As most other bloggers, I write this blog because I’m bored and can’t find a better pass time. To indulge my craving to fill this blog with something else than chocolate, I’ve let slip this ‘word of the day feature’. It’s not like people can easily open the dictionary and discover words for themselves.
Not to mention, after twelve years of schooling most English-speaking humans, are proficient in the usage of the word – ‘satire’. It’s one I was faced with in a History class, which most of my classmates loved. Memorizing things, to repeat them like a parrot during exam time, undoubtedly prepares you for the real world. Spoon feeding truly helps you develop independent thought.
And then, you enter the friendly world of FaceBook. You read something strange on Reddit. Perhaps one of your peers decides to mix things up and posts an internet meme, instead of a selfie on Snapchat or Instagram. Or some Vlogger’s video goes viral on What’s App. At first you think it’s kind of funny, but don’t get it. Suddenly you are forced to do something which you have never done before. Your own mind has to wrap itself around a complex joke. She was joking, right?
Writing satire as you can see by my inapt attempt there (in the first two paragraphs), is not all that easy—although to some people it comes as natural as breathing. I’m not one of them, but I enjoy reading the art-form. Yes, it is an art-form, to construct words in such a manner they poke fun at society in constructive criticism. Satire is another way to convey an opinion and focuses on the writers observation on society, politics and such.
A well-constructed satire will force the audience to some internal reflection. The modern day satire it is not restricted to writing. Satire can also be in form of a comic strip, a video, lyrics, an internet meme.
The official definition from ‘the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 7th Edition, first printed in 1982,’ is:
“satire n. 1. composition in verse or prose ridiculing vice or folly or lampooning individual(s), this branch of literature, thing that brings ridicule upon something (our lives are a satire upon our religion); use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc., in speech or writing to expose or discourage vice or folly.
2. poetic medley, esp. Poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.”
“Eish”, remind me to never quote that dictionary again. One needs another dictionary to define that which has already been defined.
I think Wikipedia in this case is easier understood:
“Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purposes is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.”
Wikipedia continues and explains that a feature of satires are they use sarcasm and irony. They also feature exaggeration, utilize words in such a manner they could have a double meaning (double entrendre) and show comparisons.
Let me show you a few examples….
Satires have really been exploding all over the internet lately.
This video, has been making the rounds. It criticize our use of Social Media to find the perfect partner.
Madam and Eve, is a local comic strip which is printed in newspapers and can be bought in special edition books. The illustrator is brilliant. This specific one has been doing the rounds via What’s App. In it he compares South African President, Jacob Zuma to American President, Donald Trump. It’s a comparison most people in the region have been making since Trump came into office.
(Please note, I don’t have copy right on the above material. I display it as “fair use” as an embed from their respective fan page. )
There are many, many more examples. I thought I’d sample some of the more light hearted ones. With the recent feminist hash-tag making the rounds, I found some vile comments from people who clearly did not understand that the author was writing a satire or was using sarcasm.
This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO / NaBloPoMo.
About the Author
Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.
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