What is this Satire Thing, and What is the Point of it?

Recently while on Twitter I saw someone had tweeted:

“I hate posh people”

I responded to this, stating that I did not believe it was funny and was unhelpful because I saw it as unnecessarily attacking a group. On reflection, I possibly took it to much to heart as I am sometimes called posh myself, and yet:

  1. I’m a crazy Lefty and member of the Green Party
  2. I’m NHS frontline staff
  3. I give as much to charity each month as I feel I can
  4. I’ve never tried caviar; Beluga or any other variety.

I still stand by initial thought that was not funny and the reason why is because I see it as attempted and failed satire.

Though targeting a person, this targets the hypocrisy of the leader of a political party supporting a corporation his party have done so much to attack.

Though targeting a person, this targets the hypocrisy of the leader of a political party supporting a corporation his party have done so much to attack.

Satire is a joke that points at an accepted idea or action within society and labelling it as ridiculous. The best satire will make you think about something from a perspective that you had not seen before, and change your own perspective in an unalterable way. It never attacks a person, but an idea or action; these may be attached to a person but the focus is always on their idea or action.

UKIP don't represent a viable government as they only have a limited number of policies.

UKIP don’t represent a viable government as they only have a limited number of policies.

One of the best satirical works ever was the book ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell which pointed at Communism and showed it to be ridiculous as the central ethos (equality for all) will always inevitably be undermined by greed, especially those drawn to leadership and power. He did this by depicting the leaders of a farm as pigs and the followers or proletariat at sheep. So simple, yet so utterly brilliant!

Ridicules the idea that foodbanks are banned by those whose privileged backgrounds mean that they don't understand the lives of those who need to use them.

Ridicules the idea that foodbanks are banned by those whose privileged backgrounds mean that they don’t understand the lives of those who need to use them.

“I hate posh people” achieves nothing of the sort. Posh is an idea but it is so loose that it describes everyone and no one and in this way is only an insult and not satire. The idea of posh isn’t inherently ridiculous; the often associated idea of richness or more money than sense is, but these things are not synonymous and should not be treated as such (if only to stop me getting offended!)

Policies looking to decrease  the deficit should target the people with the money  not without any money!

Policies looking to decrease the deficit should target the people with the money not without any money!

For me, satire plays a vital role within society. It rightly ridicules the ridiculous and changes views. It changes views in a way that persuasive writing cannot do; the message can be given in an image and in a way that anyone can understand. Persuasive writing may make us think but satire makes us laugh, and in laughing at something that we did not realise was funny it shatters prior conceptions. Laughing not only changes our convictions but also stops the idea from ever being taken seriously again.

Cameron states that Britain is a 'Christian Country' despite having a capitalist agenda contrary to the  politically Left, non-materialist Bible star Jesus

Cameron states that Britain is a ‘Christian Country’ despite having a capitalist agenda contrary to the politically Left, non-materialist Bible star Jesus

Good satire is a necessary medicine for society, it makes us check our idea, and it makes the world change its ways. It makes those in power realise that we are not just sheep blindly going along with what we are told, but that we engage with their ideas and actions and will hold them to account.

P.S. You may wish to follow @Rowland72James on Twitter who provides excellent Satire and donated some images for this blog

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “What is this Satire Thing, and What is the Point of it?

  1. Good article but actually u do attack the powerful personally they r cocooned by yes men and narcissistic and hence lose self awareness, look at Blair traditional satire though relies on target being colourful nu labour was quite difficult because though there deeds beggared belief they were so bland about what they said u had little to feed on. Best thing about satire though is u reach people not normally interested in politics. Ps u didn’t put any of my pics in the blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s