For Your Consideration: Your Satire Is Horrible

25 Feb

I don’t know that it is possible to have a better retort to the Onion’s unfortunate tweet than Pia Glenn’s and so I urge you to read it.

But I would like to talk a little bit about satire, or as some people see it, INTERNET FOOLS GOLD. You see satire is a tough thing appraise because even the slightest bit of irony gets a tidal wave of appraisal from people who want to seem smart (see: everyone).  Even some of the best satire comes across as insincere and merely existing to assuage our middle class sense of morality.

When Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert make their jokes we laugh, and we think “boy this person is D-U-M-B, and we aren’t!” When the Onion publishes a satirical article about how America cares more about fashion than drones, we chortle, and think “wow we as a culture sure are superficial…”

Most satire is just another commodity though, bought and paid for by a populace eager to laugh and feel smart experiencing it. Every time we have one of these satire’s blow up in the satirists face we get that same army of satire lovers telling us that we didn’t “get” the satire like we’re single celled bacteria just walking out of the soup and reading words for the first time.

“Man, you don’t get that Cartman/Archie Bunker is SUPPOSED to be racist…” Well consider this: We do get that, and we still note that in certain episodes their views are satirized very well, and in others, the character just calls another character a jew or the n-word and the audience hoots and hollers.  Consider that we think your satire is, mostly, shitty.

Is that surprising? Are most big Hollywood movies amazing? Or are just a few actually really good in a sea of mediocrity? The same rules for all art forms apply to satire which is mostly horrible to marginally tolerable. Occasionally a satirical joke will go so off the rails that it’ll piss people off. Movies do this too, just watch Terminator 3.

Most of your satire is horrible, the meaning lost to an audience that wants to FEEL smart but can’t think their selves out of a paper bag. An actually smart person asks questions, probes the mysteries of humankind, worries about wars and neighbors alike. A fan of satire hears a Louis CK bit one time and thinks its alright to call people fags. A fan of satire heard Chris Rock say that there was a difference between N-words and Black people and now they tell their black friend that joke and the black friend just shakes their head.

Be careful out there, and say no to satire.

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