Friday, October 25, 2013

Ills of Society

Though in modern context satire is just humor, it provides a vessel for people to expose the ills of society without little to no retaliation from the target.  Since humans have varying degrees of intelligence and humour not everyone in society sees what the satirist is trying to expose especially the people who are or have brought the ill upon society. To the people who caused the ill or who are the ill, the satirist seems extremely empathic to their cause but in truth the satirist is mocking them. Therefore most of society sees that the satirist is pointing out a flaw that needs to be remedied and the cause(s) of the flaw, who are the ones most likely to retaliate, do not see that the satirist just put a target on their back(s). That is why satire is used throughout history and use so much today to expose the ills of society.

Satire is very effective because it usually goes over the heads of the people the satirist is insulting. ".... recommend... dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs."(Swift 4). In this passage Swift is suggesting to roast and prepare infants the same as if someone was roasting a pig. Of course the audience would be quite horrified that he is suggesting that they should roast and eat babies as they do pigs. Yet the audience most likely doesn't know that Swift is writing this proposal from a aristocratic standpoint. So as the aristocratic of Ireland and England read this over the tea and crumpets, they most likely think that Swift is a sick, not exactly stable man. Yet Swift is making fun of them for treating the poor no better than pigs and the only thing left in the way of them being equal to pigs is being roasted and eaten. Even though the aristocracy may be mad at him for proposing such a thing but they will not come for his head on a platter because he said that they were no better than baby eaters. "I have been a an American... a young child... a most nourishing and wholesome food..."(Swift 3). Though is seems as if Americans were Swift target in this passage, they are not. Again it is the aristocracy for having such a low view of Americans, as far of the aristocracy of England is concerned Americans are nothing more than savages. Even though most of the Americans immigrated from England not that long ago. The aristocracy thinks that Swift finally provided the evidence they needed to prove just how vile Americans were, they just didn't know how far off mark they were. Satire is quite great at going over the targets' heads yet still getting the rest of society to realize the ill.

Satire connects and stays with society because it's funny. If satire wasn't funny then it would just be a person complaining about what is wrong with the world but it is, therefore people pay attention. On Saturday Night Live they did a skit were they were poking fun at all the rich americans complaining about the new iPhone. They did this by having "factory workers" from the Apple plant in China and comparing the problems they have to deal with to the "first world problems" that the whiny Americans have to deal with (SNL). It was funny because the factory workers were making fun of the first world problems that the americans had to deal with all the while the americans just sat there looking embarrassed and awkward. Even though it did revel the deeper problem that Americans' electronics are made by people who are practically slaves, while they complain about how their iPhones' picture have a weird lighting to them. People will remember that skit because it was funny and may show it to a friend because it is funny. That friend that they showed it to might get the deeper meaning and might do something to change it even if the first person was blissfully unaware there was such a thing as a deeper meaning. This is part of the reason why satire is so effective is because it is humorous people enjoy watching it. If there was just some guy on the tele that was just listing everything wrong with society then most people would hate him because he's boring. Yet with satire people laugh and share it with their friends therefore helping the idea of what the satirist thinks is wrong with society spread. Satire is like a coconut, the hard shell is the humour which is what everyone thinks a coconut is just a hard shell but inside is the seed, the idea. People have to get past the humour to get to the idea about society. Satire is extremely effective because it disguise itself as humour even though it taking a swing at society.

Though it is good because satire goes over the heads of the people it is targeting it is also a problem because it goes over the heads of a lot of people in society too. Like in Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks, though it is trying to expose the outrage spending by governments on trying to outdo one another, most people just think that it's stupid. The reason being that a government would never spend 200 billion pounds on a ministry that's sole purpose to develop and preserve silly walks. The people who view satire and think that are not necessarily wrong but they do not see the forest through the trees heck they don't even see the trees. More like they can't see the forest through the trees through the leafs.  In other words people focus more on what things and people are literally saying than what they could or couldn't be saying. Which is why sometimes satire fails because people think very literally and satire is decently deep. So even though satire is a great tool for exposing the ills of society people have to be aware of who their audience is and what their satire is literally saying.

Satire is a wonderful at showing society its ills. Even though sometime is may go over people's heads it's a great way for common people to voice their concerns about other people in society without getting beheaded (literally and metaphorically). Without satire there wouldn't be as many laughs or as many changes in society. This is why satire has and will still make a big impact on society.