Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why don't people get parody and satire?

Parody mocks an original piece of work by using humorous, satiric or ironic imitation. Satire itself is much broader.
Some examples: Swift's A Modest Proposal, some of Mark Twain's stuff, etc.
The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Simpsons, and the Onion can also sometimes be examples (although sometimes those productions are just plain silly).
Sometimes, satire or parody will show up on newspapers or blog. Every time that happens, readers, not understanding that what they're reading is satire, will post angry (or sometimes, sadly, complimentary) comments. It's clear from their comments that they just didn't get that it was satire.
Why is satire so often misunderstood? Has it always been misunderstood? Did the people in Swift's time really think he advocated eating children?
In any case, it's a powerful way of showing the ridiculousness of certain positions in a powerful way...but only if the reader/viewer understands that it's satire.

1 comment:

Mommy Bee said...

I think it's because we are not exposed to clever humor in our culture as much as we used to be. Or rather that we're so hounded by the cheap 'humor' (potty humor, crass sexual stuff, etc) that we've turned off our brains and forgotten how to understand real wit.

I think a lot of people are confused by satire from time to time--just depending how it's written or the content area--and frankly I think some satire can be taken at face value and still be worthwhile.