They Keep Saying Satire is Dead

I often consider myself to be a pro level Googler. If the information is out there on the interweb I can and will find it. For my repurposing assignment, I have chosen to turn an open letter from my English 225 class into a piece of satire. So, I took to my favorite search engine to explore the genre. I started out with something basic.

site:nytimes.com ~satire 2000..2014 gave me 70,000 results. None of them were useful.

site:newyorker.com ~satire 2000..2014 gave me 1,640 results. None of them were particularly useful.

I even tried to find academic articles about satire in the Michigan Library databases. Nothing was particularly useful.

Rather, I continued to see the phrase “satire is dead” scattered throughout my search results. No combination of searches would give me any insight as to the anatomy of writing a satirical piece. Desperate for the slightest bit of direction in constructing a satirical argument, I took a stab at emailing the editorial staff of The Onion (I was told that a quippy subject line might get me a response, I can only hope mine was quippy enough). While waiting for a response, I decided that watching Jon Stewart, South Park, and reading any pieces of satire would have to help me channel my sarcastic libido into something usable for my assignment.

This is how South Park gets away with all the crap they do. I do not own this image, it belongs to the creators of South Park.
This is how South Park gets away with all the crap they do. I wish I could be as crude as they are when writing my paper. I do not own this image, it belongs to the creators of South Park.

All that I have been able to learn about satire thus far is this: satirists are basically like Lindsay Lohan in that one good movie she was in, Mean Girls. They’re extremely popular, but nobody knows exactly why. The satirist elite have no problem sharing their work, but none of them want to devalue their form by telling people how they can achieve the same level of lovable hilarity.

Satire is not dead, but I do see why people may think that it is. Satirists are those pesky little arrogant-mean-spirited-self-centered-condescending-self-promoting-argumentative wankers that have mastered an art, but don’t want to show how they go about doing it.

On that note, I basically have two weeks to figure out how to write satire. My optimism is waning.

This image belongs to someecards.com