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22 September 2015 @ 12:37 pm
Satire, What Am It?  
This weekend, my son said that he didn't think people always recognized satire (they don't), because there's this amateur rap group they're taking much too seriously.

Well, it turns out that he was really talking about himself there. The first thing out of my mouth was, "Is it those boys you showed me a year ago, with that dead-eyed 'Mike' kid?"

Yes—"Money-Maker Mike," the sidekick, and his snot-nosed vague-faced pal. I mean, I would hope this is satire. It looks like it was filmed in someone's bedroom, and has all the overly serious posturing that only middle-schoolers would cling to.

Apparently, it was only this recent one (dunking on a 7-foot basket) that finally clued my son in.

As much as he loves The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Monthy Python, The Simpsons, Futurama, and satire in general, you'd think this would have occurred to him earlier.

Satire—always subversive, especially when you least expect it.

Now I'm mourning the end of The Colbert Report all over again. :(

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kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre: nick laughbleodswean on September 22nd, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
Heh. This is amusing. I think folks recognize satire when it's satirizing something they already feel is ridiculous...but when the satire is directed at something they hold to be Important or Serious it can take a while. I found this to be true when the South African rap group Die Antwood hit the scene. It was so obviously performance art but no one was getting that!

I think this is a "growth" moment for your son!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on September 22nd, 2015 09:03 pm (UTC)
:D I think you're right-- rap is almost all shades of "ugh" to me, so it's harder for me to tell "good" vs. lesser rap. Whereas, he really likes it. But those kids? Come on!

I have noticed that there were a number of people who were interviewed on the Colbert Report or The Daily Show, and who did not seem to realize that some of the questions were deliberately ridiculous. As in, how could they miss something so blatant? And yet... it flew right past them, because all of their (sometimes whackadoodle) opinions were srs bizness to them. :D
Direst Ryl: A Mermaidryl on September 22nd, 2015 09:27 pm (UTC)
I have noticed that there were a number of people who were interviewed on the Colbert Report or The Daily Show, and who did not seem to realize that some of the questions were deliberately ridiculous.
Those are the best interviews. There was one on The Daily Show where they interviewed a North Carolinian who had done something ridiculous that ended up on the national news and the guy just did not get that it wasn't a serious news show talking to him. Hi-larious. (I wish I could remember what it was about. Something about racism I think.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on September 22nd, 2015 11:58 pm (UTC)
Some of my favorites too. :D

Someone gave us the DVD set of the 2008 election coverage, which included an interview with Al Sharpton in which he totally did not get that any of it was humor. And was it ever bizarre. :O

riverotter1951riverotter1951 on September 23rd, 2015 02:18 pm (UTC)
Satire is hard for me to recognize. I think bleidswean has made a valid point.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on September 23rd, 2015 03:19 pm (UTC)
Yes, could be-- when it involves something you believe in, it may be hard to see just how extreme someone has made it. I mean, maybe they're just really excited or vehement about it!

Or they're pushing it beyong its logical extreme to the point where it's ridiculous. :O
Port: cool brotherdesertport on September 24th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC)
I found in teaching that irony is HARD for kids, possibly up to the early twenties. I had to do a ton of irony-as-a-literary-device scaffolding when teaching A Modest Proposal, and often students still couldn't quite grok to it, even when we came across it in more modern readings. I read somewhere that it's a cognitive development thing.

That said, growing up, my family's humor and communication style often relied on irony and overstatement. We all understand each other fine, but I've had to work to modify my use of irony so as not to be misunderstood by a lot of other people. It's especially been a challenge in PDX, actually. People just don't seem to talk like that here.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on September 24th, 2015 05:48 pm (UTC)
My dad was very big on irony, so we had a lot of experience with it at home (though I don't think it suits my mother's sense of humor much-- she's more literal-minded, so absurdity works better for her).

Geez, I grew up in the PDX area as well as Eugene. Though I think my sense of humor was always considered kind of weird. Maybe that's one of the reasons why!
Portdesertport on September 27th, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
Maybe that's one of the reasons why!

Might be! I was wondering what your take on it might be, since you're also from here. I've moved around a bit, but it's possible PDX has been the biggest culture shock. I still can't quite put my finger on why, though. Everyone's perfectly normal and nice, just... I don't always feel like I'm on the same wavelength somehow.