Monday, April 23, 2007

Satire is in the dictionary


BUT for anyone who doesn't feel like cracking open the book and parsing through, in short it boils down to this: Satire is a work of authorship that uses irony or sarcasm to expose folly.

I think that by nature satire has an edge. It's not all warm and fuzzy. It is pointed opinion, bathed in irony and, if the reader is lucky, wit. It works to get the reader thinking. It is risk-taking, in that it does not necessarily win pats on the back and "Thanks for your support".

A satirist is the opposite of a sycophant (a self-serving flatterer).

Another word of which you might consider the meaning: Bully. A bully is one who browbeats. Browbeating is indimidation by stern manner or arrogant speech.

Let's put these words into use, shall we?

Let's say I am walking down the street, and an attractive, well-dressed person comes up to me and asks me if I can spare a few bucks for her college education. I will think about it for a moment, and on a certain type of day, in a certain frame, of mind, I might reward her industriousness with a 10-dollar bill. On most days, I am more likely to simply smile and move on without dipping into my pocket. I might even consider said attractive, well-dressed person's plea for money to have been a clever joke. On SOME days, especially if I am feeling light and creative, I might laugh turn to my walking companion and say, "Hey, that sounds like a good idea, maybe I should set up camp on one of these street corners and ask for money for Botox, the world would, after all be a better place, if it didn't have to endure my thinking lines above my eyebrows."

That, my friends, is satire. It is the use of irony to point up a folly.

If it is in earshot of the attractive, well-dressed, education-seeking person, then there is a sharper edge to it. Still, it is satire. In fact, as I think about it, I realize that there is a chance that I might even turn to the the attractive, well-dressed, education-seeking person and tell her my idea, maybe to get a laugh, maybe to get a dialogue going, maybe just because the whole notion of the slippery slope of asking for money for onesself (which is NOT the definition of charity, which is defined as benevolent donation to benefit others) is interesting and filled with potential missteps. Pointing out a folly, you know, and all that. Satire.

So far, so good.

Now, let's change it up a bit. Let's add to that, a tall, scary person (I'm short, remember), who is waiting off to the side of the attractive, well-dressed, education-seeking person. When she hears my satire, she leaps out, grabs me by the throat and says, "What the fuck is wrong with you? Can't you see that she needs to go to college and that she deserves it, and you, you small-minded litle shit are too stuck in your own little meaningless, petty bubble to see that. Give her the fucking money, you moronic, non-yogic little bitch, or else doom yourself to a life of never thinking outside the box and basically being a selfish little pig."

By now, I am scared. And shocked. And quite a bit outraged. The only thing keeping this assualt from becoming a full-on mugging is that tall, scary person has not reached into my pocket and stolen my wallet. Instead, I see it as more of a a shakedown. Or maybe what Scientologists do - threaten you with eternal something or other if you don't donate to their Celebrity Center.

So, if I were to come home from this failure of an interaction, and tell people about it, even write about it here, would that be wrong?

Do I need to define "Blog" at this point? Ah, JFGI.

YC




9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: I'll start an Ashtanga Dream Come True charity to send ashtangis on trips to India;
but in my version, only the youngest, healthiest, and most flexible will be eligible since they are the most deserving.
Or, in the spirit of the New York Times Neediest Cases charity, how about an Ashtanga's Neediest Cases charity? The first recipient would be a healthy, fit young woman who lives at the beach in one of the most beautiful spots on earth, and who gets to practice every day with one of the most legendary senior yoga teachers in the world. Who could need ashtanga assistance more?

Tiff said...

Hmm...Well, I'm not saying I'm more fit than someone else to receive charity, I was just bold enough to ask.

JUST because I live at the beach doesn't mean I'm rich. I happened to find a rare place at a super cheap price.

Lauren, I'm disappointed that you so publicly wanted to make an issue out of this. Using me as another scapegoat to try and come out on top. I thought better of you, well, maybe not after everything that happened with Linda. Sure, you might not agree with what I'm doing - but I'm not sure what you would do if you were in my position in my life. I know people might argue that I really don't need to go to India b/c I have Tim here - but that doesn't change the fact, that I'm still practicing in a culture where money and appearance matters most.

I want to go to India to experience ashtanga and the true culture of the practice for everything it is, w/o all the distractions.

Isaac Bickerstaff said...

Are we talking Horatian or Juvenalian

"YC" said...

Tiff, I am sorry I hurt your feelings. I did not write the satire to hurt you. I am sorry that it did hurt you.

Tiff said...

Oh and anon, who's to say I'm that healthy anyway...

laksmi said...

You say it's satire, you say it's in fun, but the comments and further posts on your blog, yc, indicate that you are enjoying this, I believe you call it, 'snarking'. Please put this one to bed and just don't worry about whether people help Tiff get to India or not

"YC" said...

Thanks, Laksmi for the sage advice. Tiff and I are solid though, so your defending her is not at all necessary. Mind your own house, woman.

Julie said...

Mhmm... my comment didn't go through... Tiff: Healthy? You eat those gummy things ;) (you know I'm kidding)

But I did want to comment on your comment:

"I know people might argue that I really don't need to go to India b/c I have Tim here - but that doesn't change the fact, that I'm still practicing in a culture where money and appearance matters most."

The culture, whether money and appearance matters most, is what you make of it. If it matters to you, it matters, if it doesn't, it simply doesn't.

You'll go to India when/if/how you want to whether it's via the help of strangers, your friends, your parents, yourself... but don't go to India thinking you'll escape human nature... or, most importantly, your own :)

laksmi said...

I just don't get YOU of all people telling ME to mind my own house, when you are all in everybody's business all the time! You've got serious teflon, and hey, it doesn't really look like you and tiff are 'solid', man.

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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