Satire: Who needs it?

Describing Satire can be a difficult thing if you don’t know what you are looking for. But an easy definition of Satire is “A form of literary criticism: that uses irony, sarcasm, etc.” I am going to be showing an example of a film titled “Isn’t it Romantic,” which came out 4 years ago, in 2019. It is about a New York architect who wants to get noticed at her job but things go bad when she gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and magically wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Now that sounds like a regular made-up movie. But this film has satire because it overly exaggerates how love is not a fairytale, and how things don’t magically happen when two people fall. And because our main character is always cynical about love this alternate universe is basically her worst nightmare when she finds out that is based on the idea of how Romance is.

Based on this trailer for the movie, we can tell why our main character Natalie is against movies that portray romance, like a well like a movie. And Natalie just like us has seen Rom-Coms like 13 going on 30, Pretty Woman, The Proposal, and every Disney princess movie. But in real life, we know that love is nothing like that: Easy. People have real problems in life and have no time for love or relationships. And so what this film is explaining, is how it mocks the cliches of every romantic comedy movie. This can make the film funny, but what it really focuses on is the irony of the genre.

Satire can be shown in the first beginning of the movie when Natalie is young, and her mother is explaining to her how “love is not a fairytale, there are no happy endings.” Which is the very opposite of how romance in movies.

Even 25 years later, Natalie’s mom’s words are still in her head, and she ends up believing what her mom says. Making herself blind towards any type of love. And even Natalie’s assistant Whitney, who is really into romantic comedies, doesn’t share the same views of love works. And Natalie wanted to share her views, by saying to Whitney that all romcoms are the same. The boy meets the girl and they end up together forever. Which is basically true. Natalie’s whole personality is being against love, creating her own satire.

Although we as people feel that Satire, is basically Comedy, it’s not because it helps us understand what comedy is. What it does and how it makes us react. And I feel that this movie gives us that art of love being ridiculous when it’s portrayed in movies. The idea of what we think it should be is what some people based it on. And sometimes it can discredit its object, but while being funny.

“I’m a cheerleader! I’m not like all of you!”- The Satirical Phosphorescence of But I’m a Cheerleader

Jamie Babbit’s 1999 film But I’m a Cheerleader follows high school cheerleader Megan as she gets sent to a conversion therapy camp. Her family and friends use indicators such as Megan’s music taste and her eating habits to “diagnose” her as being a lesbian while Megan is completely in denial. While dark in concept, the execution of this satirical film over exaggerates societal binaries and stereotypes of gender and sexuality to the point of surrealism. 

In the first 15 minutes of the movie, the fact that Megan is suspected of being a lesbian is due to her vegitarianism, her like of Melissa Ethridge, and pictures of women in bikinis in her locker. A scene of her making out with her boyfriend is also shown to audiences; her eyes are wide open as she passively participates. A mix of stereotypes and “suggestive” behaviors lead to her family and friends staging an intervention to send her to conversion therapy camp. This extreme action is taken based off of stereotypes, and is thus a critique on the sometimes arbitrary association between sexuality and certain aspects of culture. Irony is also at play here as Megan’s obliviousness to her own variation from societal binaries contributes to the comical nature of the situation (not the actual situation, but the way it is portrayed).

Once Megan arrives at the conversion camp (called True Directions), subjects are divided by gender and are dressed in all either pink or blue for girls and boys respectively. Girls are taught to cook and clean while boys learn to mow lawns and chop wood. Both “educational experiences” are overtly stereotypical and adhere strictly to the gender binary. While gender and sexuality can be closely linked for some, the association between sexuality and a cultural performance (gender in this case) is made once again. The thought behind the directors of True Directions is that if their subjects can stick to strict binary performance and behavior, then they will be “cured” of their queerness and can live as straight, cis, binary, “normal” members of society. The attempts of the homophobic and transphobic forces in the film are stunted by the will and seeming indifference of the True Directions subjects. Most of them seem unbothered by the conversion therapy, have relationships with each other (the bedrooms are divided by gender, a great use of irony), and sneak out to go to gay bars. 

These hyperbolic scenarios- being sent to conversion camp for liking stereotypically lesbian things, dressing in all pink or blue and doing activities that go along with the gender binary to “cure” queerness- work to reveal the stupidity of simplifying sexuality and gender to their association with certain aspects of culture, as well as attempts made to change sexuality and gender at all. In the end, Megan ends up running away with another female character who she has formed a relationship with. This happy acceptance of herself and her sexuality, as well as the resistance of the True Directions subjects, imbue the film with the ability to change society rather than just make fun of homophobia and transphobia. The ability of these subjects to continue their lives as their true selves shows the futility of attempting to change people to fit within the dominant roles of society.

SNL and the Chinese Spy Balloon

In a recent bit on SNL that opened the show, a satirical sketch showcased a parody news anchor reporting on the Chinese Spy Balloon, while interviewing the balloon.

Right off the bat, the news anchor uses extreme hyperbole when explaining both the balloon and people’s reactions to it. She celebrates the ‘long national nightmare’ being over, highlighting how short the balloon was in the air. Then, a parody of an US army official explains how the balloon was popped, using a small handheld balloon that says ‘Happy Birthday’ to parody the event. He then ironically makes a comment about how they will stop every Chinese threat, even though China has all the information they need through apps like TikTok.

This sketch, through it’s satirical parody of a real life news story, reveals a lot about America. People throughout the country were extremely worried about the balloon and feared the invasion of privacy that it might lead it if it was collecting data or pictures. But, as this sketch points out, most US citizens carry around a phone and use social media apps that are known to sell data. If people genuinely are worried about their data being collected and used abroad, they should stop worrying about a balloon flying in the sky and start worrying about the phone they carry around with them everywhere.

Ultimately, the skit hopes to awaken people to the irony of their own reactions and get people thinking about what ACTUALLY is invading their privacy. In addition, the parody of the news show seems to critique journalistic interviews by showing the US army official using a birthday balloon and the interview of the actual balloon.

Dear Editor,

I have recently noticed a troubling trend among the general student populace; to call it a foul scourge, to speak frankly, would not be too severe: namely, the scourge of not wearing your ID. Without an ID a student is unidentifiable. I can recall several occasions in which I was unable to distinguish a student from an adult, due to their lack of an ID. On those occasions, upon meeting with them, I asked, in the most delicate and subtle manner, the nature of their relationship with their parents; and from that, I surmised, as I am never so bold as to ask, their relative state as a student or not, but I digress. The ID is absolutely crucial to the identification of a student; after all, how are the noble guardians of these sacred halls able to halt an intruder, if they can’t distinguish him from a normal student? Furthermore, how would teachers, seeing, in each of their many and diverse classes, hundreds of unique students each day, be able to distinguish the normal, rule-abiding student, from the plethora of dangerous street ruffians who come into school for the nefarious purpose of taking High School classes? There is a conception, in much current use, that the most dangerous criminals often frequent the halls of schools without ID’s and with the explicit intention to rob, murder, and underage drink among the general student populace. In my humble opinion, this conception understates the reality. These foul criminals—not students, but indistinguishable because students don’t wear their IDs—are the root of all evil among the youthful. It is well known that the minds of the juvenile are particularly susceptible to the powerful force of peer pressure: if students are misled into believing that the foul adult criminals who frequent the halls are fellow students, they will also feel the overwhelming force of peer pressure from them—a dangerous pressure to drink alcohol, ditch classes, and not do their homework, in other words, things that no student does naturally of their own volition. Rather than addressing these issues, I appeal to the school administration and the authorities therein to double their efforts in enforcing their brilliant ID policy so that we can decrease all deviancy among the youth.

Reid Maggio

Edgar the Shapeshifter

In the beginning of King Lear, Edgar is established as a legitimate son and Edmund as a bastard son of Gloucester. This forms a conflict of power between the two brothers that ignites after Lear gives away his land and begins his slow demise. Edmund convinces Edgar that he has been banished by Lear, then accusing Edgar of a violent crime in order to receive inheritance.

Before this, Edgar had been trying to find purpose as a loved and wanted person as opposed to his brother according to societal standards, motivated by the promise of money. Because Edgar does not have any control over Edmund’s inheritance, Edmund sees no other alternative other than to kill his brother.

“Who gives anything to Poor Tom … that hath laid knives under his pillow and halters in his pew, set ratsbane by his porridge, made him proud of heart to ride on a bay trotting horse over four-inched bridges to course his own shadow for a traitor?”


Then, disguised as Poor Tom to avoid being killed, Edgar clearly sees the shadow of power his brother has lived in and how he has been taken advantage of by Edmund. As someone born into wealth, he would be deemed a traitor and judged. However, disguised as a beggar, he is pitied and free from judgement or societal expectations.

While Edgar is in disguise, he plays the role of a peacekeeper amidst the conflict started by Lear. He helps his father, Gloucester, who was condemned as a traitor and had his eyes plucked out for his compassion towards Lear, die at peace.

By the end of King Lear, Edgar is able to take revenge for the suffering Edmund has caused him. He escapes the shackles of societal expectations and is able to save himself while other characters perish. This gives him the opportunity to get a second chance at approaching life with a fresh perspective on the impact of power and social constructs such as class.