What is satire

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This PowerPoint was presented by Bryan Santin at Digital Writing Collaborative Lunch at Miami University of Ohio.

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What is satire

  1. 1. What is Satire? "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson
  2. 2. Satire Defined: <ul><li>Satirists support their position by showing the opposing view as absurd, vicious, or inhuman to undermine their opponent's beliefs and arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Good” satire is constructive art that aims not just to destroy but to correct social ills. </li></ul><ul><li>A basic equation for understanding satire: </li></ul><ul><li>Ironic Humor + Informed Criticism = Implicit Argument for Reform </li></ul>
  3. 3. Satire: <ul><li>Values the societal common good ( not hopelessly fatalistic). </li></ul><ul><li>Must understand warrants, commonplaces, and ideologies of audiences in order to be successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Assumes that audiences are reasonably intelligent and understand irony (i.e., “saying one thing but meaning another.”) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sarcasm vs. Satire <ul><li>Sarcasm: simplistic use of irony in order to insult someone else (no implicit argument for improvement). Think of people who ironically say, “Yeah, that’s a great idea” without putting forth any ideas of their own. </li></ul><ul><li>Satire : a blend of informed criticism and ironic humor for the purposes of improvement or correction </li></ul>
  5. 5. Two Basic Types of Satire: Horatian & Juvenalain <ul><li>Horatian (named after Roman satirist Horace): a playful criticism of society through gentle, light-hearted humor: </li></ul><ul><li>Cheerful and light-hearted </li></ul><ul><li>Optimistic </li></ul><ul><li>Witty </li></ul><ul><li>Gentle </li></ul><ul><li>Tongue-in-cheek </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: The Simpsons , Austin Powers , Gulliver’s Travels, Scary Movie Series </li></ul>
  6. 6. Two Basic Types of Satire: Horatian & Juvenalain <ul><li>Juvenalain (named after Roman satirist Juvenal): an abrasive aggressive critique: </li></ul><ul><li>Cutting </li></ul><ul><li>Bitter </li></ul><ul><li>Angry </li></ul><ul><li>Grim </li></ul><ul><li>Contemptuous </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: South Park , George Orwell’s 1984 , Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” Parts of George Carlin’s stand-up comedy </li></ul>
  7. 7. Satire & Point of View <ul><li>Satire usually employs a special kind of narrator called a mask or persona . </li></ul><ul><li>Not to be understood as the speaker or writer’s authentic voice, it is the character through whom the action is observed or related. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, Stephen Colbert’s mask or persona is an ultra-conservative political pundit when, in reality, he is not. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Satire & Point of View <ul><li>Formal and Direct : Satiric voice speaks in the first person. For example, when Colbert address audience and says, “I go with my gut regardless of facts!” </li></ul><ul><li>Informal and Indirect : Characters themselves reveal their folly and ridiculousness through their own actions, words and thoughts. For example, most Saturday Night Live skits satirize morning talk shows in this way. </li></ul>
  9. 9. 3 Main Questions to ask about Satire <ul><li>1.) What institutions, practices, and/or groups are being satirized? </li></ul><ul><li>2.) What methods are being used to construct satire? </li></ul><ul><li>3.) What is the tone of the satire (Horatian or Juvenalain)? </li></ul>
  10. 10. What institutions, practices, and/or groups are being satirized? <ul><li>A group or organization? </li></ul><ul><li>A single individual? </li></ul><ul><li>A “sort” or type of person? </li></ul><ul><li>A social class? </li></ul><ul><li>A philosophy, commonplace, or ideology? </li></ul><ul><li>Social Manners? </li></ul><ul><li>Technological use or innovation? </li></ul><ul><li>Humankind as a whole? </li></ul>
  11. 11. What methods are being used to construct satire? <ul><li>Parody? </li></ul><ul><li>Irony? </li></ul><ul><li>Mock-epic? </li></ul><ul><li>Lampoon? </li></ul><ul><li>Caricature? </li></ul><ul><li>Allegory? </li></ul><ul><li>Travesty? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Classic Satire: Dr. Strangelove <ul><li>“ Gentlemen, You can’t fight in here. This is a war room!” </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAeqVGP-GPM </li></ul><ul><li>What ironic point is the film trying to make in this scene? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Work Cited <ul><li>Griffin, Dustin H. Satire: A Critical Introduction . Lexington, KY: Kentucky University Press, 1994. </li></ul>

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