Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Satire and Fake News

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abraham Lincoln
According to Wikipedia, 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. 
The United States has had a rich tradition of satire. Some of the country’s most notable satirists have been Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers. The late Art Buchwald and P.J. O’Rourke are two of our more recent satirists. Television shows like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and many others present satire as well. Mad Magazine, Cracked, and National Lampoon have all put a great deal of satire into print. The Wittenburg Door, which published some of my satire, billed itself as “The world’s  pretty much only religious satire magazine.”
Satire is more complicated than a straightforward piece of writing or video. Like good jokes, satire begins with a premise, an underlying idea. For example, during the Presidential campaign of 2016, two premises that were used over and over were that Donald Trump didn’t have the temperament to be President and Hillary Clinton was a liar. More often than not, satire is a humorous way of making the point of the premise, whatever the premise may be.
Satire is one of the most prevalent forms of fake news on the internet.  Many of the popular memes that circulate on the internet are satirical. The Onion, The Daily Currant, and many other websites specialize in satire. Many consumers of news love good satire. However, people who read or view satire don’t always see things the same way. Here are some of the ways that people react to satirical material.
  • They get the joke, agree with the premise, and get a good laugh out of it.
  • They get the joke, disagree with the premise, and get upset about it.
  • They may not get the joke and wonder why other people are laughing. That’s an uncomfortable feeling for most people.
  • They may not understand what satire is and take whatever they’re reading or seeing at face value. This is happening with alarming frequency and it’s the main reason I’m preparing to release a new book titled Remedial Satire. It’s being published by Doublespeak Books and it should be in bookstores by April 1st.

When people realize that they’ve been made the butt of a joke, they generally aren’t happy about it. For example, Presidential Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently complained about Saturday Night Live’s treatment of him.
When you read a piece of satire, there are usually a few clues to indicate that it is satire. Funky names and preposterous statements may be indicators that a piece of work is satire. For example, I sometimes insert quotes from Jack O’Lanterni when I write satire. 
I wrote a piece titled Wit Privilege and America’s War on the Witless which was used by The American Thinker. From the comments, it appeared that most readers got the joke. Still, there were some who didn’t get the joke.
Here are a few more examples of satire that I have written recently.
Fake News International announces nominees for 2016 Fakies!

No comments:

Post a Comment