The Purpose of Satire

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A good friend asked me, “Why is that satire is good medicine?” Having found the experience of writing Ringing True to be very good medicine thanks to the opportunity to satirize some of the many peculiarities of modern American life, I had a quick response:

“We spend most of our waking lives wearing facades of varying thicknesses, so when satire pierces through the layers of junk, it liberates the spirit. Satire also validates what we think inside but are either afraid to say or are unable to find the words to express those thoughts.”

How many times have you thought that something or someone was loony, silly or pompous but because others were fawning over that individual you thought you must be the one out of touch with reality? How many times have you gone to see the movie everyone is raving about and when you saw it, privately thought to yourself that the world had gone insane?

When someone makes something overrated the object of satire, we explode in a release of validating laughter. It’s like someone telling us, “No, you’re not nuts—you’re okay!”

I think we all wish we had the courage of the girl who correctly pointed out that the emperor had no clothes.

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