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SATIRE

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SATIRE by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen 20 * * * 20 * Nilsen, Don. L. F. What is Satire. in Feinberg (2008): vii-xii. Nilsen, Don L. F. Satire, The ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: SATIRE


1
SATIRE
  • by Don L. F. Nilsen
  • and Alleen Pace Nilsen

2
DEFINITION OF SATIRE
  • The word satire comes from the Latin satura
    meaning a dish filled with mixed fruits.
  • This was the usual dessert tray after a banquet,
    and an early meaning for the word was to be well
    fed as seen in such cognates as sated,
    saturated, and satisfied.

3
ARISTOPHANES TO NICHOLS
  • Aristophaness antiwar fourth-century B.C.
    Lysistrata is a classic example of the lighter
    kind of satire that blends humor with a serious
    story.
  • The story has an antiwar message, with the humor
    coming from the wives refusal to have sex with
    their husbands until they quit fighting.
  • A contemporary example of a satire that includes
    humor along with serious elements is John
    Nicholss The Milagro Beanfield War, in which
    village farmers in New Mexico are pitted against
    developers who are coming in to take what water
    is available for building a golf course and
    resort.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260)

4
DISTANCE FROM SATIRICAL TARGET
  • To be effective, writers or performers must have
    a detachment from their target.
  • Henry Rule confessed, In truth I dont ever seem
    to be in a good enough humor with anything to
    satirize it no, I want to stand up before it and
    curse it, and foam at the mouth---or take a club
    and pound it to rags and pulp.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

5
HORATIAN VS. JUVENALIAN SATIRE
  • Gentle and humorous satire is called Horatian
    Satire after the writing style of the Roman
    poet Horace.
  • Heavy or biting satire called Juvenalian Satire
    after the Roman poet Juvenal.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

6
  • Lois Lowrys prize-winning childrens book The
    Giver is of Horatian Satire, as is George
    Orwells Animal Farm.
  • These books both have anti-totalitarian messages
    just as does Orwells much heavier and grimmer
    1984.
  • But because Animal Farm comes closer to being
    Horatian satire with its nostalgic barnyard and
    its lovable set of farm animals, when it was
    first submitted to American publishers they
    missed the point and turned it down saying the
    prospective market for animal stories was too
    small.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260)

7
  • One of the characteristics of Horatian satire is
    that it includes a higher percentage of humor.
  • Jonathan Swifts Gullivers Travels is a Horatian
    Satire but his Modest Proposal is Juvenalian
    Satire.
  • The complete title is, A Modest Proposal for
    Preventing the Children of poor People in
    Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or
    Country and for making them beneficial to the
    Publick.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

8
  • Swifts Gullivers Travels is an account of
    Lemuel Gullivers voyages to Lilliput,
    Brobdingnag, Laputa, and the Country of the
    Houyhnhnms.
  • It can be read as adventure stories, even by
    children.
  • Funny images from the stories remain in readers
    minds, such as the picture of Gulliver awakening
    to find himself pinned down by hundreds of
    threads placed on him by the tiny people of
    Lilliput and the image of his putting out the
    fire that was burning the Queens Palace by
    urinating on it.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

9
  • In A Modest Proposal, Swift suggested that at
    the age of one year, poor Irish children should
    be sold as food to be eaten by landlords and
    other members of the upper class.
  • Irish mothers should be encouraged to let their
    children suck plentifully in the last Month, so
    as to render them plump, and fat for a good
    table.

10
  • A Child will make two Dishes at an Entertainment
    for Friends and when the Family dines alone, the
    fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable Dish
    and seasoned with a little Pepper and Salt, will
    be very good Boiled on the fourth Day, especially
    in Winter.
  • Few people who read Swifts Modest Proposal
    ever forget it. Because it touches such deep
    psychic nerves, it illustrates the satirists
    major tool, which is playing with the emotions of
    readers or listeners.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259-260)

11
  • The grimmer a story, the less likely it is that
    readers will miss the intended satire, but also,
    with such grim satires as Anthony Burgesss
    dystopian A Clockwork Orange, William Goldings
    anarchic Lord of the Flies, and Ray Bradburys
    anticensorship Fahrenheit 451, if there is humor,
    it is black humor or irony.
  • Readers shudder at these books if they think they
    are predicting the future, but Ray Bradbury has
    made it clear that he is trying to prevent, not
    predict, the future. It is this call to action
    that distinguishes satire from black or gallows
    humor.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260)

12
INFORMAL VS. FORMAL SATIRE
  • Satire can be divided into two basic types
    informal and indirect, as in stories, poems,
    plays, or novels and explicit or formal, in
    which the satirist speaks directly to readers or
    listeners.
  • Because explicit satire is more efficient, it is
    the kind most likely to be presented by
    comedians.

13
MENIPPEAN SATIRE
  • Because of the extensive accumulation of details
    in Gullivers Travels and because Swift is trying
    to influence mental attitudes as much as actual
    change, some critics identify Swifts Gullivers
    Travels as an example of Menippean satire, named
    after the Greek cynic Menippus.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

14
RANGE OF SATIRE
  • Satire has a long history and occurs across
    genres ranging from Aesops fables and Shel
    Silversteins poetry to Art Buchwalds newspaper
    columns and Paul Krassners newsletter The
    Realist.
  • It also includes political and social cartoons,
    such television programs as late-night talk shows
    and The Colbert Report, such movies as Wag the
    Dog and The Truman Show, and such novels as C.S.
    Lewiss Screwtape Letters and Aldous Huxleys
    Brave New World.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 258)

15
SATIRE AND THE SHAMING PROCESS
  • Matthew Hodgart in Satire wrote that in ancient
    Eskimo cultures, satirical prose and rhyme were
    used to shame individuals who had violated
    community standards.
  • The punishment was worse than a physical
    punishment because the criminal would be made to
    look foolish while the other villagers watched.

16
  • Hodgart also wrote that when going to war, the
    ancient Arabs would send a satirist from both
    sides into battle to see which satirist could be
    the most clever.
  • The morale of the two armies would be determined
    by the skill of their satirists, and occasionally
    a humiliated army would simply give up and
    retreat.
  • Today Rap, HipHop and and other types of
    language play use satire in similar ways.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260)

17
  • Shaming penalties are also meted out by
    cartoonists, comedians, and writers who use the
    mass media to make fun of individuals who have
    gone against behavioral codes, whether in
    business, sex, or politics.
  • Although most such jokes have as their immediate
    target one or two individuals who are involved in
    current scandals, the goal of the satirist is to
    capitalize on the publics interest in a current
    event to shape societys long-term attitudes and
    behaviors.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260-261)

18
SATIRE AS A SOCIAL CORRECTIVE
  • Edgar Johnson in The Anatomy of Satire praises
    satire as a corrective for bad behavior. If we
    ever become civilized, he writes, It will
    probably be satire almost as much as poetry that
    will have accomplished it.
  • Arthur Pollard in Satire says that satirists move
    readers to criticize and condemn through various
    emotions ranging from laughter through ridicule,
    contempt and anger to hate. The feelings that
    are evoked will depend on the seriousness of the
    faults being attached as well as the authors
    view of the gap between the ideal and reality.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

19
  • SATIRE VS. GALLOWS HUMOR
  • Satirists may use their humor to inspire reform
    and change, or they may use it to promote the
    status quo.
  • If the creators of satire dont have a reform or
    a solution in mind but are simply holding up an
    aspect of the world as ridiculous, then they are
    creating irony or gallows humor rather than
    satire.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 258)

20
!SOCIAL SATIRE
  • Social satirists follow in the tradition of Mark
    Twain and Will Rogers. The sacrosanct tenets of
    the Establishment are rings on a dartboard to the
    socially conscious comedian, whose sole mission
    is to make you think before you laugh.
  • There are three types of social satirists, the
    Instigator, The Politico, and The Sage.

21
  • !Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Nipsey Russell, Godfrey
    Cambridge, Dick Gregory, and Richard Pryor are
    Instigator Satirists.
  • Bruce, Sahl, and Gregory were the pioneers
    working in edgy San Francisco and New York clubs
    where they challenged the façade of Eisenhower
    America.
  • First branded as sickniks, they were often
    censored, and, in the case of Bruce, arrested for
    indecency.
  • Sahl was the least controversial, not because his
    satire was less biting, but because he dressed
    and looked collegiate and focused on politics,
    while Bruce was challenging sexual and religious
    conventions and Gregory was giving voice to the
    civil rights movement. Gregorys work made it
    possible for African American entertainers to
    openly rib Jim Crow while paving the way for
    Richard Pryors brazen commentaries on
    discrimination.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 258-259)

22
  • !Politico satirists include Bob Hope, Johnny
    Carson, Jack Paar, Jackie Mason, Arsenio Hall,
    Tom and Dick Smothers, Jay Leno, Pat Paulsen,
    David Letterman, David Steinberg, Dennis Miller,
    Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, and Mark Russell.
  • Bob Hope has been praised for rattling
    Washington like a Gatling gun, skewering the
    sanctimony of politics and securing a soapbox for
    topically minded comedians, while Rowan and
    Martins Laugh-In and The Smothers Brothers
    Comedy Hour were praised for blending critical
    views with a counter-culture sensibility.
  • Johnny Carson had such a hold on the American
    public that he was one of the few personalities
    who could safely fire one-liners at Capitol
    Hill. His cynicism came from the daily news
    inspired by the politicians who spoke with at
    least one foot in their mouths.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

23
  • !Sages are those who warn us of the pitfalls of
    everyday life.
  • They include Bob Newhart, Mike Nichols and Elaine
    May, George Carlin, Alan King, Mark Russell, Bill
    Maher, Dennis Miller, Paul Mooney, Chris Rock,
    Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi
    Goldberg.
  • Carlin, Newhart, and Nichols and May explore the
    frustrations of bureaucracy and the dehumanizing
    effects of technology, while King, Maher, and
    Russell lampoon societys lack of ethics and its
    focus on pop culture, and Rock challenges class
    disparities.
  • One of Rocks funniest skits is about the
    absurdity of giving surplus cheese to welfare
    families.
  • Robin Williams played with this same idea in a
    Comic Relief skit where he impersonated a farmer
    whose land has been taken over by the mortgage
    company so that he is left pondering how to turn
    wedges of surplus cheese into all the things
    needed for daily living.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 259)

24
!!UTOPIAS AND DISTOPIAS
  • A technique often used in satirical novels is the
    contrast between utopian and dystopian societies.
  • The author usually introduces what at first
    appears to be a utopian society, but which the
    reader soon realizes is actually grotesque or
    dystopian.
  • (Nilsen Nilsen 260)

25
!!!Satire or Not?
26
  • Satiric Web Sites
  • CHIASMUS (MARDY GROTHE)
  • http//www.chiasmus.com/welcometochiasmus.shtml
  • CIECOE COUNCIL TO INVESTIGATE EVERYTHING AND
    CONSORTIUM TO OFFEND EVERYBODY
  • http//www.factsformorons.com
  • THE COLBERT REPORT (STEPHEN COLBERT)
  • http//www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_colbert_rep
    ort/index.jhtml
  • THE DAILY SHOW (JON STUART)
  • http//www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/
    index.jhtml
  • HARVARD LAMPOON
  • http//www.harvardlampoon.com/

27
  • MAD MAGAZINE
  • http//www2.warnerbros.com/web/madmagazine/home.js
    p
  • THE MAD MARTIAN MUSEUM OF MODERN MADNESS
  • http//www.madmartian.com
  • MANAGEMENT HUMOR (RODNEY MARKS)
  • www.comedian.com.au
  • THE MOZILLA MUSEUM (TILMAN HAUSHERR)
  • http//www.snafu.de/tilman/mozilla
  • THE NATIONAL LAMPOON
  • www.nationallampoon.com

28
  • THE ONION (CAROL KOLB)
  • http//www.theonion.com
  • SATIRE ON ORGANIZED RELIGION
  • www.landoverbaptist.com
  • STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE
  • http//stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/
  • THANK YOU MASKMAN (LENNY BRUCE)
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vCebRfSFnWGM
  • WHITEHOUSE
  • http//whitehouse.org/initiatives/posters/
  • THE WHOLE WORLD TOILET PAPER MUSEUM (RICH
    TAGYERIT)
  • http//www.tagyerit.com/tp.htm

29
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  • Berger, Arthur Asa. Lil Abner A Study in
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