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Taiwanese Animators Poke Fun At Ray Nagin

Next Media Animation
Screenshot of satirical video showing former Mayor C. Ray Nagin accepting bribes from contractors in his City Hall office.

Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese media company known for their satirical animated videos mocking events in the news, has released a video poking fun at the travails of former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, convicted this week of 20 counts of corruption — ranging from bribery to conspiracy.

During the video a matter-of-fact narrator explains the backstory, over a wild series of satirical scenes. The video begins with with Nagin closing the blinds to his office to block out a sobbing mother and child, while accepting a giant bag of money from a man in a hard hat.

It continues with Nagin in various compromising situations, such as vacuuming up cash from people wading through floodwaters, and flying off on a tiny plane — returning with a Jamaican hat and smoking marijuana while people in a ruined environment warm themselves around a burning oil barrel.

"One way to face such an obvious failure of public trust is to parody it, in this case making Nagin look like a foolish clown," says David Zemmels, Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Loyola University. "We laugh at the image of the corrupt politician caught with his hand in the cookie jar, lining his own pockets while giving the finger to those he was supposed to be helping or just ignoring their needs."

Zemmels says he suspects Next Media needs to use over-the-top parody to interest their viewers, especially when the subject is the trial of a former mayor of a small US city. "With all the video circulating these days over the Internet, cable TV, etc., it’s much harder to stand out, so outrageous parody is becoming more common," he says.

The video also mocks the contractors, transforming them into giant rats “squealing” in a federal courtroom, and ends with Nagin sobbing in his jail cell before being eaten by a giant shark.

Next Media Animation says they produce over 30 animated news stories each day for their website, as well as for other media organizations such as Reuters.

This story has been updated with the addition of comments from Dr. Zemmels.

Jason Saul served as WWNO's Director of Digital Services. In 2017 he took a position at BirdNote, in Seattle.