Understanding satire: What is satire?

Satire is the use of irony and sarcasm to point out flaws in society. In other words, you’re poking fun at someone or something in order to make a point. Satire has been used for centuries to safely critique society under the guise of humour. Even the ancient Romans used it.

Given this definition, much of what appears on The Daily Bonnet is not actually satire, as it isn’t necessarily making any point. Often times, the articles would more accurately fall under the category of parody, or humorous imitation.

Here’s an example of parody – Mennonites Excited for New Tolkien Prequel This article simply uses a play on words between the common Mennonite surname Hiebert and the Tolkien book/films The Hobbit. This is parody, not satire.

On the other hand, this article – Mennonite Church Signs Pastor to Massive 30-Year $1.2 Million Contract – is an example of satire, since it’s making a clear point about the small salaries that churches sometimes pay their pastors and also juxtaposes this with the massive salaries paid to professional athletes. The use of irony in the title (calling a modest salary “massive”) also suggests it is satire, not simply parody. Weird Al Yankovic is a master of parody and his songs are great examples to use when wanting to explore the difference between satire and parody.

Satire isn’t always funny. In fact, if people really “get” your point and you’re making a very serious point, they might not find it funny at all. The entire goal of parody, on the other hand, is to make people laugh.

Often times a writer will use a combination of both satire and parody, but strictly speaking, only writing that uses irony and sarcasm while offering some type of critique would be considered satire.

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