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Showing posts from August, 2012

Still propagandized after all these years

I got a call from a young friend the other day complaining of writer’s block.  It wasn’t that he couldn’t think of anything to write, exactly; he couldn’t think of anything to satirize

“You’re crazy,” I said.  “What’s not to satirize?”

Brief silence.  “I can see you don’t know a thing about satire.“  He sighed.  “Satire requires an audience who would appreciate it.  Look, you don’t tell jokes to yourself, right?  You tell them to others.  If no one gets them, they’re not jokes.”

“Well--”

“They’re not jokes -- trust me.  Satire’s a little more complicated.  You want them to laugh, but when they’re done you want them to see what or who you’re picking on and agree with you.  You want them to take action.  If it’s political satire, you want them to overthrow the government.  Satire’s serious business.  You need to know what’s right, to laugh at what’s wrong.  But that’s the problem.  People don’t know.”

“Oh, yeah?  Tell that to the cast of Saturday Night Live.  Or Jon Stewart.  You’re …