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Satire is a literary talent that is used to draw attention to societal evils in order to raise public consciousness and advocate for reform. The profession employs graphics and the design of cartoons that resemble the targeted members of society. Satire employs humor in the delivery of material, but its primary purpose is to attract people's attention to the negative practices prevalent in society. Satire is exclusive to a particular place. People from different parts of the world can struggle to understand satire from another part of the world. The difficulty arises when artists who make humor apply it to their immediate surroundings and current events. Most of them pick topics from the mainstream media and use the issues to create the topics. Therefore, satire is important in correcting people in the society and as a source of entertainment.
Celebrities use satire to influence the people towards specific information. At times, many people concentrate on the humor in the satire and overlook the intended message. Such instances alter the primary function of the artistic expressions. As much as satire contains humor, the important point is the message contained in the presentation. Satire influences public opinion by exposing the people to the issues in the environment. At times, many people find mainstream media as boring. However, the same people would spend a considerable amount of time viewing celebrity parodies and sit-comedies listening to the same news. The ability of satire to attract and maintain the attention of the people makes it a huge influence on public opinion. Therefore, satire is an informative work of literature with the ability to entertain and influence the public towards positive changes in societal norms.
Satire in American Media
In literature, various stylistic devices assist an artist in delivering the intended message to an audience. In the contemporary art, artists use satire in performing arts as a tool that exposes and shames individuals whose actions are not ethical in the society. The fundamental purpose of this genre of literature is trying to improve the community by ensuring that the responsible people desist from their negative vices. Satire uses humor and sarcasm in plays and television shows. In the recent past, satire is visible on the internet memes and commentary as a symbolic transformation of the works of literature. In the United States, the media uses irony in informing the public on important issues in the contemporary society. The public forms an opinion from the satirical presentation which is harder to forget as compared to other methods of presentation.
History and Evolution of Satire
Satire became useful in the western states in the 16th century. The scholars printed books and manuscripts which targeted corrupt people in the society. As time advanced, the rise in technology presented more favorable media in which satire would be easier to communicate. Artists moved from satirical stories to poems and plays. In each of the evolving scenes, satire aimed to expose the wrong in the society as well as creating an attractive angle to the practice. Satire evolved to parodies and stand-up comedies which attracted high numbers of people from the entertainment (Morreall, 2011). Television shows and plays became the leading media in the delivery of satire. Currently, social media is the best platform for the practice. Social media enjoys a wide variety of users making it the best target for communication using the stylistic device. Currently, the artists are many unlike in the past where only a few people could undertake the challenge. The significant evolution revolves around the method of message delivery and the medium of use.
Satire in the Media and Culture
The primary function of the media is the passage of information. The whole country depends on the press to inform them about the events around the country. However, various types of media employ different tactics in the passage of information to the intended group. Satire is present in the press especially in cartoons which target the small children. Journalist incorporates humor in the programs as a way of ensuring the audience pays close attention. The informative part in the media is behind the entertaining presentation. Therefore, the journalists in the United States apply satire in the media to draw the attention of the population in getting the message as presented. Some of the information submitted through satirical programs would be boring in a standard manner. The humorous aspect of the news ensures higher audience and greater viewership in the country (Morreall, 2011).
Understanding the satire in the media requires a better comprehension of the society closely (Horton, 2005). An individual from another part of the world might consider a satirical show like South Park like a violent cartoon show. However, the characters in the show try to emulate various practices in the society such as the sluggish language used by young people in the community. The satirical expressions in the media are important in pointing out the character of people in the society. However, various shows tend to be important in a particular time. As time passes, the contemporary issues in the social change. Therefore, the satirical shows become irrelevant during the changing times. For the media to present a relevant satirical show, it must be up to date for relevance. Therefore, satire is critical in pointing out the annoying characters in the society at the opportune time (Bruns, Enli, Skogerbo, Larsson, & Christensen, 2016).
One advantage of satire in the media is the ability to point out issues that the journalists would refrain from pointing out. Many writers concentrate on the evils in other countries forgetting the immediate societies. The satirists play the part of pointing out the characters of people in the immediate environment. Satirical shows in the media ensure that the community understands that not all the things that seem right are necessarily good. Satirists question the beliefs of people in the society as well as the cultural practices. Therefore, satirical shows in the United States remain relevant to the population in the United States. The attention of satire is in the local community where the satirists gather the information to pass on the shows. Satire in the media is useful in pointing out negative attributes and pushing towards rectification of the vice.
Satire in the media goes further than discussing the mere words of the politicians. The satirical shows question the actions of the politicians and relate them to their actions. In plain terms, satire goes beyond the standard journalism towards the actions the journalists fear to do. Most television stations fear the politicians making them measure what they say or question about them (Bruns et al., 2016). The satire in politics is a measure of the free society in the country and one that asks what the people want to know. Satirical shows do not bias on all sectors of the society. Despite airing satirical shows in the media, the shows do not shy from criticizing the journalists as well as the media houses in equal measure. Satire criticizes all people in the society creating a stable ground with no exclusion.
Satire is critical in the passage of message. In the United States, people understand the use of satire in programs such as cartoons. When people are viewing the programs, the words tend to motivate the audience into understanding the message portrayed by the satire. Due to the unusual and humorous nature, the shows draw attention from the public. The interest generated by the shows makes it easier for the media to pass the intended message with ease. Therefore, it is swift for the media to use satire in the passage of information due to the ability to draw attention from the audience (Horton, 2005). The American media finds the usage of the tool of literature in the delivery of the intended message and a faster spreading of the same. It is possible for the media to use satire in sensitizing the public, which is a form of message delivery.
The United States is a country with diverse people. Many immigrants in the country bear divergent cultural backgrounds. Over the years, the diversity of the country continues growing. Satire in a state that has cultural diversity might not deliver the correct message to the people (Ray, 2009). For a practice that is acceptable in one culture might not be acceptable in another. Therefore, the satirists might criticize a practice based on their cultural backgrounds and understanding which might be misleading. Satire in culture seeks to point out cultural practices that diverge from the right practices and adopt the wrong ones. Besides, satire should give close to those people whose affliction originates from people within the society. Criticism based on culture in the United States might not serve the intended purpose (Wheeler, 2015).
The criticism will aim at rectifying cultural practices which the people consider as the right way of life. Therefore, satire, in this case, will divert from the primary role of positive criticism. Satire in culture applies to people from the same cultural backgrounds. For them, it will be easier to understand the exact content of the criticism and relate to the deviation in the society. In a big measure, satire applies to small groups of people who are in a position to relate to the message in the satirical explanation. Satire in the culture of the people should ensure positive criticism towards empowerment of the marginalized groups and reduction of cases such as harassment and ridicule from the other groups. Such instances will reflect an example of upholding the values of the society serving the purpose of satire in the United States.
Satire in a culture addresses taboo issues within the culture. Taboo issues are those that go against the national values embedded in the Constitution. Satirists assist in such times by pointing out the issue and placing the moral responsibility of solving the crisis on the people (Wheeler, 2015). In a culture with political matters such as abuse of power, the satirists point out the problem and leave the individual responsible for the sole liability of making the necessary changes. Therefore, satire is not enough in making the society upright morally. Satire offers the first step by pointing out the issue. It is the duty of the population to decide the next course of action concerning the information delivered. However, it is worth noting that satire exists in a society with strong foundations of democracy such as the United States. A democracy that allows the people to point out issues without fear as enshrined in the Constitution under the freedom of speech (Ray, 2009).
In addition to television shows, satirists use the social media to spread satire. Social media is accessible to a majority of the population. The availability of cellular devices with the capacity to access the internet at any time and from any location makes it easier for many people to see the satirical impressions and clips. It is becoming a culture in the country for satirists to break down the news provided by the media and create parodies from them. The approach of using the mainstream media ensures the satire is relevant to the current events in the country. In as much as the program has a primary role of being informative, many people consider it as a source of entertainment. The satire fails to generate any debate from the population leaving the contentious issues unresolved.
Satire that causes a discussion that leads to the betterment of the society is the most effective. Satire mocks the sad state of the country from every aspect such as politics, comedy, and ethical society. However, the inexistence of a sad state of affairs would not require any satirical mockery from the artists. A community that deviates from the cultural norms gives the artists a topic to address through the genre of literature. The citizens of the country should look beyond the entertainment aspect of the vice and pay more attention to the intended message. Celebrities that promote satire seem to have a huge effect on the population. People view them as knowledgeable and funny due to the creativity shown in the programs. Young people idolize the celebrities and pay more attention to the messages they pass (Dorling, 2015). However, most do not look beyond the entertainment aspect and fail to grasp the intended message.
In politics, the artists adopt new characters which stand in for the politicians in the country. Using the approved figures, it is easier artists to point out any negative attribute of the politician without direct reference to him/her. The cartoons resemble the characters and deliver the intended messages. Political satires began as early as the world war I. Imitation of the politicians and exaggeration of their outstanding attributes fueled the use of satire, especially from the political angle. The satire influences changes in the behavior of the politicians as well as stopping them from engaging in unusual behaviors. The criticism, when understood clearly, improves the society and develops a culture of a conscious mind in the population. In such as society, corruption and negative ethnicity do not get a chance in the community because the satire artists always focus on such as the subject of their messages (Kumagai, Lopez-Sánchez, & Wu, 2016).
The Influence of Satire
Political satire forms a significant part of the public opinion (Dagnes, 2012). Most of the satirical programs have a clear signal on which politicians the cartoons are imitating. As such the politicians become weary of the mess that the program might cause on their reputation and make positive changes. Most politicians grow weary of the programs and try to ensure that their characters do not fit into the program. The satire in the political arena has a higher chance of rectifying a negative issue as a way of maintaining the public image which is a very critical part of politics. In as much as the population enjoys the humor in the presentation, the politicians dread of having a negative image due to the programs. The viewership of the programs is very high, and a negative image might be detrimental to the future of the politician in the political arena.
Satire is informative and educational to the population depending on the age of the viewership (Kumagai et al., 2016). The young population does not have the mental capacity to comprehend the message behind the humor. The bigger part of the attention of the young people lies on the humor. Therefore, they miss the important message passed by the satire. Most of the young generation does not understand the unethical behaviors that satire tries to expose. Therefore, the influence on their attention is small. As for the older generation, most of them learn a lot of things in the fields of politics, football, and comedy. For them, it becomes easier to pay attention and grasp one or two lessons as intended by the artists. The understanding of satire depends on the age of the viewership and the specific fields that the artists target for the audience (Dagnes, 2012).
Sit comedies are very informative to the population. Issues addressed by the artists using satire tend to remain in the minds of the people for a long time. As the issue generates debate, it draws attention from various quarters necessitating immediate change. The humorous parts attract the interests of the people, and in the process, they end up understanding the message passed by the artists. In such cases, the satire becomes helpful in educating the people and informing them of the contemporary issues in the society. When an issue generates higher attention, it becomes easier for the public to push for the desired outcomes. A public outcry caused by satire goes a long way in delivering positive results in a democratic country like the United States. In such cases, satire performs the intended duty in educating the public and drawing attention towards undesirable vices in the society (Dorling, 2015).
Celebrities that present satirical shows and discussions command a lot of respect from the population. The young generation grows up viewing the satirical artists in television such as those in sit-comedy. The admiration of the young people to the artists grows, and the artists become a significant influence in their lives. During the satire shows, the young people pay close attention to the artists and believe the messages passed along by the artists. As the influence grows, the satire becomes more manipulative to the public opinion. The current generation understands the messages delivered by the satirical shows and the public opinion on the same is massive. When the celebrities offer their views on an issue of national importance, it becomes easier for the population to side with the celebrity due to the influence on the society.
Satire covers aspects of life that the generation prioritizes. For example, the irony is common in the politics of the country, football and the lives of the celebrities. The approach to satire ensures an easier capturing of the mind of the audience for more natural control. Therefore, satire is instrumental to the direction that the country takes especially on politics and influence by the celebrities. However, in cultural approach, the effect of satire is minimal. The population tends to believe in the superiority of one culture to another. Therefore, addressing an issue based on culture tends to find less support from the public. In such cases, the public pays more attention to the humor and overlook the message delivered. Therefore, it becomes hard for the people to change and adopt a healthy cultural practice based on the satirical shows in the media.
Satirical shows are on the increase in the United States media. The shows use satire in the identification of vices in the society that the population does not find ethical. Such practices include corruption and negative ethnicity. The satirical shows use cartoons and other images to pass the message to the people without mentioning the direct names of the people with the harmful vice. As such, they go a step further as compared to the media which has ethical duties that limit them from such shows. The messages combine with humor and mockery of the undesirable situation in the society to draw the attention of the population. The effectiveness of satire lies in the ability of the audience to see beyond the humor to understand the intended message from the artist. A successful satire is one that triggers debate on a topic and leads to a positive change from the vice. Good satire is informative to the population and promotes desirable practices from the people in the society especially those in leadership. Satire, when presented to the correct audience, has the power to influence public opinion. Hence, the media should capitalize on satire.
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Bruns, A., Enli, G., Skogerbo, E., Larsson, A. & Christensen, C. (2016). The Routledge companion to social media and politics. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
Dagnes, A. (2012). A conservative walks into a bar: The politics of political humor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dorling, D. (2015). Injustice: Why social inequality persists. Bristol Portland, OR: Policy Press.
Horton, A. (2005). Inside Soviet film satire: Laughter with a lash. Cambridge England New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
Kumagai, Y., Lopez-Sánchez, A. & Wu, S. (2016). Multiliteracies in world language education. New York London: Routledge.
Morreall, J. (2011). Comic relief: A comprehensive philosophy of humor. Somerset: Wiley.
Ray, G. (2009). Language and interracial communication in the United States: Speaking in black and white. New York: Peter Lang.
Wheeler, D. (2015). Coriolanus: Critical essays. London: Routledge.
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