People need to learn what Satire is…
And no, in this case I am NOT talking about the people who spread satirical posts thinking they are real.
Dictionary.com defines satire like this:
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.
There is another aspect of satire that is quite often forgotten these days. Satire is honest. It is honest to the point of drawing blood. It is a look at society at a level that makes us uncomfortable, because it charges the status quo like a lance. I choose a lance, and not some other weapon for a reason. A lance risks its own destruction as it plunges into the armor of an enemy of equal or greater power. And they do all this in the light of day, where everyone can see their success, but also their failures.
Satire is commentary on the powerful. It is a direct attack on the status quo. It is meant to teach, to goad, to coerce.
Satirists mock, taunt, and deride the powerful and influential.
They target those who are in position to make policy, or who have the ear of those who make policy.
They make mock those who are in a place to right their position and make amends.
They go after those who have willfully put themselves in the wrong.
They do not make fun of the weak. They do not taunt and torment those bellow them. They do not bully those who cannot defend themselves or who cannot change that which they are targeting them for.
That is not satire, that nothing more than playground bullying taken before a wider audience.
Please, keep this in mind when you re-share links and images from “Satire” sites.
A few good examples:
The Onion: They are open and up front about what they are. They proudly announce that they are a satire site. And, while they skirt the boundaries on occasion, their targets are almost always those in power.
The Daily Currant: You have to dig, and dig hard to find that they are a satire site. No one is safe from their attacks, not even the innocent. As long as they can get a laugh, they don’t care if they actually have a message.
You may wonder what brought on this rant. The answer to that is simple. I have seen too many people posting utter bullshit, taken from sites that paint themselves up to be “news,” while attacking people who just don’t agree with them, with flat out lies, and calling it “satire.”
The direct trigger in this case is a flood of posts from a website called ChristWire (http://www.christwire.com/). Not only do they not have the site marked anywhere as a satire site, but they have multiple posts arguing that they are not satire.
The site pretends to be a news blog. It posts the most nonsensical stories possible, insisting that they are real news, with real facts, and real implications, and that the author of the articles is an Evangelical Christian.
Instead the blog is filled with “news” that is made up of fake “facts” about everything from claims that Pokemon is encouraging demon worship, to Obama is infecting Christians with Ebola. They back up their stories with references to fake news reports, “first-hand knowledge,” and badly done Photoshoped pictures.
They are presenting this as what the Rank and File Christian believes.
While they do have stories that deal somewhat with the day to day news, they are presented in the form of “This is the paranoid delusional idea that these people believe.”
They do not target the powerful. They do not target the influential or the famous. They target the rank and file Christian.
They paint a picture of idiocy and say “Look at the nonsense these people believe.”
That is not satire.
That is the sort of bullying that most of us were taught to avoid as children.
They are not attacking the leadership of any organization. They are not attacking the Vatican, or the SBC. They are attacking our neighbors, and using lies to do it.
Satire is about presenting the truth in a way to teach. Satirists choose to be the “fool,” not the bully.
These people are the thugs of the internet, and they hide behind the label of “satire” because they figure people are too dumb to get what they are doing.