Satire is a form of humor, and is considered the cruelest form of comedy. Satire points out the folly of people, organizations, institutions, and ideas.
Often, satire will use fictional counterparts of real people as characters, as a Parody of Real Life. However, a satirical work can also use original characters to explore the foibles ramifications of an organization or course of action.
Satire often relies on current events and there is a danger that it won't be appreciated in another era. The poetry of Pope and Dryden satirized English politics of the 18th century, but few would appreciate the humor now. The best satire can still be appreciated on its own merits even after the thing it's criticizing fades from consciousness. Occasionally, a piece of satire regains relevance in similar circumstances; for example, satire aimed at George Bush I (or, perhaps more justifiably, Richard Nixon) can often be easily applied to Bill Clinton.
The Roman poets Ennius and Lucilius are considered the progenitors of the genre, though almost all of their work has been lost. Latin satire was generally delivered in verse, like most literature of the time. It was considered the sole branch of literature native to Rome and there was no Greek equivalent, though some Greek comedy, such as Aristophanes, had elements that we would consider satiric. Horace, Persius, and Juvenal are perhaps the three most famous Roman satirists, ranging from good-natured (Horace disposing of a dreadful bore) to savage (Juvenal's condemnation of sodomites pretending to be philosophers). They are for the most part preoccupied with urban life, morality, and how other people suck.
Literary convention divides satire into the Horatian (good-natured, almost affectionate, light-hearted, and more likely to view the target as foolish rather than evil) and the Juvenalian (contemptuous, abrasive, scornful, and outraged, relentlessly mocking a target often regarded as outright evil).
- Superflat is a Po Mo art movement that was started by Takashi Murakami who was inspired by Hideaki Anno. It sometimes satirizes many aspects of Japan (particularly things sparked by Anime) such as consumerism, the prevalence of Kawaisa, Lolicon, and Fan Service along with the Otaku subculture that is the driving force behind all of them. However, since certain artists associated with Superflat are lolicon otaku themselves, it could also be seen as a form of self-parody. Furthermore, it should be noted that not all Superflat works are satirical in nature - Superflat Monogram, by Murakami and Mamoru Hosoda, for instance, is merely a Louis Vuitton commercial.
- Dada was a Po Mo movement that was a satire of modern art and post-WWI malaise.
- William Hogarth
- James Gillray
- Honoré Daumier
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a Deconstruction/satire of Victorian era fiction and values.
- Especially the album "The Blue Lotus", which references the Chinese-Japanese War in the 1930s.
- "The Broken Ear" is a satire of the Gran Chaco War in South America.
- Suske en Wiske
- Mad Magazine
- Li'l Abner
- Robert Crumb
- The movie The Player satirized Hollywood's crushing effect on the visions of individual artists as well as the kind of people that environment attracts.
- Being There, which brought us Chance the Gardener, is a satire of the human tendency to favor style over substance and take things at face value, particularly where media and politics are concerned. Basically Horatian.
- Cannibal Holocaust: It is the most sick, vile, twisted, bloody and most violent piece of satire ever made by a film director.
- A Clockwork Orange is a satire of the battle against violence in society
- Dr. Strangelove is one of the most well known satires of the Cold War, and of the foolishness of the nuclear arms race. An interesting case where Horatian techniques were put to a Juvenalian end.
"Mr. President, we must not allow... A MINE SHAFT GAP!"
- Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator is a satire on Hitler, Nazism and Fascism. Given the subject, it's Juvenalian, but surprisingly mildly so.
- Man Bites Dog is a satire on the sensationalism of the TV industry
- Monty Python's Life of Brian is a satire on religions and ideologies and their followers, more specifically Christianity. Generally Horatian and very gently toward Chistianity, but other ideologies get sharper treatment.
- Network by Sidney Lumet is a satire on the television industry. Quite Juvenalian.
- The South Park movie is a satire of censorship.
- Thank You for Smoking is a satire of the tobacco industry. Combines Juvenalian and Horatian techniques to great comic effect.
- To Be or Not to Be is a satire of Nazism.
- The Truman Show is a satire of reality TV and television in general, yet it inspired the television show Big Brother.
- The films of Jacques Tati are a satire on the contrast between the traditional society and the technological innovations of the modern world.
- A Serbian Film is a satire of modern Serbian cinema and the history of the nation as a whole. So Juvenalian, some couldn't even tell it was a satire.
- Scream was designed as a satire of the slasher genre.
- The Daily Show satirizes modern US and global news events, as does the Spin-Off, The Colbert Report. Whether their satire is Juvenalian or Horatian depends on the subject: Fox News Channel? Juvenalian (particularly when it comes to Glenn Beck). Barack Obama? Horatian. George W. Bush? Are we talking 2001-2006 or 2006-2009? The rest of the media? What are they saying now? Etc., etc., etc.
- Yes Minister satirized 1980s UK Governmental policy and decision-making. Generally Horatian with occasional dips into Juvenalian territory.
- ...and its Spiritual Successor The Thick of It now satirises UK politics in the 21st century. Purely Juvenalian.
- Brass Eye satirized the reporting methods of 90s UK news media as well as wider social and political issues. Out-Juvenals Juvenal himself.
- Frontline satirized Australian current affairs programmes in the 1990s.
- Have I Got News for You. Fittingly for the editor of Juvenalian satirical magazine Private Eye, Ian Hislop's contributions are toward the Juvenalian end of the scale, while Paul Merton tends more toward the Horatian end when he isn't making plays on words or indulging in surrealism and flights of fancy.
- Mock the Week
- Ugly Betty satirizes the fashion industry. Horatian.
- Bewitched continually satirizes American conformity, consumerism, and racism. More or less Horatian, per the standards of the day.
- Royal Canadian Air Farce satirized Canadian politics and current events and just about every other aspect of of Canadian life in its long run. It was something of a forerunner for Canadian television and influenced the CBC in particular for a number of years
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes was a satirical presentation of current events and was shown in a news format. It was known for having strictly Newfoundland performers and a particularly eastern perspective on things.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- Spitting Image: satirizing politicians and other celebrities of the day
Literature[edit | hide]
- Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal. One of the most Juvenalian works ever produced.
- Some of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books are satires of government, religion, and other things, often with the assistance of parody and pastiche. Typically Horatian.
- Miguel de Cervante's Don Quixote satirizes nearly all contemporary examples of literature and theater of its time and ridicules it, also a juvenalian take of Spanish society at The Cavalier Years.
- The Confidence Man has characters that are satirized expys of 19th-century authors.
- Forrest Gump (the novel, but not the movie) was a fairly biting satire of Americana from the '50s to the '70s. The novel was more Juvenalian, the film being Horatian.
- Its sequel, Gump and Co. was a less-biting satire of the '80s and '90s, including a light dig at the film version of the original novel's film adaptation.
- Many of the works of Mark Twain are clear examples of satire—most famously, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (protestations to the contrary on the back cover notwithstanding).
- Andrew Martin's novel Bilton is a satire on lifestyle journalism, involving a rude and alcoholic Marxist intellectual who works at the Daily Globe, a newspaper so swollen and fatuous that it has a supplement listing all the other supplements.
- The Devil's Dictionary, satirizing a wide variety of topics (and Juvenalian to the core). Notably contains an entry on "satire" teeming with sarcastic disdain for those who don't get satire.
- Alexander Pope's The Rape Of The Lock is mocking the hubbub that sprang up when a friend of his cut a woman's lock of hair. Long story short: hair gets cut, war erupts. Very obviously Horatian (the targets of Pope's satire were his friends, whom he thought were making a mountain out of a molehill).
- Tom Sharpe's Wilt, while primarily comic farce, is also a bitter satire on academic bureaucracy and the heirarchy within colleges and universities. The theme is more deeply developed in the later books of the Wilt series, but Sharpe, a veteran of the unglamorous end of British higher education, makes some pretty trenchant points about what education should actually be for, and lays into the sort of people who let ambition, or wooly thinking, or vested interests, get in the way of delivering education to the people who arguably need it most. the Ipford Technical College is there primarily to provide vocational trades education and continuing education to adults who missed out earlier in life: its Principal misses the point entirely and is wasting the budget trying to get the place one step nearer becoming a university, for his personal prestige. Despite the fact this is not what it is intended to be and it is far more effective doing the job it was built for. Interfering politicians, Ministry of Education bureaucrats, political extremists, trendy teachers, ridiculous or grandiose "Mickey Mouse courses" and others who get in the way of the purpose of education are also mercilessly hammered.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: Very Juvenalian, the novel satirizes Imperialism: The Nautilus itself it’s a parody of The Empire - a Oddly Small Organization that manages to be a NGO Superpower, their members only consumes sea products and speak only their own language, but we never know any of them, nameless masses. The only one who matters is Captain Nemo (the Emperor), who claims a entire continent on his name and constantly crosses the Moral Event Horizon for no other reason because he can. The three prisoners personify the attitudes about The Empire of the conquered nations: Aronnax is the high class, who tries to get all the knowledge he can from the Empire, Counseil is the middle class, who passively accepts his loss of freedom as something inevitable and doesn’t want to make a decision without the approval of the high class, and Ned Land is the lower class who rebels constantly and uselessly. However, after seeing Nemo’s Kick the Dog moment with his Weapon of Mass Destruction, the three classes agree that Nemo’s empire is as bad as any other.
- The pornographic magazine Hustler uses satire to express Larry Flynt's beliefs and opinions. Almost always Juvenalian.
- The Dilbert comic strip is a satire of the corporate world. Mostly Horatian.
- Calvin and Hobbes contains a variety of satire. Most often Calvin himself acts as satire of narrow-minded self-centeredness of people or the shallow ethos of the consumer society, sometimes other things. His father's behaviour is often satire of certain kind of parental behaviour. Both of them sometimes offer satire of hobbies taken too seriously (bicycling for Dad and chewing gum for Calvin). And there's more.
- On his radio show, Howard Stern will satirize any number or things he doesn't care for, most notably the hypocrisies of Media Watchdogs.
- Absolute Power, a BBC radio series was a satire on spin-doctoring in modern politics, and media manipulation. The Sound to Screen Adaptation shifted its focus: still satirizing media manipulation, but more in the context of the nature of celebrity.
- Brian Gulliver's Travels is a six-part Setting Update of Gulliver's Travels on BBC Radio 4. It updates the satire to be about 21st century Britain, giving us, for example, Sham, the land of alternative therapies.
- The Simpsons is one huge satire of late 20th and early 21st century Western society.
- The more recent seasons of South Park usually use satire as their primary source of humor.
- Futurama frequently satirizes aspects of modern life, from our waste and consumerism, technological evolutions to our short-sightedness to relentless and irritating evangelists.