Software Nerd

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mixing entertainment and news

I can appreciate comedy with an ideological bent, even if I don't agree with the slant. Like a good novel espousing wrong ideology, it's not ideal, but I might like it.

However, I do not like ideology (even good ideology) masquerading as comedy (nor as a novel). That's why I do not care for Jon Stewart's show on the "Comedy channel". I sometimes flip by briefly and some of it is funny; however, I never stay long -- there's something dishonest about the style. I prefer the comedic introductions of Leno, Letterman and SNL. Stewart's show is more seriously satirical than those. Compare Stewart's "news" to SNL's fake "news"; his is much more serious.

I'm not sure, but I think I am objecting to satire, for the same reason I'd object to irony: it is okay only in small doses. With serious satire, as with irony, the reader or viewer must constantly remember to "split" the input into serious and non-serious content. I find little value in this, either as comedy or as news. Another comedian who tried this from a more Republican slant was Dennis Miller. He had the same problem -- he seemed funny only if you agreed with his satire.

I guess satire works best when one agrees with the serious part. No surprises there.

So, what is the relationship between satire and comedy. Is satire merely a sub-class of comedy, or is it something more? Something to ponder on...


  • Satire is specifically intended to damage your opinion of the thing satirized. Comedy can be funny without being destructive.

    Now, some things do deserve to be satirized, but I've noticed that some people seem to think they can successfully navigate around the good qualities of something (or pretend they don't exist) by satirizing it. It doesn't work. It's not funny; it's just annoying.

    So; satire that attempts to throw out the baby with the bathwater is just another example of hatred-of-the-good-for-being-the-good.

    By Blogger Jennifer Snow, at 1:09 PM  

  • What do you mean by "navigate around" the good qualities? Example?

    By Blogger softwareNerd, at 4:15 AM  

  • I meant "avoid having to acknowledge". Think of Simon Cowell on American Idol . . . how many times a season does he say "I think that's the worst performance I've ever heard!" or words to that effect? There can only be ONE worst; his statement is satire, and a useless form of satire at that, because it doesn't contain any useful information whatsoever.

    By Blogger Jennifer Snow, at 2:42 PM  

  • Interesting. I've never thought of that comment as satire, but you're right.

    Come to think about it, isn't satire what that program is all about?

    By Blogger softwareNerd, at 9:50 AM  

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