Introduction to Genre: Satire

School Shooter Thankfully Stopped Before Doing Enough Damage To Restart National Gun Debate.

Imagine seeing this headline anywhere. How do you initially react? What feelings take over you? What thoughts run through your mind? Horror? Disappointment? Anger? How about extrospection and reflection on the current state of guns in modern America? How about the school shooting epidemic that has plagued this country for far too long?

These questions are the aftershock of satire.

I took this headline from The Onion, a satirical online newspaper, when looking for examples of startling menippean satire. Obviously, the article isn’t actually thankful for the actions of school shooters and doesn’t truly believe that they were all “certainly glad that the shooter was only able to kill two students…before law enforcement arrived and prevented it from becoming a full-blown national dialogue.” Obviously, the article isn’t actually thankful that a similar shooting “at least didn’t occur in a school”, and that it “wasn’t quite enough…to cause…any protests or plunge the nation into another week of discussing what we should do.” 

Rather, this satire is meant to be an uncomfortably startling piece of dark humor that urges the reader to think–and think critically–about the topics it addresses. By making light of the horrific reality the US sees in shootings, the reader is forced to think about the lack of initiative our government has taken to alleviate gun policy, regardless of the lives lost. Sadly, this is mirrored in The Onion article.

The reason I am interested in writing satire for my Genre X is because it gives me the ability to address a serious issue in a light-hearted, sarcastic manner that takes people by surprise. Satire, a long-lasting type of social commentary, allows readers to see the reality of problems in society by masking it as dark comedy. Satire also brings readers in since it is a form of entertainment, but also hits home with real issues. I did some research on a website focused on literary terms to learn more about creating my own satire. 

The genre relies on these two pillars: 1) making fun of a person, idea, or institutions and 2) to entertain, but also to inform or make people think. Whether the piece is constructed as a The Onion article, or lyrics to a Weird Al Yankovic song, or political cartoons, these two goals are always accomplished. 

I think satire would be a great genre to fit in my origin piece, a discussion of the sexualization of Indian women in Bollywood film (based around my rhetorical analysis of a Bollywood music video). In my origin piece, I discuss how this video does not fit in with the standards that normal, everyday Indian women face. This perpetuates rape culture in India and the subordination of women. Growing up in America with an Indian heritage–somewhat being thrown between both cultures in my growth as a young woman–this topic is very personal to me. I think that exposing the unfortunate truths of media and society there through satire would be an extremely relatable and accessible way for my American peers to understand this situation. 

3 thoughts to “Introduction to Genre: Satire”

  1. Hi there!

    I also picked Satire so I was curious to see how your introduction would be different from mine. I liked how you explained the conventions of the piece at, as opposed to just stating them. I think it’s a really admirable way of approaching an admirable and depressingly intriguing topic. I think this is one super cool way of going about your experiment! Can’t wait to see what other genres you come up with! 🙂

  2. Hey Sunitha!
    I enjoyed hearing about your process of learning more about the genre satire. The opening sentence of your post caught my eye immediately—it made me want to continue reading, which definitely goes along with our opening class discussion today of “what makes something boring?” You kept me very interested! There are many articles that have excerpts like the shooting one that could be satires that would spark this same reaction.
    Before reading this introduction, I was always familiar with the satire genre, but you gave me great insight on the two pillars the satire genre relies on that I didn’t know before.
    I am excited to see how satire fits into your work of writing about the film of the sexualization of Indian women in Bollywood! 🙂

  3. This post made me appreciate satire in a way I haven’t before. I consume a lot of media that could be categorized as satire, and I don’t think much about the writers and their methodology putting together one of these pieces. It seems that there’s a really delicate balance to creating good satire, where it has to be pertinent and accurate but still funny and biting. I struggle a lot with this, so I’m eager to see how you deal with the challenges of writing in this genre, especially given your topic, which doesn’t seem conducive to satire at first glance.

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