what is your problem with satire?It’s satire. Go on, laugh!

I don’t know how many comments, Tweets and Facebook comments I have received regarding a few of my blog posts, complaining about mistakes or errors I have made, when the commenters have completely missed my point.

I hate to be pointed here, but there are those, who seem to have next to a zero concept of the notion of satire, or irony.

Let me start here.

I wrote a blog post recently about grammatical errors, and the title was: Writters Who Should Of Done A Grammar Check

Now, in my mind, it was very clear that this title was satirical, ironic and tongue in cheek. But boy, you wouldn’t believe the number of comments I received, especially on Twitter, pointing out that there are grammatical errors in the title of my blog post.

Well, duh! It’s satire! I intentionally used ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’ to draw attention to a common lexical error made by far too many people. It’s ironic that some people missed this point completely.

Here’s one comment from someone who is clearly and seriously satire challenged.

Seriously? You post about grammar yet use “could of” which is grammatically incorrect?

Ok dear me. I believe this comment was from someone, who quite likely didn’t even bother to read the post because if they had, it would have been abundantly clear that the title was very intentionally satirical. Perhaps it is simply that some people, quite sarcastically and not ironically in my opinion, perhaps had their humour gland removed at birth.

I think we need a basis for discussion here, so let’s consult a dictionary.

satire |ˈsatʌɪə|
noun [ mass noun ]
the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. the crude satire seems to be directed at the fashionable protest singers of the time.
• [ count noun ] a play, novel, film, or other work which uses satire: a stinging satire on American politics.
• a genre of literature characterized by the use of satire. a number of articles on Elizabethan satire.
• [ count noun ] (in Latin literature) a literary miscellany, especially a poem ridiculing prevalent vices or follies.

irony 1 |ˈʌɪrəni|
noun (pl.ironies) [ mass noun ]
the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect: ‘Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,’ he rejoined with heavy irony.
• a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result: the irony is that I thought he could help me | [ count noun ] : one of life’s little ironies.
• (also dramatic or tragic irony)a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

I am not sure why it is that some people don’t get satire or irony. I mean, it’s really so easy! It’s just humour.

Let me give you a real example.

I had an RMI brain scan today, and the radiologist told me afterwards that he had found nothing. I was horribly disappointed!

True story too.

Oh boy. One language, but with such little understanding across linguistic and cultural borders. And just to be clear here, this last phrase was not ironic or satirical, but was, in fact, sarcastic, which is entirely different and is commonly seen as a low-brow form of wit. It was also a sigh of absolute and utter frustration. I may lose some friends and followers by posting this, but one can only take so much ignorance and stupidity without responding to it.

Like Spike Milligan, I would love my tombstone to read, ‘I told you I was sick!’

Yes, satire is seemingly only for those who have the capacity to understand that it exists and that it has a purpose. For the rest, sarcasm, the lowest form of wit, usually takes its place.

What Is The Problem With Satire?
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6 thoughts on “What Is The Problem With Satire?

  • 15/09/2015 at 9:10 am


    Satire- away, Derek Haines – satire, irony, dry humour, wit in all its forms makes the world go around!
    ‘Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically…’Nelson Mandela

    • 15/09/2015 at 10:10 am

      No problem, Ann. I’ll sharpen up the knives in my black humour toolbox. :)

  • 11/01/2016 at 5:35 pm

    When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anresw.

  • 26/07/2017 at 11:55 pm

    That’s very funny. But yes I can totally see that happening today. Only some people know what satire is.

  • 25/08/2017 at 5:59 am

    It is extra hard to be funny on a screen. Body language helps so much with satire and irony. But it can be done and the people who spend enough time to comment without spending enough time to read and then think about what they read, tend to be the norm these days. In the POT of S’s words “sad”.

  • 18/02/2018 at 7:58 am

    I don’t wish to generalise but I have spent a great deal of time in the US… I fell foul many times of their lack of understanding of sarcasm, irony or even quick wit… They take most things one says literally… Literally… Oh there’s a pet hate…

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