safe in the upcoming series, “I want to make fun of both sides of the aisle. I don’t want to protect anyone and attack anyone.”
Politically, Race considers himself middle of the road.
“My dad is pretty conservative and my mom is pretty liberal and I feel like I’m in the middle on a lot of issues, though I think that George Bush probably pushed me more in the liberal direction most recently, but Obama is doing a good job of pushing me back,” Race says.
While he may not be able to say definitively what political box he’s in, Race knows what he cares about – personal freedom, everyone having a voice, and political satire. Race says it engages people, keeps them informed, and it can be powerful.
“It’s like the court jester who can say anything to the king and kind of get away with it,” Race explains. “It’s important to have political satire because you can hold this up as a reflection and it’s a little bit of a funhouse circus mirror reflection, but it is a reflection of our society. Humor is a way to offer commentary on issues in kind of a safe environment.”
Race says Alaska Robotics News is targeted to all Alaskans. There’s already a fan base.
“I get a lot of state workers and people that are in the capitol building that aren’t, for whatever reason, allowed to really have a political opinion or express it very well, and they really enjoy seeing our shorts because I think it gives them a chance to sort of decompress or blow off some steam or laugh at the position they’re in,” says Race.
Race says it’s important that politicians know how to laugh at themselves.
“I thought Sarah Palin did a great job when she went on Saturday Night Live. I think that was one of the things that really made her stand out as a human being, more than just a political candidate. And I’m not going down that road of what I think about Sarah Palin, but that was something that really impressed me,” he says.
During the last legislative session, Race had Senator Bill Wielechowski on his program, and he hopes Governor Sean Parnell will make an appearance on Alaska Robotics News this coming session.
If you want to see the 2014 Alaska Legislature reflected in a funhouse mirror, you can find Alaska Robotics News on Kickstarter. The project is now live.
The pledge levels mimic the political hierarchy. If you pledge $5 or more, you’re an intern, $15 or more moves you up to page. Pledging at the $75 or $100 level makes you a representative or senator. $500 makes you a good ole boy. Pledge $4,000 or more and you’re in the corrupt bastards club.