Friday, June 13, 2014
The Value of Satire
Satire done well is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and Lark News plays it straight. The great thing about satire is that being quick to get the point makes readers look silly. I am used to The Onion, which is a satirical treatment of general news, and I sometimes figure that others will catch satire when they see it. However, Lark News is good enough that I have seen people get taken in by what they do, much like foreign newspapers mistake The Onion for real news. Satire does not call the reader to be quick enough to jump on a bandwagon but rather to be slow enough to watch where it is going. There might be a fine point to a bit of satire: “You’re right, but you’re doing it wrong!” There might be a grand and sweeping attack: “This whole thing is wrong! Get rid of it!” It is regularly shocking, demonstrating how the abuse of a good idea or the use of a bad idea becomes horrible and absurd. It shows rather than tells.I think he is right. It was the "Wittenberg Door" for my generation and I know I laughed my self silly, but there are two cauthionary notes to be sounded here.
Lark News forces Christians to reexamine issues that they might not otherwise consider. The articles that I have seen so far attack self-righteousness and legalism, the adoption of business methods into church practices, and unrealistic expectations put upon pastors.
Firstly, the satirist often talks on an air of superiority, like he/she is just a little bit smarter and better than anyone else in the room. That has an effect on both the satirist and the audience. The satirist may come to believe they actually are better. I think this pretty much defines a lot of left leaning people, where mocking substitutes for argument. Such an attitude is often born in good satire. This is not a tool to employ nor consume frequently lest it rot ones soul.
Secondly, satire tends to "form a club" of those who get it and those who do not. If we are called to invite all to Christ, consigning people to in or out of the club is not a really effective way to do so.
I like satire as much as the next guy. But we need to exercise care.