Satire, Satire Everywhere
I really appreciated Wyatt Mason's essay My Satirical Self
in the New York Times Magazine
. In his essay, he contrasts the political activism of his father with his ‘taking shelter in the ridiculous.' Instead of reading editorials and putting together reasoned arguments to support his views, the author prefers reading the Onion
and watching the Daily Show. The author argues that this isn't bad in itself; there is something powerful about well pointed satire. But, the author also argues that satire has become almost ubiquitous in our culture. In a world where everyone–including the President (the final section of the essay offers a powerful example of this)–is satirical, how is criticism and social critique possible? I see this as a real problem, because I don't believe robust social criticism is a possibility if one takes shelter in the ridiculous. To close, I wonder: If we see this as a problem, then how can educators draw themselves and their students out of this shelter?