Introduction to Satire

Being raised in a family of self-identified comedians, one of the phrases I heard growing up was “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” The idea that one should take a comedic approach to life’s darkest moments is one that I’ve carried with me all my life. There’s something about the shock value of approaching a difficult subject with humor and honesty that can make the most specific topic relatable and really make people laugh. So when I was contemplating how to approach writing about a past relationship, it only seemed natural to approach the more painful details using satire.
Satirical essays tend to be brief and to the point, with detailed headlines that encompass the writer’s point. While topics range from global events to everyday experiences, the general premise of satirical writing is fairly uniform — a commentary on a subject, often made by exaggerating and making fun of it. According to satire writer Alex Baia, the most important aspect of satirical writing is a strong point of view. Writers use extreme specifics to differentiate their writing while making clear their overall point.
Satire serves as a way to extend self-deprecating humor to our entire society. By making fun of ourselves and the situations we end up in, whether it’s a toxic relationship or the leadership of a bigoted president, satire helps us cope with the harsh realities of today’s world. With websites like The Onion and The Hard Times accumulating staggering social media presences, it seems that everyone is looking for a piece of comic relief these days.
Satire can also serve as a reminder that we’re not alone by speaking to shared experiences among certain groups. After finding out my roommate went through a relationship and breakup almost identical to mine, I started sending her headlines and memes that fit our situation so we could laugh together at our shared relief and horror of what we had gone through. Just last night, Reductress, a feminist satire website, reposted an article on their Instagram entitled “Man Who Brought Immeasurable Amounts of Pain To Your Life Wants To Be Friends Again.” I was both surprised and comforted to see a headline that encompassed exactly what I had planned on writing about. The article, written in the second person, places the reader directly into the situation, thus maximizing its relatability. The writing is concise, detailed, and full of quotes that sound all too realistic. The article made me laugh, but it also made me feel validated, realizing one of my most personal experiences was actually not as unique as I thought. Posted just 20 hours ago, the photo of the article’s headline already has nearly 45,000 likes and over 1,000 comments, serving as a reminder that maybe I’m not so alone after all.

Screenshot of the Reductress Instagram post as of 9/24/19

4 thoughts to “Introduction to Satire”

  1. I love your personal connection to this topic and it seems like you have a good idea of where your project is going! I’d be interested to know if you’re planning on going more general or specific with your satire. Are you going to use all the details from your relationship, or fictionalize them a little? I love the idea of laughing through the pain though, I think it’s a really interesting way to explore your original piece.

  2. I really enjoyed your exploration of satire as a coping mechanism. I think that often times it gets viewed as sole a way to bring attention to an issue or to make fun of it, but there is a positive side to satirical writing that can be overlooked. It sounds like you’re already planning on doing this, but I definitely urge you to lean more an experimentation of satire that is not only exaggerative and funny, but is relatable and could help the reader much in the way that it sounds like you’ve found pieces that help you.

  3. I think it’s really cool and ironic that just last night you came across a satire that fit the exact theme of what you are planning to write about. I am very excited about this idea as I think that it will be interesting to see a more serious, sad conflict turn into a comical story. I think it could be helpful to you if you took the time to explore sites such as Buzzfeed or articles from magazines like Cosmo about this topic because I can recall reading various comical posts about this topic on these platforms and I think they could serve as an inspiration to you!

  4. I know you mentioned feeling that you mostly talked about yourself in this post, but I think that it was a smart choice and came through really well. I especially liked how you mentioned the fact that satire is a broader form of self deprecating humor, since this isn’t something I normally think of when the genre is mentioned, but completely makes sense.

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