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Satire as political protest

By hardburn in Media
Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 04:08:26 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I have recently written this story for Humorix (with some nice additions by the site's editor, James Baughn; thanks James!).

In this fake news article, I use ASCII as a "content protection mechanisim", and therefore decoding ASCII characters is illegal under the DMCA. Though it is ment to be humorous, there is a point to it underneath the laughter.

Political satire has long been a great way of getting your ideas accross. For a classic example, I suggest reading "A Modest Proposal" (available on Gutenberg), which describes a system of getting rid of "the Irish problem" of 17th century England. In it, the author (who is Irish himself, but a highly placed one in english society) suggests commiting terriable atrocities against the Irish, such as using the children for summer boots, ladies hand gloves, and tasty meals.

This is all done with an air of complete seriousness, thus making it funny, but without the reader losing the point the author was trying to make.

Many people also know of The Onion as a web site, but in reality, The Onion has been printing on dead-tree material for over 100 years (still does, too). The Onion is a great place for all sorts of political satire, as browsing through some of their old headlines will show. For instance, after Japan allied itself with Nazi Germany, they had "Japan joins with white supremists in well-thought-out scheme", thus making the point that this alliance was not going to work out.

In studying satire, you will find it is often done on a humorous note, but please, don't let that detract from its message. Humor is how satire attracts attention, but it requires a good author and a discerning reader to make sure that message gets accross.


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Satire as political protest | 23 comments (8 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
An inspiring story (4.08 / 12) (#1)
by streetlawyer on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 10:31:27 AM EST

This is probably the most important article we have seen for days on kuro5hin. It gets to the heart of the most important issue that any of us will ever have to deal with; that of whether or not we think that satire is meant to be taken seriously, or not.

Some say that satire is mere humour; others that it has a serious message. This conflict between the "Humorists" and "Messagists" is of course hollow at its heart; as hardburn courageously and correctly points out, the two worldviews are not incompatible. When will mankind learn?

I hope that kuro5hin will go on to publish almost as many articles by this gifted modern satirist as humorix already has done. May others follow this shining example and flock to inform us of their accepted pieces. FLOREAT!

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

OBSR (4.00 / 4) (#6)
by 0xdeadbeef on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 11:18:35 AM EST

Dude, are you being sarcastic?

[ Parent ]
re: OSBR (3.33 / 3) (#10)
by Corwin on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 02:45:20 PM EST

Sarcastic about extoling the virtues of satire? Perish the thought!

I'm in search of myself. Have you seen me anywhere?
[ Parent ]
I hope not (4.60 / 5) (#16)
by kallisti on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 08:09:19 PM EST

Sarcasm is the principle evil in the world.

[ Parent ]
Humor aides memory (none / 0) (#14)
by www.sorehands.com on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 06:12:32 PM EST

Satire and humor being very funny helps people remember it.

Who forgot the Joe Izuzu ads? THe funny ads are the ones that people tend to remember.

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.

Dude, get your facts straight (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by FuzzyOne on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 09:20:31 PM EST

I like the topic, but check your facts on The Onion's founding date. I'm being redundant here (another thread sets the correct born-on date) so let's put that aside and get to why this interests me.

Satire and parody seem to be the next forms of free expression to be shut down by the man.
  • The FBI is investigating BonsaiKitten because some people have no concept of satire.
  • The CNNdn dude gets ceast and desist letters because he came too close to the bone for CNN.
  • People are posting columns to K5 announcing the wonders of satire for all who missed their Intro to Lit classes and didn't get exposed to Swift.

    It's coming to a time when if you want to do a parody site, you'll need to have a big "FAKE JOKE SITE" watermark behind each page along with ADA-mandated hovering DHTML tooltips over all the jokes explaining them to the humor-impaired. Humor literacy (is that such a thing?) seems to be at an all-time low.

    What is to be done? Or more appropriately, What Would Adam Sandler Do? (WWASD?)

  • Teach children to urinate in alleys.
  • Talk with funny bayou accent and drive a lawn mower to college.
  • Sing song about turkey.

  • Satire as a way of life (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by tokage on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 02:07:32 PM EST

    Yeah please do resbumit this. Satire is one of the most important and intelligent forms of humor, IMO. Anyone can look at *insert funny picture* and laugh, but subtle, horribly sardonic and caustic satire is where the fun is. You could include a link to these highly amusing sites: www.segfault.org, www.satirewire.com, and I think www.antioffline.com (regards to sil, saw you posting about carivore on here) is funny as well, though it's the parody sites wherein lies the satire on antionline. There are too many to list offhand.

    I think satire is an important form of commucation, beyond simply amusing. It points out the ridiculousness which so often permates so many aspects of our society, the business world, politics, culture. Sometimes(often) we lose sight of our sense of perspective, and we need things like satire(beyond the immediate humor) which force us to sit back and actually think about what's going on. The media circus created about everything distorts our thinking, more in America than elsewhere I'll warrant, to the point of everything having a sense of unrealism, and we feel detachment because of this. A cleverly written satire, which points out what exactly is going on, how people are attempting to manipulate us, is a godsend. I'll probably rewrite this post in some form if the author chooses to resubmit this article, hope he does.

    On a side note, Ambrose Bierce was the king of satire. Highly recommend him, if you possess that frame of mind. The Devil's Dictionary is a must, anyway.

    I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

    Private Eye (none / 0) (#23)
    by Mr Tom on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 12:24:33 PM EST

    You may wish to also investigate www.privateeye.co.uk , one of the UK's longest-running and most influential satirical publications.

    It's bitingly funny, and has been hammering into the great and the far-from-good since the mid 60s. And has been on the receiving end of the occasional high-profile legal action from said greats-and-not-goods. :-)

    Try searching for the quote "I've just given a fat cheque to a fat Czech." :-)

    -- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

    I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

    Satire as political protest | 23 comments (8 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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